At the beginning of the 19th century, Athens was a small town in one of the less orderly and important provinces of the Ottoman Empire. Its inhabitants numbered about a thousand, mostly living in small huts built just below the Acropolis. The glorious buildings of antiquity were all in various states of ruin, some still to be recognised from the descriptions given in Pausanias, others but heaps of overgrown masonry. There was a mosque and a church and various administrative buildings on the Acropolis. The Parthenon had been falling into ever greater ruin since the explosion there in 1687. Those parts of the Erechtheion still not utterly ruined were used to house the seraglio of the Turkish Governor.
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