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Athens Acropolis Walls To Undergo Long Overdue Strategic Preservation

Erechteum Acropolis of Athens
Athens Acropolis Walls To Undergo Long-Due Strategic Preservation. Credit: Public Domain

The Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports is putting forward a strategic plan for the restoration of the ancient walls surrounding the Acropolis of Athens.

The project had remained a challenge for years, as the preservation of the monument was considered particularly complex due to the many different historical phases of constructional interventions on the original wall built in the Classical era.

Successive interventions from the Late Roman period to the present day lack distinct characteristics, which makes their dating precarious if based solely on morphological features, the Ministry explained in an announcement.

The main objective of the new preservation plan is to create a road map of the necessary interventions to ensure the stability of the walls and to also highlight their archeological and historical value.

A unique monument

Several different reconstructions of the walls of the Acropolis are chronicled in ancient texts, dating back to 1200 B.C., when the first, so-called Cyclopean wall, was built along the top of the hill in the Mycenaean period.

An enclosure wall, known as the Pelargic, built to the northwest during this period, is also mentioned by ancient Greek historian Thucydides.

This Mycenaean wall remained in use with minor repairs and changes until 480 BC, when it was severely damaged by the Persians and Athenians built new walls, such as the Themistoclean and Kimonean walls, named after Athenean generals of their era. Materials were used from Acropolis monuments which had been destroyed by the Persians.

Another wall was built after the Herulian invasion in the third century AD, when the Acropolis became a fortress once again and was used as such until the nineteenth century.

The Ministry’s strategic plan for the preservation of the walls of the Acropolis of Athens includes all this historical context and construction history of the monument and evaluates its construction phases from a historical, archaeological, artistic, aesthetic, and symbolical point of view.

Promenades around the Acropolis walls

The upcoming interventions on the walls are planned in conjunction with the work of fixing the rocky slopes, as well as the other work of highlighting and shaping the archeological site, the announcement says.

A geotechnical-static study looked at stability in seven distinct areas of the walls, assessing the degree of risk, with the aim of dealing with structural problems as an immediate priority.

Furthermore, the Ministry is planning to create promenades which will highlight the walls’ importance as a monument and inform visitors about the rich history of its construction.

Recently approved by the Central Archaeological Council of Greece, the project will be funded by the EU Recovery Fund.

A total sum of ten million euros has been allocated for preservation and restoration works on the monuments of the Acropolis of Athens.

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