Seldom does architecture embody an entire civilization. One could say that the Great Pyramid at Giza embodies the ancient Egyptian civilization, the Taj Mahal captures the spirit of India, the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg best symbolizes Mother Russia, and Windsor Castle tells the story of Old England. But the Acropolis of Athens seems to reflect the civilization that gave it birth to a degree unlike any other other man-made work.
Although Ancient Greece worshiped pagan gods, it also was the origin of Western democracy. The usage of the Acropolis was inspired by legend: In the year 510 B.C.E. an oracle from the priestess of Delphi decreed that the Acropolis should no longer be inhabited by man and should remain the province of the gods forever more. The construction of buildings on the Acropolis, most notably the magnificent Parthenon, the temple of the virgin Athena, was done in a timeless style that today inspires many contemporary Western government buildings: large, imposing columned structures that speak of the dignity and individual worth of man.
From a Unificationist perspective, the "external" results of mankind's creations is a reflection of the "internal" human character. In the case of the Acropolis, the buildings were open and accessible in the democratic city-state of Athens, while the internal space for the gods was open to all to come and worship. This sense of freedom is expressed through the balance between open access designed into the building and the inherent strength surrounding the inner sacred space. The Ancient Greeks had a special appreciation for this sense of graceful architectural harmony.
It is no wonder that the Acropolis of Athens was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, for its, "Illustrating the civilizations, myths, and religions that flourished in Greece," as well as being proclaimed in 2007 as the pre-eminent monument on the European Cultural Heritage list of monuments.