|The middle section had a gate opening onto the Panathenaic Way while the western portico was really imposing, with six double columns which were Doric on the outside and Ionic on the inside. The northern wing was decorated with painted panels and was used as a picture gallery (the
The south wing was the antichamber to the Temple of Athena Nike and the ceiling of the Propylaea's central hall was painted with gold and
colorful decoration. The building was badly damaged in the 17th century by an explosion in a Turkish gunpowder store and, in the 19th century, Heinrich Schliemann removed one of its appendages. Reconstruction and restoration of the Propylaea started in 1909 and still continues.
Other elements of Athens Acropolis:
The Panathenaic Way
During the Panathenaia, festival venerating the goddess Athena, The Panathenaic Way was the route taken by the Panathenaic procession. It was cutting across the middle of the Acropolis, beginning from the Keramikos and ending at the Erechteion. The Great Panathenaic Festival consists of dances, athletic, dramatic and musical contests. The procession was effectuated on the final day of the festival and was composed of men carrying animals for sacrifices to Athena, of maidens carrying drinking vessels (call rhytons), musicians and girls holding the sacred shawl call "peplo". The procession ended when the girls placed the peplo on Athena Polias' statue, in the
The statue of Athena Promachos
On the left side of the Panathenaic Way are the remains of the foundations of the statues which used to board the path in ancient times. One of those pedestals, 15m from the Propylaea, is the foundation where the gigantic statue of Athena Promachos (champion) used to stand. This 9m-high statue had been made by Pheidias to symbolize the Athenian invincibility against the Persians. That is why the famous sculptor represented the goddess holding a shield in her left hand and a spear in her right one.
In 426 AD, the statue was taken to Constantinople by Emperor Theodosius and destroyed, in 1204, by the inhabitants of the city who believed that the statue was the cause of the invasion of the crusaders.
The southwest Slope of Athens Acropolis
This area of the Acropolis played an important role in ancient Athens for it was where public building were built to carry out the major artistic, spiritual and religious activities of the city. Here are the most important monuments standing on this area:
The Theatre of Dionysos
In 1838, the Greek Archaeological Society started excavations in Dionysos's sanctuary and brought to light the enormous theatre of
Dionysos. The preserved ruins of the 5th-century theatre built in stone and marble by Lycourgos indicates the extensiveness of the site: the auditorium had 17 000 seats of which only 20 survived. The relief at the rear of the stage date from the 2nd century BC and represent Dionysos' exploits but most of the figures are headless.
The only two figures still having a head are those of the so called "selini", worshippers of the mythical Selinos, Dionysos' mentor, who was the debauched father of the famous satyrs.
During the golden age, the annual Festival of the Great Dionysia, introduced in the 6th-century AD by the tyrant Peiseistratos, was one of the major events of the year. Politicians would sponsor dramas and comedies by writers like Aristophanes, Aeschylus, Euripides and Sophocles and people would come from all around Attica to enjoy the plays and the different festivities.
Roman also used the Theatre of Dionysos for state events, ceremonies and performances.
The Temple of Thrasyllos
It was erected in 320-319 BC by Thrasyllos, standing on the "katatome", the great rocky artificial evened out vertically when the Theatre of Dionysos was been constructed. The Temple has been destroyed; the only remains are two Ionic columns standing above the lovely, tiny Chapel of Panagia Hrysospiliotissa (our Lady of the Cavern) that occupies a small grotto in a cliff behind the Theatre of Dionysos.
The Stoa of Eumenes
West to the Theatre of Herodes Atticus, beneath the Asclepion, is the stoa of Eumenes, a long colonnade built by the king of Pergamos, Eumenes II (197-159 BC). It was built of conglomerate, poros stone, Hymettian and Pergamene marble and was a shelter and promenade for the theatre's audiences.
The Theatre of Herodes Atticus
This architectural marvel is an Odeion built in AD 160 by a wealthy Roman called Herodes Atticus, in memory of his wife Regilla. It is a semicircular theatre of a 38m radius. It could seat 5000 spectators (on marble seats) and the scene was decorated with architectural elements. It was partly demolished by the invasion of the Herulae in AD 267, then excavated in 1857-58 and restored in 1950-61.
The Theatre of Herodes Atticus is still used for drama, music and dance performances during the summer Athens Festival during which famous performers and artists come from all over the world. The Asklepieion
The excavations of the Asklepieion were made by the Greek Archaeological Service.
It is located on the left top of the wooden steps leading to the Theatre of Dionysos. It was built after 420 BC to worship the physician Asklepios, son of Apollo. The Asklepieion consists of foundations of the Temple of Asklepios, a Doric stoa used as the "katagogion", an Ionic stoa dating from the end of the 5th century BC and an altar.