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The term Acropolis (Upper Town) denotes in the original sense the castle hill belonging to an ancient Greek city or the defense system , which was mostly built on the highest elevation near the city.

The Acropolis in ancient Greece

An ancient Greek city ​​usually had an acropolis. For reasons of defense, the early settlers of a town chose ridges and hills, if possible with steep slopes. The acropolis thus corresponded to a citadel , but in the course of history it developed from a fortification on the castle hill to a cult site with the most important sanctuaries. The early settlements, on the other hand, developed into the centers of large cities in many places, which spread across the adjacent valleys. The most famous Acropolis is the Acropolis of Athens .

Origin and use of the term

The word comes from ancient Greek : ἀκρόπολις akrópolis is composed of ἄκρος ákros "highest", "uppermost" and πόλις pólis "city" and means "high town" or "upper town".

The term “Acropolis” used to be limited to the ancient Greek culture, but is now also used for structures of other ancient cultures such as the Etruscans , Celts and Maya that are related to the type and purpose . With some reason, the Roman Capitol could also be called the Acropolis.

Medieval and early modern complexes are referred to as citadels , mountain forts (e.g. Chittorgarh and other mountain fortresses of Rajasthan ) or kasbahs - the Alhambra of Granada or the Alcazaba of Málaga could also be viewed as acropolis.


Individual evidence

  1. a b Reclam-Verlag: Small dictionary of architecture. ISBN 3-15-009360-0 , p. 8, paragraph Acropolis
  2. Acropolis at Duden online

Web links

Commons : Acropolis  - collection of images, videos and audio files