Acropolis vs Parthenon

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Written By: Pavlos Inglesis

There is usually a confusion when researching Acropolis vs Parthenon as people often don’t know what the difference is between these 2 and make this very simple mistake. I was actually born in Athens and lived there most of my life and even my parents were also born literally a few hundred meters away from the famous temple of Parthenon. I am explaining below what the differences are between Parthenon vs Acropolis.

acropolis vs parthenon

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I will make it as simple as possible to get it out of the way before I explain a bit about the monument’s history and why it looks like this today:

Acropolis vs Parthenon

parthenon vs acropolis
Acropolis is a rocky natural hill in the middle of the city of Athens that is home to a lot of ancient temples, ancient theatres and monumnets that date back to 3000 years BC.

Acropolis is the name of the hill that is located in the center of the city of Athens (others call it just a “rock” in Greece) where also all the monuments are sitting, including the Parthenon which is the largest temple in this complex.

This is a video of my recent visit to the Acropolis entering from the (best) Sourth Slope Entrance along with a full overview of all surfaces and staircases that you will meet as you go up.

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Acropolis is called the “holly rock” in Greek even today (“ฮนฮตฯฯŒฯ‚ ฮฒฯฮฌฯ‡ฮฟฯ‚”).

So, Acropolis is literally the hill and Parthenon ust the largest temple of Athina that sits in the middle of this archaeological complex.

acropolis vs parthenon
This is the main Parthenon and Acropolis difference


  • The word “Acropolis” in greek comes from 2 words: acro (edge) + polis (city) and it the word that was usedin ancient Greece to describe the fortress of any city
  • The rock of Acropolis is actually flat at its top which made it ideal to be used as a natural fortress for the city of Athens since 3000 BC.
  • There are several natural water sources around the hill which also made it perfect for people to use it in the past for any reason
  • Before the famous temple and the surrounding buildings were built, the hill was basically hosting the house of the governor of the city and a few other residencies

acropolis old picture
Acropolis hill with its biuldings from a photo of 1852
athina statue parthenon acropolis
Yes, this was the glorious interior of the Parthenon temple with one of the most impressive golden statues of the known world at the time. Obviously none of it survives today…
acropolis explosion 1687
Back in 1657 a Venetian bomb attacking the Ottomans who were at the time in the Parthenon temple, exploded and destroyed a large part of it. This is considered one of the greatest disasters of an ancient monument in human history…
acropolis mosque parthenon athens
After the great explosion in 1657, the Ottomas build a new mosque literally inside the Parthenon temple, at around 1680.
Photo of author
Pavlos Inglesis
Greek, born and raised in Athens. I have been to almost every greek island and pretty much in every region of mainland Greece. I have also been eating souvlaki and gyros since the 80s. I love being a dad to my 2 beautiful daughters and also taking great photos of the places I visit. This is my blog to help you out explore the places I have visited with my inside tips as a Greek, knowing the ins and outs of my country and culture. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments section under the post you are interested in and I wIll try my best to respond asap.

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