HISTORY
DESCRIPTION
SITE MONUMENTS
INFORMATION
PHOTOGALLERY
 
 
On entering the archaeological site of the South Slope of the Acropolis from the new entrance at the intersection of Thrasyllos street and of the Dionysiou Areopagitou pedestrian street, the visitor is already on the course of an ancient road that connected the area of Olympieion with the South Slope of the Acropolis, running until the area of Asklepieion. At the intersection of this currently configured route with the roadway running east of the Sanctuary of Dionysus there are the ruins of the small chapel of Saint Paraskevi, built on the place of an older temple of the Late Byzantine Times.

Slightly north, there are the remnants of the monuments contained in the Sanctuary of Dionysus Elefthereus. The archaic temple of Dionysus, of which only the northwestern corner of its foundations is preserved today, is dated in the second half of the 6th century B.C. The cult of the god has been introduced in Athens from the deme of Eleutherai in Boeotia by the time of the tyrant Peisistratus. In the Sanctuary of Dionysus, in the spring, was celebrated the Great (or ?en Astei?) Dionysia. A little to the south of the earliest temple of Dionysus the remains of the Later Temple of Dionysus are preserved, which was erected in the second half of the 4th century B.C. The Later Temple of Dionysus housed the gold and ivory statue of the god, a work of the sculptor Alkamenes. Preserved today are only the conglomerate foundations of the temple and the base of the cult statue. The temenos of Dionysus is bordered at the north by the remains of a stoa, which is thought to have been of the Doric order and it too will have belonged to the building program of the orator Lycurgus (c. 330 BC). The other sides of the Sanctuary of Dionysus were enclosed by a precinct, the southern and eastern parts of which are preserved today. In the eastern side of the precinct there was a đ-shaped Propylon (gateway), at the point where the final section of the Street of the Tripods ended. Today, the plan of the foundation of the Propylon is visible.

═orth of the sanctuary, the Theatre of Dionysus constitutes a development of the circular area formed in the 6th century B.C. for performing cult religious ceremonies in honor of the god. Later, around this area, wooden seats were added, which were gradually replaced by stone ones. During the archonship of Lycurgus the Theater of Dionysus was entirely rebuilt by Piraeus limestone (?aktites?) and the cavea was extended to the north, including Peripatos and converting it as a diazoma separated the main cavea from the Epitheatron. The pavement of the orchestra, the parapets around it, as a high bema, known as Phaidros? Bema are all with marble and dated to the Late Roman Period. In Phaidros? Bema slabs reliefs were incorporated, derived from an unknown monument of the 2nd century A.D., which illustrate important events in the life of Dionysus. Exhibited in the shed, ?the Sculpture Shed?, slightly north to the main entrance of the archaeological site, are sculptures adorned the Roman stage of the Theatre of Dionysus and architectural members come from the wide area of the Sanctuary of Dionysus.

North of the Epitheatron remnants of Thrasyllos? choregic monument (320/319 B.C.) are preserved. The monument closed a cave mouth in the natural rock of the Acropolis. Its facade had architectural configuration and on its superstructure brought a choregic tripod. The monument underwent two more subsequent configurations. North of the Thrasyllos monument and near the south wall of the Acropolis, stand two columns of the Roman Period on which once also held choregic tripods.

East of the Theatre of Dionysus the Odeon of Pericles was built in the middle of the 5th century B.C. It was a square, pillared building made specifically for the music contests, whose few remains have been revealed in excavations.

West of the pathway running along the west side of the Sanctuary of Dionysus, the foundations of the choregic monument of Nicias are preserved (319B.C.) It was a temple-like monument with six columns of Doric order at its facade, whose most part of its building material was built into the facade of the gate in the entrance of the Acropolis in 237 A.D., known as the Beule Gate after the French archaeologist who excavated it.

Slightly north of the choregic monument of Nicias, the imposing arch of a retaining wall is extended. This heavy wall was built in order to hold both the embankments to the north and the Peripatos, the ring road of the Acropolis, which connected the North Slope with the South Slope of the Acropolis. Along the length of this wall, the Stoa of Eumenes II, was constructed by the king of Pergamon, Eumenes II (197-159B.C.). It was a two- storeyed stoa and was made of an island marble of the sort used for most of the buildings of Pergamon.

On a natural terrace, further north of the Stoa of Eumenes II, the Sanctuary of Asclepius was established in 420/19 B.C., on the proposal of an Athenian citizen named Telemachus. In the western part of the Sanctuary a stoa with four rooms was erected in the 5th century B.C., while in its eastern part the temple of Asclepius and his daughter Hygeia, the altar as well as a two-storeyed stoa of Doric order, were constructed. This stoa, will have probably been used as the abaton or place of incubation (enkoimeterion), in which patients were hosted. The stoa includes a natural spring, known as ?the Sacred Spring?, while in its western edge is a square room with well-like circular structure in the centre, known as ?the Sacred Pit?. South of the temple of Asclepius a small stoa and a propylon were added in Roman Times. In the end of the 5th century B.C. or at the beginning of the 6th century A.D. a three-aisled Early Christian Basilica occupied the entire area of the Sanctuary.

West of the Asclepieion one of the most ancient monuments of the site is preserved today, the archaic fountain, constructed around 520 B.C. Further west the remains of a foundry of the 5th -4th century B.C. are preserved, which are now covered over with earth, for protection reasons. In this area a shed, ?the Inscriptions? Shed?, has recently been built for the display and protection of important epigraphical members from the Asclepieion.

At the western edge of the South Slope of the Acropolis, outside the fenced area of the archaeological site, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus was built in 162 A.D., in memory of his wife Regilla. In the area just south of the Odeon Of Herodes Atticus, important ancient remains have been revealed, among which the outdoor Sanctuary of Nymphe, with numerous pottery finds.
Author
Efi Gianikapani, archaeologist