The Propylaea was the monumental gateway to the Acropolis commissioned by the Athenian leader Pericles in order to rebuild the Acropolis at the conclusion of the Persian Wars.
A propylaea, propylea or propylaia (/ˌprɒpɪˈliːə/; Greek: Προπύλαια) is any monumental gateway in ancient Greek architecture. The prototypical Greek example is the propylaea that serves as the entrance to the Acropolis in Athens. The Greek Revival Brandenburg Gate of Berlin and the Propylaea in Munich both evoke the central portion of the Athens propylaea.
The Greek word προπύλαιον propylaeon (propylaeum is the Latin version) is the union of the prefix προ- pro-, “before, in front of” plus the plural of πύλη pyle “gate,” meaning literally “that which is before the gates,” but the word has come to mean simply “gate building.”
The oldest known freestanding propylaeum is the one located at the palace area in Pasargadae, an Achaemenid capital.
A covered passage, called “the Propylaeum”, used to face the Palace of Darius at Susa.
Theatre of Dionysus
The Theatre of Dionysus Eleuthereus is a major theatre in Athens, considered to be the world’s first theatre, built at the foot of the Athenian Acropolis. Dedicated to Dionysus, the god of plays and wine (among other things), the theatre could seat as many as 17,000 people with excellent acoustics, making it an ideal location for ancient Athens’ biggest theatrical celebration, the Dionysia. It was the first theatre ever built, cut into the southern cliff face of the Acropolis, and supposedly the birthplace of Greek tragedy. The remains of a restored and redesigned Roman version can still be seen at the site today. It is sometimes confused with the later, smaller, and better-preserved Odeon of Herodes Atticus, located nearby on the southwest slope of the Acropolis.
The site has been used as a theatre since the sixth century BC. The existing structure dates back to the fourth century BC but it has had many other later remodellings. On November 24, 2009 the Greek government announced that they would partially restore the Theatre of Dionysus.
The site of the Theatre of Dionysus Eleuthereus, which is on the south slope of the Athenian Acropolis, has been known since the 1700s. The Greek Archaeological Society excavated the remains of the theatre beginning in 1846 and throughout most of the 19th century. Early remains in the area relating to the cult of Dionysus Eleuthereus have been dated to the 6th century BC, during the rule of Peisistratus and his successors, but a theatre was apparently not built on the site until a century later. The only certain evidence of this early theatre consists of a few stone blocks that were reused in the 100 century BC.
During the sixth century BC performances associated with the festivals of Dionysus were probably held in the Athenian agora, with spectators seated on wooden bleachers (ikria) set up around a flat circular area, the orchestra, until the ikria collapsed in the early fifth century BC, an event attested in ancient sources. After the collapse of the stands, the dramatic and musical contests were moved to the precinct of Dionysus on the slope of the Acropolis.