An acropolis (Greek: Ακρόπολις; akros, akron, edge, extremity + polis, city; plural: acropoleis or acropolises) is a settlement, especially a citadel, built upon an area of elevated ground—frequently a hill with precipitous sides, chosen for purposes of defense. In many parts of the world, acropoleis became the nuclei of large cities of classical antiquity, such as ancient Rome, which in more recent times grew up on the surrounding lower ground, such as modern Rome.
The word acropolis literally in Greek means "city on the extremity" and though associated primarily with the Greek cities Athens, Argos, Thebes, and Corinth (with its Acrocorinth), may be applied generically to all such citadels, including Rome, Jerusalem, Celtic Bratislava, many in Asia Minor, or even Castle Rock in Edinburgh. An example in Ireland is the Rock of Cashel. Acropolis is also the term used by archaeologists and historians to the urban Castro culture settlements located in Northwestern Iberian hilltops.
The Acropolis of Athens (Greek: Ακρόπολη Αθηνών) is an ancient citadel located on a high rocky outcrop above the city of Athens and containing the remains of several ancient buildings of great architectural and historic significance, the most famous being the Parthenon. The word acropolis comes from the Greek words ἄκρον (akron, "edge, extremity") and πόλις (polis, "city"). Although there are many other acropoleis in Greece, the significance of the Acropolis of Athens is such that it is commonly known as "The Acropolis" without qualification.
While there is evidence that the hill was inhabited as far back as the fourth millennium BC, it was Pericles (c. 495 – 429 BC) in the fifth century BC who coordinated the construction of the site's most important buildings including the Parthenon, the Propylaia, the Erechtheion and the temple of Athena Nike. The Parthenon and the other buildings were seriously damaged during the 1687 siege by the Venetians in the Morean War when the Parthenon was being used for gunpowder storage and was hit by a cannonball.
The Acropolis was formally proclaimed as the preeminent monument on the European Cultural Heritage list of monuments on 26 March 2007.