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The springs and fountains of the Acropolis hill

T he area of Athens was first inhabited at the end of the Neolithic period, sometime between 3500 and 3200 BC. The few remains and finds of this period testify that the first settlements were on, or very close to the rocky hill, which was later named Acropolis. Panoramic view of the Acropolis Panoramic view of the Acropolis

Of course water was the vital prerequisite for selecting the specific site for the establishment of the settlement and it was accessed by digging wells. It is estimated that in prehistoric times there existed 21 wells 3-4m deep, testifying to the rich water table. Later on, in the historic era several luxury fountains were built around the Acropolis hill, exploiting these underground streams that provided access to a safe water resource at times of siege, when the Athenians would gather behind the walls of the Acropolis. In this case study the following springs and fountains of the Acropolis are explored:

  • 1) The spring and fountain house known as Klepsydra and mentioned by many writers.
  • 2) The Asklepieion spring house, which combines a spring and fountain at the healing house of Alklipios. View of the remnants of the temple of Asklepios from the ground level looking up.
  • 3) The Mycenaean spring fountain, which is linked with a heroic moment of Modern Greek History, when during the Nazi occupation (1941) two Greek students used the cave of the fountain as a secret passageway to reach the upper level of the Acropolis and take down the Nazi flag. Representation of the system supporting the rubble formation on which the stairway was created.