The sanctuary of Artemis Brauronia in the Acropolis of Athens

After passing through the Propylaia, the sanctuary of Artemis Brauronia, the so-called Brauronion, lies to the right of the processional way of the Acropolis. It was associated with the earky santuary of Artemis in Brauron, a coastal town in eastern Attica. Artemis was worshipped as the giddess of nature and hunting, and she was the protector of girls, expecting mothers and women with newborn babies.

It is believed that the cult of Artemis was established on the Acropolis in the 6th cent. B.C. by the tyrant Peisistratos who originated from Brauron. No architectural remains of the early sanctuary have been found, but the cult of Artemis is attested by terracotta figurines and sculptures.

The architectural remains of the sanctuary are limited to parts of walls and beddings cut in the rock which belong to the 5th cent. B.C. shrine that was fully formed in the time of Perikles (around 430 B.C.). The sancuary was defined at the west by apart of the Mycenaean fortification wall of the Acropolis (late 13th cent. B.C.), at the south by the 5th cent. B.C. circuit wall and on the other sides by a built precinct. The perpendicularly cut bedrock formed the lower part of the north precinct wall. The Brauronion included two porticos, one on the south and one on the east side, whereas the entrance with a flight of rock-cut steps was at the northeast. According to recent studies, asmall temple which housed the cult statue of the goddess, was presumably located in the west part of the sanctuaery, along with an altar. Pausanias, the 2nd cent. A.D. traveler, saw in the sanctuary a statue of Artemis, made by Praxitelis, the renowned sculptor of the 4th cent. B.C. The colossal female head found in the area, belongs to this cult statue and it is exhibited in the Acropolis Museum.

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