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by Archaeology Newsroom

The Acropolis of Athens. Experiencing the values of a monumental ensemble

The Acropolis was primarily, in its age-long history, a site with various functions. Fortified resort and precursor of the Mycenaean megaron,in Prehistoric times it was an area of worship dedicated to the chthonic deities and the mythical heroes of Attica. In the classical period it was the sacred precinct of the gods and treasury to the Attic alliance .In the Hellenistic and Roman era, a consecrated place, inspiring admiration and worthy of visiting. The Acropolis was an episcopal seat in the years of the Byzantine Empire and a fortified palace of the Frankish, Catalan and Florentin despots in the late Medieval period, also in the Years of the Ottoman rule, a fortified upper town, incorporating the residence of the Turk commander of the garrison of Athens. This site, in its extremely long historical course, has experienced almost all human activities but one, its commercialization, and that is especially significant. The Acropolis of Athens today, deprived of any functional use, the object of artistic and scientific admiration, and the holy landmark of the Greek nation, does not rise remote and haughty above the city, but stands inviting generations of people to enjoy it. However,under the circumstances created by mass tourism, visiting the Acropolis is not an easy task. The circulation of visitors around the limited archaeological site, covering only three acres, has become difficult (average:15,000 visitors per day, 3000 per hour in top season), also it is difficult to comfortably view the monuments and to experience its historical character.

Apart from the improvement of environmental conditions and the discreet restoration of the monuments, the most important thing to be preserved and guaranteed is the accessibility of the Acropolis. Monuments do not only survive because of their structural preservation, but live as long as people keep them alive in their hearts and minds.