When Greeks Took Back Acropolis From the Ottomans in 1822

The takeover of Acropolis by the Greek rebels on June 9, 1822 was a crucial step in Greece’s War of Independence against the ruling Ottomans, only one year after the declaration of the revolution.

The Greek revolt that started in March 1821 was swift and determined, with the rebels taking over several cities and towns in the Peloponnese, taking the Ottomans by surprise. Ioannis Kolettis, of the First Greek National Assembly, decided to send forces to take over Athens.

On April 28, 1821 the Greek liberation forces entered Athens and took over the city without a fight. The city garrison and its Muslim inhabitants along with several Greek officials taken as hostages took refuge on the Acropolis Hill, which served as the garrison commander’s residence.

The Greek force comprised by 600 Athenians led by Meletios Vasileiou was soon augmented by volunteers from Aegina, Hydra, Cephallonia and Kea, amounting to 3,000 strong and maintained a loose siege of the fortified hill. The Ottomans were besieged by the Greeks from May until August of 1821, when the combined forces of General Omer Vryoni and Euobea governor Omar Bay attacked them and achieved to provide food, weapons and water to the besieged. After he left, the siege kept on.

When the Greek forces were reinforced with artillery commanded by French Philhellenes led by Navy Officer Olivier Voutier it resulted in the surrender of the Ottomans, as they totally lacked water. The Ottoman garrison surrendered on June 9, 1822.

The terms of surrender were that the Ottoman troops and civilians would be given free passage to Asia Minor on foreign ships not aligned with Greece. Turkish citizens who wanted to stay in Athens would remain without trouble or harassment from the Greeks.