The Parthenon

The Acropolis - or "city on a hill" - dominates the city of Athens. At its center is the famous Parthenon - grand in size, graceful in design.

In the 8th-century BC, Athens became the artistic center of Greece. Then followed a period of social reform. The city fell into tyranny until about 510 BC, when Sparta stepped in to help. Following the defeat of the Persian Empire, Athens entered a golden age: monuments were built on the Acropolis, and drama and literature flourished. This was the age of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, and historians Herodotus, Thucydides and Xenophon. The Parthenon, dedicated to Athena, was completed about 432 BC.

The Erechtheion

The ancient myths say that Athens was named for the goddess Athena after she vanquished Poseidon. There are two springs on the Acropolis said to have been created by Poseidon. But Athena caused olive trees to grow there. This is why she won renown and won the conflict with the god of the sea.

The building at left is called the Erechtheion. It was built as a temple to replace an ancient temple to Athena. It was named for a legendary hero and king, Erechtheus, and is highly reputed for its artistic quality.

The Areopagus - Mars Hill

Athens is important for Christians as well as Greek history buffs. St. Paul passed through Athens and preached a sermon in the area just below the Acropolis. This is the famous "Mars' Hill" site where Paul preached. Although his sermon on the resurrection was interrupted, Paul managed to attract several Athenians to Christianity and a Church was formed. Modern Athenians are still proud to have St. Paul as their patron saint.

The city of Athens is a dramatic and hospital place for modern visitors.

See also Corinth