Athens history is rich with relics, wars, and power struggles! Athens is known for its distinct two hills which sit in the middle of the city, one called Lycabettus, which is the higher of the two, and the Acropolis which sits some 150 m above sea level. Research has shown that because of the abundance of water in these hills there have been inhabitants here from the neolithic age.
Athens History Started Long Before the Still Standing Temples of Acropolis
It wasn’t until 13 B.C when the first walls of the city were built and the villages were federated into a city state governed by Theseus. These inhabitants needed to be kept safe and that is why the huge city walls were built. Then when Pelasgians was unified with Attica another curved wall surrounded the old one of which there are still remains, and these remains show us the difficult times these people had. The entrance to the city at that time was on the western side of the rock which led into a narrow passageway surrounded by the two walls. In these ancient times this was on of the best fortified and most impregnable cities in the area. Before what we now have as the temples of Acropolis built by ancient Greeks, the kings of Attica lived there for security reasons.
But in 682 BC this king dome disappeared leaving only a few altars and temples. It was in the age of Kimon that Acropolis and the rebuilding of Athens began, and that is what remains of the Acropolis we see today. Much of even the these newer temples of Acropolis is destroyed, yet still the remnants are impressive. It is thanks to the writings of the traveller Pausanias that we even have detailed full description of what Acropolis looked like in the 2nd century AD.
Even During the Middle Ages People Came to Admire the History of Athens
During the middle ages there were also many people that made the trip to the Parthenon which had then been changed into a Christian church, but because of religious differences none of the outlying buildings were ever paid attention to. Although Kyriakos a world traveler, fell in love with the beauty of the temples, the wonderful columns and the carved marble. It was Kyriakos who was the last Christian visitor to the Acropolis, because in 1456 Athens was conquered by the Ottoman Turks who did not permit anyone who was not muslim to climb the hill. It was at this time that the temples were desecrated and homes were built with the ancient pieces of marble from the temple of Athena, and the Panaghia was turned into a mosque.
In those years, the temple which was being used to house gun powder exploded when shelled by the Venetian Morosini, whose intention was to blow up all of Acropolis, but stopped because the endeavor took too much time and was too expensive. The Acropolis was damaged but again inhabited by the Turks who knocked down the Temple of Wingless Nike. The Acropolis now is even more sacred to the Greeks for having survived the war of independence, seen large battles, and having changed hands so many times.
** Related Articles: Acropolis – The Religious Centre of Athens