chapter  7
108 Pages

The Acropolis of Athens and its Immediate Environment: The Defence of a Myth by Modern Greek Society

This chapter is concerned with the inner sanctum of ancient Greek civilization, the Athenian Acropolis, and the ways in which it is treated by modern Greek society, and incorporated into its present urban surroundings. Four main loci of enhancement, protection and preservation activity are critically presented: first, the top of the Acropolis Rock, on which stand the well-known classical masterpieces; second, the now preserved urban complex of neoclassical Athens on the slopes of the same hill, the rise of which to the status of monumentality has involved numerous arguments between particular segments of Greek society, such as architects, archaeologists and the local population; third, the new Acropolis Museum on the other side of the Acropolis; and fourth, the two landscaped zones in the area of the Acropolis, the one by the American School of Classical Studies for the Ancient Agora, at the foot of the Acropolis, and the other by the Greeks, for the area connecting the Acropolis with the hill of Philopappos (see Maps 7.1 and 7.2). The presentation is coupled, where appropriate, with recent designs and action in the area.