A. The sanctuary of Artemis Brauronia
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 early sanctuary of Artemis in Brauron, a coastal town in eastern Attica. Artemis was worshipped as the goddess 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 century 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 century B.C. shrine that was fully formed in the time of Perikles (around 430 B.C.). The sanctuary was defined at the west by a part of the Mycenaean fortification wall of the Acropolis (late 13th century B.C.), at the south by the 5th century 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, a small temple which housed the cult statue of the goddess, was presumably located in the west part of the sanctuary, along with an altar. Pausanias, the 2nd century A.D. traveler, saw in the sanctuary a statue of Artemis, made by Praxiteles, the renowned sculptor of the 4th century B.C. The colossal female head found in the area, belongs to this cult statue and it is exhibited in the Acropolis Museum.
B. The Chalkotheke
Attached to the east side of the sanctuary of Artemis Brauronia lies the foundation of the Chalkotheke, a large rectangular building (43 x 20 meters) with a Doric portico along the facade which was erected soon after 400 B.C. According to the ancient inscriptions it housed mainly bronze vessels and utensils used in religious processions, as well as weaponry.