Ottoman Athens

The ottoman city
1st period (1458-1640)

In 1456 the Ottomans reached Athens and occupied the city peacefully with the capitulation of Duke Acciaiuoli in 1458. Sultan Mehmed II reached the city in August and admired the ancient citadel. Contrary to the westerners, the Ottomans showed bigger respect to the city. They did not plunder the monuments, neither they harmed them. Only a few changes took place in the Parthenon with the addition of a minaret, for the transformation into a mosque, and in the Erechtheion which was used for accommodating the harem.

Γενική άποψη της Ακρόπολης τα πρώτα χρόνια της Οθωμανικής κατάκτησης. Ο Παρθενώνας έχει μετατραπεί σε τζαμί ενώ όλη η επιφάνεια έχει καλυφθεί με σπίτια.

General view of the Acropolis during the first years of Ottoman occupation. The Parthenon is converted into a mosque and the whole surface is covered by houses.

The surface of the Acropolis was covered by many houses were the ottoman families, the garrison and the commander resided. Due to its importance as a fortress, the entrance to the Acropolis was denied to all christians unless they had a special license.

 

2nd period (1640-1833)

The monuments of the Acropolis, and mainly the Parthenon, used to stand almost intact since the antiquity. In the 17th century, however, two destructions were caused. A lightning caused an explosion in the Propylaea where gunpowder was stored, in 1640. Parthenon became the next gunpowder magazine. During the siege of the Venetians, under the command of the future Doge Francesco Morosini, a canon shell fell in the Parthenon and caused a huge explosion (night of September 26, 1687). The Turks immediately afterwards, built a smaller mosque in the ruins of the Parthenon, which was demolished in 1844 along with all the houses. The big medieval tower in the Propylaea was also demolished in 1875.

View of the Acropolis after 1687. The Propylaea and the Parthenon have suffered severe damages from the explosions.

View of the Acropolis after 1687. The Propylaea and the Parthenon have suffered severe damages from the explosions.