This stunning monumental gateway leads onto the plateau of the Acropolis.

TravelCurious Tip

Take a moment to notice the deliberate alignment of the Propylaea with the Parthenon – possibly the first ever instance of two separate buildings being complementarily designed.

When the spectacular buildings that crown the Acropolis were originally built, it was decided that the rocky outcroup needed a gateway that would do justice to the splendour inside. And while the years have rather taken their toll on the finish of the Propylaea, the sheer immensity of it as you mount the plateau is truly awe-inspiring.

Athens’ Golden Era

Like all the other buildings on the Acropolis today, the Propylaea was built during the Golden Age of Athens, when the city was the cultural and intellectual centre of the Western world. The great Athenian statesman Pericles embarked upon an ambitious building project which would make his city the envy of all who laid eyes upon it. He charged the great architect Mnesicles with designing and building the gateway to his new citadel.

Pillars of Respect

Visiting the Propylaea today, you will first climb a broad staircase cut directly into the rock. This leads up to the dramatic entrance hall, whose portico is supported by three enormous columns on each side of you. Moving further inside, careful observers may notice a change in style – while the first columns you encounter on the outside are Doric, those which support the internal structure of the gateway are Ionic in style. It is thought that this was a diplomatic decision made during the politically thorny Peloponnesian War. Mainland Greeks tended to prefer the Doric style, while “Eastern” Greeks from the islands and the coast of modern Turkey favoured Ionic columns. In order to show respect to both groups, Pericles commanded that the gateway be designed in this intriguing blend of styles.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Athens
An ancient citadel high above the city, this group of stunning ruins are among the most important cultural icons of Western civilisation.
Crowning the Acropolis hill, the sublime marble columns of the Parthenon form the most recognisable monument in Athens.
This temple across from the Parthenon is famous for its Caryatids, the six larger-than-life female columns which support its roof.
Temple of Athena Nike
Next to the Propylaea lies the Acropolis' earliest Ionic temple, built for the goddess of victory and restored after its destruction in 1686.
Odeon of Herodes Atticus
Built on the Acropolis' southwest slope in memory of the beloved wife of magnate Atticus, this 2nd century theatre is still used today as a venue for live performances.
Areopagus Hill
Also known as the Rock of Ares, this outcrop is famed as the location of Paul's sermon to the Athenians.

Related Tours

Private Ancient Athens in Half a Day
Incredible human endeavour built The Acropolis 2,500 years ago as thousands of tons of marble, quarried at Mount Pentelicus 10 miles northeast of the city, were lugged up steep steps to the Attica plateau by vast legions of manual labour. Hand hewn using mallets, foundations were built using great blocks of limestone dating back to the Late Cretaceous period. On your private half day tour of Ancient Athens, you will: 

  • Enjoy a private, immersive cultural experience that brings archaeology to life.
  • Understand the human endeavour required to complete the The Acropolis 2,500 years ago.
  • Be intellectually stimulated - your tour is full of fascinating narrative.
  • Climb up to the Acropolis complex to marvel at this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Wander through the Acropolis Museum, discovering the beautiful art and architecture. 
  • Discover Athen's theatrical sites, including the Theatre of Dionysus and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus.
  • At the Agora, gain insight into the celebrated birthplace of democracy.
Three temples form the Acropolis complex, the Parthenon, the Erechtheum and the temple dedicated to Athena Parthenos (Athena the Virgin). Today the Acropolis (meaning “hill city'') is Athens’ crowning glory: a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the world’s most important cultural monuments as the celebrated birthplace of democracy.

On this fascinating Private Tour of the Acropolis,  learn the sophisticated construction methods to build the citadel in the 5th century BCE. Study the most complete surviving ancient Greek monumental complex - having weathered earthquakes and battles with Amazons, Persians, Crusaders and Stormtroopers  - and explore the many reasons why the Acropolis induces involuntary gasps of breath from the millions who arrive in Athens to admire it. Beautiful and colossal in scale, this mesmerizing hill-top spectacle is the most-photographed landmark in Greece. On your private, guided  Acropolis tour, consider the importance of the structure as a universal symbol of the classical spirit and civilization. You will also discover some of the earliest theatres known to man at the Theatre of Dionysus and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, as you climb the steep slope to marvel at the splendour of the Acropolis and enjoy truly striking panoramic views over Athens.


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