September 20, 2013

0666, 0810, 0811 GREECE (Attica) - Acropolis of Athens (UNESCO WHS)

Posted on 03.06.2013 and completed on 20.09.2013
When we say Acropolis, our thoughts immediately fly to Athens, although there are many other acropoleis in Greece, the term being a general one, which designate a citadel built upon an area of elevated ground with a defensive purpose. The fact is that the Acropolis of Athens had such a significance in history, that it's commonly known as "The Acropolis" without qualification. So I will use it myself in this way. Located on a flat-topped rock that rises 150m above sea level, the Acropolis was inhabited as far back as the fourth millennium BC. In the Mycenaean era was built a massive wall around the hill, which will serve as the main defense until the 5th century and will shelter the main religious buildings of Athens. Totally destroyed by the Persians during the Greco-Persian Wars, Acropolis was rebuilt during the Golden Age of Athens (460–430 BC), under the leadership of Pericles, and in the near future. Since then dates all its major buildings, to the construction of which participated famous architects as Ictinus, Callicrates and Mnesicles, and the great sculptor Phidias.

The Parthenon (the tallest building in the first two postcards), a temple dedicated to the maiden goddess Athena, built between 447 and 432 BC, is the most important surviving building of Classical Greece, generally considered the culmination of the development of the Doric order. It is regarded also as an enduring symbol of Ancient Greece, Athenian democracy, western civilization and one of the world's greatest cultural monuments. The Parthenon was built under the general supervision of the artist Phidias, the architects being Ictinus and Callicrates. The funds were partly drawn from the treasury of the Delian League, which was moved from the Panhellenic sanctuary at Delos to the Acropolis in 454 BC. Some studies conclude that many of its proportions approximate the golden ratio. The most characteristic feature in the architecture and decoration of the temple is the Ionic frieze running around the exterior walls of the cella, which is the inside structure of the Parthenon.

Another magnificent building is the Erechtheion, an temple built between 421 and 406 BC by Mnesicles, the sculptor and mason of the structure being Phidias. Its eastern part was dedicated to Athena Polias, while the western part served the cult of Poseidon-Erechtheus and held the altars of Hephaestus and Voutos, brothers of Erechtheus. It was built of marble from Mount Pentelikon, with friezes of black limestone from Eleusis. It had elaborately carved doorways and windows, and its columns were ornately decorated and painted, gilded and highlighted with gilt bronze and multi-colored inset glass beads. On the north side, there is a large porch with six Ionic columns, and on the south, the famous "Porch of the Maidens", with six draped female figures (caryatids) as supporting columns (in the third postcard). Although of the same height and build, and similarly attired and coiffed, the six Caryatids are not the same: their faces, stance, draping, and hair are carved separately; the three on the left stand on their right knee, while the three on the right stand on their left knee. 

Because Acropolis of Athens and its monuments "are universal symbols of the classical spirit and civilization and form the greatest architectural and artistic complex bequeathed by Greek Antiquity to the world", it was designated an UNESCO WHS in 1987.

About the stamps
On the first poscards
The first stamp is part of the series Greek Island, issued on October 14, 2010, and containing eight stamps:
- Limnos (0.02 EUR)
- Paros (0.05 EUR)
- Ithaki  (0.20 EUR) - it's on this postcard
- Tinos (0.40 EUR)
- Skyros  (0.50 EUR)
- Evia-Chalkida (1.00 EUR)
- Samos (2.00 EUR)
- Kassos (4.00 EUR)

The second stamp, depicting Octopus vulgaris (0.03 EUR), is part of the definitive set Riches of the Greek Seas, about which I wrote here.

The third stamp, depicting Evinos River, Central Greece (0.10 EUR), is part of the series Touring, about which I wrote here.

The fourth stamp, depicting a dance from Kotsari, Pontus (0,45 EUR), is part of the definitive series Greek Dances, about which I wrote here.

On the second and third postcard
The stamp is part of the series Sailing tourism, about which I wrote here.

Acropolis of Athens - Wikipedia
Acropolis, Athens - UNESCO official website
Erechtheion - Wikipedia

sender 1: Milda Kriukaite (direct swap)
1: sent from Piraeus (Attica / Greece), on 12.12.2012
sender 2, 3: Ana
2: sent from Athens (Attica / Greece), on 06.09.2013
2: sent from Athens (Attica / Greece), on 04.09.2013
photo 2, 3: Spiros Spirou

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