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The word acropolis (Greek acron, edge + polis, city) means the edge of a town or a high city. The term acropolis is also used to describe the central complex of overlapping structures, such as plazas and pyramids, in many Mayan cities, including Tikal and Copán.

The Acropolis of Athens, for instance, houses the Pathenon, which has a statue of the goddess Athena in it.