Acropolis
Overview
 
For the most famous example of an Acropolis, see Acropolis of Athens
Acropolis of Athens
The Acropolis of Athens or Citadel of Athens is the best known acropolis in the world. Although there are many other acropoleis in Greece, the significance of the Acropolis of Athens is such that it is commonly known as The Acropolis without qualification...

. "Akropolis" redirects here. For the Swedish football team, see Akropolis IF
Akropolis IF
Akropolis IF is a Swedish football club located in Stockholm, formed in 1968.-Background:Akropolis IF is a sports club which was founded in Stockholm in the spring of 1968. Basketball started in the autumn 1968 followed by football in the spring of 1969...

. For other uses, see Acropolis (disambiguation)
Acropolis (disambiguation)
Acropolis may refer to:* Acropolis, in architecture, a high city or citadel* the Acropolis of Athens, the most famous acropolis* Acropolis Rally, a rally competition around Athens* Acropolis , a genus of butterflies...

.


Acropolis means "high city" in Greek, literally city on the extremity and is usually translated into English as Citadel (akros, akron, edge, extremity + polis, city, pl. acropoleis). For purposes of defense, early people naturally chose elevated ground to build a new settlement, frequently a hill with precipitous sides.
Encyclopedia
For the most famous example of an Acropolis, see Acropolis of Athens
Acropolis of Athens
The Acropolis of Athens or Citadel of Athens is the best known acropolis in the world. Although there are many other acropoleis in Greece, the significance of the Acropolis of Athens is such that it is commonly known as The Acropolis without qualification...

. "Akropolis" redirects here. For the Swedish football team, see Akropolis IF
Akropolis IF
Akropolis IF is a Swedish football club located in Stockholm, formed in 1968.-Background:Akropolis IF is a sports club which was founded in Stockholm in the spring of 1968. Basketball started in the autumn 1968 followed by football in the spring of 1969...

. For other uses, see Acropolis (disambiguation)
Acropolis (disambiguation)
Acropolis may refer to:* Acropolis, in architecture, a high city or citadel* the Acropolis of Athens, the most famous acropolis* Acropolis Rally, a rally competition around Athens* Acropolis , a genus of butterflies...

.


Acropolis means "high city" in Greek, literally city on the extremity and is usually translated into English as Citadel (akros, akron, edge, extremity + polis, city, pl. acropoleis). For purposes of defense, early people naturally chose elevated ground to build a new settlement, frequently a hill with precipitous sides. In many parts of the world, these early citadel
Citadel
A citadel is a fortress for protecting a town, sometimes incorporating a castle. The term derives from the same Latin root as the word "city", civis, meaning citizen....

s became the nuclei of large cities, which grew up on the surrounding lower ground, such as modern Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

.

The word acropolis, although Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 in origin and associated primarily with the Greek
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 cities Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

, Argos
Argos
Argos is a city and a former municipality in Argolis, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Argos-Mykines, of which it is a municipal unit. It is 11 kilometres from Nafplion, which was its historic harbour...

, Thebes
Thebes, Greece
Thebes is a city in Greece, situated to the north of the Cithaeron range, which divides Boeotia from Attica, and on the southern edge of the Boeotian plain. It played an important role in Greek myth, as the site of the stories of Cadmus, Oedipus, Dionysus and others...

, and Corinth
Ancient Corinth
Corinth, or Korinth was a city-state on the Isthmus of Corinth, the narrow stretch of land that joins the Peloponnesus to the mainland of Greece, roughly halfway between Athens and Sparta. The modern town of Corinth is located approximately northeast of the ancient ruins...

 (with its Acrocorinth
Acrocorinth
Acrocorinth , "Upper Corinth", the acropolis of ancient Corinth, is a monolithic rock overseeing the ancient city of Corinth, Greece. "It is the most impressive of the acropoleis of mainland Greece," in the estimation of George Forrest. Acrocorinth was continuously occupied from archaic times to...

), may be applied generically to all such citadels, including Rome, Jerusalem, Celtic Bratislava
Bratislava
Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia and, with a population of about 431,000, also the country's largest city. Bratislava is in southwestern Slovakia on both banks of the Danube River. Bordering Austria and Hungary, it is the only national capital that borders two independent countries.Bratislava...

, many in Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

, or even Castle Rock in Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

. An example in Ireland is the Rock of Cashel
Rock of Cashel
The Rock of Cashel , also known as Cashel of the Kings and St. Patrick's Rock, is a historic site in Ireland's province of Munster, located at Cashel, South Tipperary.-History:...

.

The most famous example is the Acropolis of Athens
Acropolis of Athens
The Acropolis of Athens or Citadel of Athens is the best known acropolis in the world. Although there are many other acropoleis in Greece, the significance of the Acropolis of Athens is such that it is commonly known as The Acropolis without qualification...

, which, by reason of its historical associations and the several famous buildings erected upon it (most notably the Parthenon
Parthenon
The Parthenon is a temple on the Athenian Acropolis, Greece, dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their virgin patron. Its construction began in 447 BC when the Athenian Empire was at the height of its power. It was completed in 438 BC, although...

), is known without qualification as the Acropolis. Although originating in the mainland of Greece, use of the acropolis model quickly spread to Greek colonies such as the Dorian Lato
Lato
Lato was an ancient city of Crete, the ruins of which are located approximately 3 km from the small town of Kritsa. The Dorian city-state was built in a defensible position overlooking Mirabello Bay between two peaks, both of which became acropolises to the city...

 on Crete
Crete
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece while retaining its own local cultural traits...

 during the Archaic Period
Archaic period in Greece
The Archaic period in Greece was a period of ancient Greek history that followed the Greek Dark Ages. This period saw the rise of the polis and the founding of colonies, as well as the first inklings of classical philosophy, theatre in the form of tragedies performed during Dionysia, and written...

.

Because of its classical Greco-Roman style, the ruins of Mission San Juan Capistrano's
Mission San Juan Capistrano
Mission San Juan Capistrano was a Spanish mission in Southern California, located in present-day San Juan Capistrano. It was founded on All Saints Day November 1, 1776, by Spanish Catholics of the Franciscan Order...

 Great Stone Church in California, United States
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

 has been called the "American Acropolis".

Other parts of the world developed other names for the high citadel or alcázar
Alcázar
An alcázar , alcácer or alcàsser is a type of castle in Spain and Portugal. The term derives from the Arabic word القصر meaning "fort, castle or palace"; and the Arabic word is derived from the Latin word, 'castrum', meaning an army camp or fort...

, which often reinforced a naturally strong site. In Central Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, many small rural communes
Comune
In Italy, the comune is the basic administrative division, and may be properly approximated in casual speech by the English word township or municipality.-Importance and function:...

 still cluster at the base of a fortified habitation known as La Rocca of the commune.

The term acropolis is also used to describe the central complex of overlapping structures, such as plazas and pyramids, in many Mayan
Maya civilization
The Maya is a Mesoamerican civilization, noted for the only known fully developed written language of the pre-Columbian Americas, as well as for its art, architecture, and mathematical and astronomical systems. Initially established during the Pre-Classic period The Maya is a Mesoamerican...

 cities, including Tikal
Tikal
Tikal is one of the largest archaeological sites and urban centres of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization. It is located in the archaeological region of the Petén Basin in what is now northern Guatemala...

 and Copán
Copán
Copán is an archaeological site of the Maya civilization located in the Copán Department of western Honduras, not far from the border with Guatemala. It was the capital city of a major Classic period kingdom from the 5th to 9th centuries AD...

.


External links

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