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Parthenon in Athens

The Parthenon (Ancient Greek παρθενών / parthenon, "virgin") is the largest temple, and the best known classical Greek monument. It is an ancient temple in Athens, Greece. It is the largest temple of the Greek goddess Athena built on the Acropolis of Athens.

Early history[edit | edit source]

Construction began in 447 BC, and was completed in 438 BC. Decoration was completed in 432 BC. The temple was dedicated to Athena. It was built by the architect Ictinos and Kalikratis. The Parthenon was decorated by the sculptor Phidias, from the instructions of Pericles , who ruled Athens then .

Architecture[edit | edit source]

The Parthenon is a temple made in the Doric style. Its architectural features include ionic, peripteros (surrounded by a colonnade) octostyle (eight front columns), built on a stylobate (base) three degrees (steps). It measures 69 × 31 m, making it the largest of all Greek temples of the classical period.

The main façade opens to the east. The outer colonnade has 8 columns and 17 columns on the front to the side, for a total of 46 columns (columns ends are counted once), each composed of between 10 of 12 drummers (cylindrical members) 20 splines. The building is arranged so as to highlight the statue of Athena: the narthex (vestibule) leading to the shrine (or cella) and the opisthodomos (room at the back of the nave and open to west), where the treasure was kept Athens and its allies.

The Parthenon is built in marble Pentelic (mountain north of Athens). Its roof was covered with large marble tiles, decorated with carved antefixes (ornaments in the corners and at the top of the roof, in the shape of palm leaves, or included the heads of lions, playing the role of gargoyles to drain rain water).

Later history[edit | edit source]

The Parthenon was partially destroyed in 1687, when gunpowder stored in the temple exploded. Restoration continues to this day. The Parthenon is a symbol of Greece, of democracy, and of western civilization.

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