While the Athenian Acropolis is often what comes to mind when people hear the word acropolis, it is one of many acropoleis built across Greece. Eventually the site would gain religious significance, with temples being added to the area. The Acropolis of today is the result of centuries of construction and destruction. Then, on the night of May 30 , , two young Athenians—Manolis Glezos and Apostolos Santas, carrying a knife and a lantern between them—climbed to the top of the limestone hill. Although our vision of ancient Greece is often of gleaming white marble, the Parthenon, and other buildings at the Acropolis, were once colorful. Despite centuries of war, earthquakes, looting, and weathering in the open air, much of it still survives. Lord Elgin, who brought many of the Parthenon's sculptures to London, wanted to bring this structure as well, but was denied.
Under the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century , it was reborn again as a Muslim mosque, with a minaret added on its southwest corner. There, in the s, artist Alan LeQuire created a full-sized reconstruction of Athena Parthenos, now housed within the city's Parthenon replica. Yet traces of pigment on Greek marble sculpture show that these sites were kaleidoscopic in their colors. Known as the Tower of the Winds, the octagonal marble structure dates back years, and is likely to have once held a bronze wind vane above its sundial. They pulled down the German flag, and slashed it to pieces. The defiant act was a visible statement of Greek pride against fascism, and inspired the country's resistance during occupation. The Acropolis is the most complete surviving ancient Greek monumental complex, which is remarkable considering the centuries of natural disasters, war, and reconstruction. It was quarried at Mount Pentelicus , located 10 miles to the northeast of Athens and famed for the uniformity of its white marble. While the Athenian Acropolis is often what comes to mind when people hear the word acropolis, it is one of many acropoleis built across Greece. Dressed in armor and covered in jewelry, it was an awe-inspiring spectacle that reaffirmed Athens's spiritual and economic power. Only in , during the Greek War of Independence, did the Greeks again resume control of the Acropolis. Still, much of its ornamentation and art is now gone. Small houses were also built around the Acropolis during the rule of the Ottoman Empire. Known as Athena Parthenos, it stood almost 40 feet tall and was made from gold and ivory by the sculptor Phidias. The collection of buildings towering feet over the city announced that Athens was a center for Greek art, faith, and thought. There's evidence of habitation in the area dating back to the Neolithic period between BCE, with both a house and a grave identified from around this era. Over time the stones were bleached in the sunlight, and the neoclassical movements of art in the 18th and 19th centuries embraced a romanticized perceptive of a pristine white past. The golden age of Athenian power was brief, however. Recent tests during laser cleaning of the Parthenon revealed shades of blue, red, and green. One theory is that the shafts were once wells, while another is that they were a site of ritual burial, since human bones were found among the objects buried within. Although the main group of structures date to the 5th century BCE, others followed later, such as a Roman era temple erected by Augustus, and a large staircase built under Claudius. From its central position above Athens, the Acropolis is perfectly positioned for strategic military defense—and its major initial structures were in fact focused on preparing for war. The Acropolis of today is the result of centuries of construction and destruction. A German War Flag emblazoned with a swastika was raised over the Acropolis that month , replacing the Greek flag. Lord Elgin, who brought many of the Parthenon's sculptures to London, wanted to bring this structure as well, but was denied. A series of shafts have also been discovered, with several vessels found in their deep chasms.
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