Acropolis of Athens

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Athens, Greece; from c.1500 BCE

Used to designate a ‘high city’, acropolis actually means ‘high part of a city’. There are many examples in Greece, but the most famous is in Athens, because that is where the spectacular monuments were built in the fifth century BCE. It is these monuments more than any others that have acted in modern times as ambassadors for ancient Greek culture. They have been admired and copied across the western world from the eighteenth century onwards. They were measured and documented by travellers from north-western Europe when Athens was still a small provincial town in the Ottoman Empire.

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