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Ottoman Athens

1458-1821

        In 1456 the Ottomans reach Athens and occupy the city peacefully with the capitulation of  Duke Acciaiuoli in 1458. Sultan Mehmed II reaches the city in August and admires the ancient citadel. Contrary to the westerners, the Turks show bigger respect to the city. They do not plunder the monuments neither they harm them. Only some changes took place in the Parthenon with the addition of a minaret, for the transformation into a mosque and in the Erechtheum which was used for accommodating the harem.

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

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 Parthenon after the conversion into a mosque with the minaret in the southwest corner.

View from the west.

Part of the Acropolis from the north. Cannons were positioned all around the walls for better defense. On the left is the Erechtheum and in the background the Parthenon as a mosque.

       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. The next gunpowder magazine became the Parthenon. 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, in the night of September 26, 1687. The Turks built immediately afterwards 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 demolished in 1875.

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

The destroyed Propylaea were used as a cannon battlement.

The small mosque inside the Parthenon's ruins. Another view of the mosque. It was demolished in 1844.

 

 
 
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