The Athens Acropolis

the acropolis of Athens can be seen from all over the city

the acropolis of Athens can be seen from all over the city

While most towns of any size in the ancient Greek world had an acropolis, the acropolis of Athens has come to define the word. In general, an acropolis is the high place of a city and a center for important religious and civic activities.

Most of what stands on the Athens acropolis today was built under the great Athenian leader Pericles in the last half of the 5th century BCE, a Golden Age of ancient Greece. Earlier buildings succumbed to the hands of time, natural disaster, and invading hoards. The Parthenon stands on an artificial hill made up of acropolis debris left over after the Persians sacked Athens in 480 BCE.

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This bridge connects the Peloponnese peninsula to the country’s mainland from Rio to Antirrio, spanning nearly 2 miles across the Gulf of Corinth. It’s the world’s longest fully suspended cable-stayed bridge. Bridging this complicated site was an extraordinary feat of engineering. When visiting the country, you might cross this bridge to see sites such as Mycenae, Epidaurus and Corinth.

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Kavala, in the north of our mystery country, was known as Neopolis 2,000 years ago, when the apostle Paul visited on one of his missionary journeys. It’s often included as a stop on Christian pilgrimage trips following the footsteps of Paul. The city’s position on the Roman Via Egnatia, and its large port on the Aegean Sea, made it an important commercial center in antiquity.

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This theater of Dionysus is tucked into the slopes of the world’s most famous acropolis. Although often overlooked in favor of the famous structures on top of the hill, such as the Parthenon and the Erechtheion, the theater is an impressive remnant of the  influential ancient civilization of this mystery country.

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Pyrgi is a medieval village on the island of Chios. It’s often called the Painted Village after the unique geometric designs, xystra, covering many buildings. This type of decoration is found nowhere else in the country. It may be of Italian origin, a cultural remnant of Genoese control of the island from the 14th to 16th centuries. Pyrgi is a fortified village, with narrow lanes and buildings connected to form impassable walls.

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Ancient Corinth was an important city in our mystery country. Located on a sliver of land connecting the mainland with the Peloponnesian peninsula, it was a thriving center of trade and maintained a large navy. The Apostle Paul spent time in Corinth and two of his letters, 1st and 2nd Corinthians, are addressed to the church there.

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Pensive Athena, 5th-century BCE relief sculpture from the acropolis in the name-sake city-state of this goddess of wisdom, justice, civilization, the arts and warfare, among other things. The Acropolis Museum holds hundreds of artefacts from over a thousand years of history beginning around the 7th century BCE, when urban centers began to form around the country. About 1/2 of the sculptures from the Parthenon are on display, including 165 feet of the frieze.

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