The Propylaia of the Athenian Acropolis were built on the west side of the hill, where the gate of the Mycenaean fortification once stood. The first propylon, or gate, was constructed in the age of Peisistratos (mid-sixth century BC), after the Acropolis had become a sanctuary dedicated to Athena. A new propylon, built in 510-480 BC, was destroyed by the Persians in 480 BC and repaired after the end of the Persian Wars, during the fortification of the Acropolis by Themistocles and Cimon. The monumental Propylaia admired by modern visitors were part of the great Periclean building program. They were erected in 437-432 BC, after the completion of the Parthenon, by architect Mnesikles. The original building plan was particularly daring both in architectural and artistic terms, but was never completed.
In Christian times both the south wing and the central section of the Propylaia were converted into churches, the former during the Early Christian period (fourth-seventh centuries AD) and the latter in the tenth century AD when in was dedicated to the Taxiarches. Under Frankish rule (thirteenth-fourteenth centuries AD) the Propylaia became the residence of the dukes of de la Roche; during the same period a tower, known as Koulas, now demolished, was built against the south wing. In the Ottoman period (1458-1830) the Propylaia were used as garrison headquarters and munitions store, resulting in a great explosion that destroyed the building in 1640. After the Greek War of Independence the Medieval and Turkish additions to the Propylaia were demolished and the site was excavated.