Athens, Greece, has long been a heralded site in history: the center of early civilization and epic tales of fortified gods living among men. To today’s viewing audience, the mighty Acropolis of Athens is a rousing mixture of futurism and tradition, sitting stoically against a twenty-first-century landscape of modernity and contemporary life. The building system’s various structures, which have been under construction for the better part of 50 years thanks to the Acropolis Restoration Project, is now in the midst of another revision. And this one might be the most illuminating update of them all.
The Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports, in association with the Onassis Foundation, has established Acropolis Lights, a project helmed by Emmy Award-winning lighting designer Eleftheria Deko, that seeks to breathe new life into the area’s existing electrical infrastructure but, most incredibly, the aesthetics of the already breathtaking views which can now be more vividly experienced at night.
The event, which launched on September 30, 2020 (fortunately, the live stream was captured), featured residents rushing to their windows to take in the dazzling light display, which highlighted the centuries-old structures after sundown. And the lights will continue.
Not only is this perspective bringing renewed focus to the iconic Acropolis rock, the fortification walls, and the Parthenon, but it is throwing a spotlight on other landmarks, including the Propylaia, the Temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheion, the Ancient Theater of Dionysos, the Stoa of Eumenes, the Shrine of Dionysos Eleutherios, and another five monuments that are being illuminated for the first time: the Monument of Thrasyllos, the choragic columns, the Asklepieion, the Cave Sanctuaries of Apollo and Aglauros / Klepsydra, and the Shrine of Aphrodite.
Best of all, these new lighting fixtures come with an eco-friendly principle. Improved target alignment means that residual light pollution in the area is reduced and newly installed fixtures require minimal maintenance costs.
The beauty of Athens is more than apparent in the daylight. Now, it can stand head and shoulders above the rest even after hours.