The Acropolis rock is part of a Late Cretaceous limestone ridge (Higgins) that cuts through the Attica plateau in the northeast to the southwest axis and includes the Likavitos hill, the Philopappos (Museum) hill, the hill of the Nymphs, and the Pnyx.

The rock rises from the basin about 70 meters and levels to a flat top 300 meters long by 150 meters wide. Its flat top is due to the numerous landfills that have accommodated construction of fortifications and temples since the Mycenaean era.

With its many shallow caves, the abundant percolating water springs and steep slopes, the Acropolis was a prime location for habitation and worship location for Neolithic man.

Acropolis in Greek literally means “the highest point of the town”. 

While virtually every city had an Acropolis, like Mycenae and Tyrins, the Athenian citadel became synonymous with the word in the minds of most people during the last two millennia. The Mycenaean civilization established many important centers, one of which was Athens. The first inhabitants we can trace to the Acropolis of Athens were Mycenaean Kings who fortified the rock with massive eight-meter tall walls, and built their palaces there in the 14th century BCE. Very little remains from these buildings today, but the most obvious evidence of this era is still visible at the southwest end of the Acropolis, right behind the later Temple of Athena Nike, next to the Propylaia, in the form of a cyclopean wall that was built as part of the fortifications. According to Dontas, Mycenaean kings built a palace at the north end of the rock “where the Archaic temple of Athena was later built, or a little further east on the summit of the hill” (The Acropolis and its Museum, 6). Besides a fort and a place of royal residence, the Acropolis functioned as a place of worship for the Goddess of fertility and nature, and for her companion male god Erechtheus.

Just like Mycenae and Tyrins, the Acropolis of Athens had its own underground water supply in the form of a deep well, dug at the north end of the rock, which could be used by the defenders during a siege.

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