Parthenon Temple, Athens, Greece (with Map & Photos)

The Parthenon is one of the most perfect temples of Ancient Greece and the main attraction of the country's capital, Athens.

Parthenon Temple
Parthenon Temple

The Parthenon Temple is one of the symbols of Greece, a monument of ancient architecture, located in the central part of the Acropolis of Athens.

The Parthenon is an ancient temple, the main symbol of the capital of Greece, Athens and the whole country. Together with other buildings of the Acropolis of Athens, the Parthenon is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The temple is dedicated to the patroness of the city, Athena the virgin, who is also considered the patroness of all of Attica - the area around the city.

Translated from the ancient Greek Parthenon means "pure", "virgin". Athena was awarded this epithet for her virginity, which was one of the fundamental qualities of the goddess. Scientists believe that the Christian cult of the Virgin later grew out of the cult of the warrior maiden Athena.

The temple is located in the center of the Athenian Acropolis - the upper city of Athens. The Acropolis of Athens is a hill in the center of the city, which is a rock 150 m above sea level with a gentle top. On the upper platform of the acropolis, measuring 300 m by 170 m, various temples, palaces and sculptures have been located since archaic times.

Parthenon Temple
Parthenon Temple

Architecture of the Parthenon

Thanks to the developed culture of the Athenian polis, history has conveyed to this day the names of the people who built the temple. The one who built the Parthenon is told by the marble tablets on which the city authorities wrote down their decrees. The author of the project is the architect Iktin, the architect Kallikrates supervised the construction of the temple, the great sculptor Phidias produced the exterior decoration of the building and was the author of the sculptures that adorned the pediments and the interior of the temple. The general leadership was carried out by the great statesman and founding father of the Athenian democracy, Pericles.

The Parthenon is a classical ancient Greek temple, rectangular at its core, surrounded on all sides by a Doric colonnade. The central facades have 8 columns each, the side facades have 17 columns each, the total number of columns in the Parthenon is 50.

The Parthenon is interesting primarily for its unique architectural design used in the construction of the temple. In order to avoid optical distortions, the authors of the project resorted to innovative architectural techniques: the columns were thickened in the central part, and the corner ones were also inclined towards the center of the temple and had a slightly larger volume. During the construction of the temple, the principle of the golden section was used. Thanks to the techniques used by the architects, the impression of absolutely straight lines of the temple and its perfect appearance is created.

The temple is almost entirely built of expensive Pentelian marble, and gold was widely used in the original decoration. The temple stands on three steps one and a half meters high, steps used to enter the building were cut down from the central western facade of the building. The total length of the building is 70 m, width - 31 m, height - 14 m.

Far from all the treasures of the Parthenon have survived to this day: such a masterpiece of the temple as the 13-meter statue of Athena Parthenos by the great sculptor Phidias, which once stood in the center of the Parthenon, has been lost forever for mankind. Of the many sculptural groups representing scenes from the life of ancient gods and decorating the pediments of the building, only 11 have survived to this day, another 19 sculptures in the 19th century were barbarously cut down and taken to Great Britain, where they are now stored in the British Museum.

Parthenon Temple
Parthenon Temple

History of the Athenian Parthenon

Marble tablets, on which the city authorities wrote down their decrees and orders, have preserved for us the exact date when the Parthenon was built. The time of the beginning of construction is 447 BC. e. The construction of the temple took 10 years, after which in 438 BC. e. it was open. The construction of a temple dedicated to the goddess Athena cost the city treasury 700 talents - more than 18 tons of silver.

In the III century BC. e. Athens survived the Heruli invasion, during which the Parthenon was sacked and burned. The roof, ceilings and doors of the temple were damaged. During the restoration, the ancient builders did not seek to restore the Parthenon in its original form, so architectural distortions were introduced into it.

For about a thousand years, the Parthenon was a pagan temple, but after the collapse of the Roman Empire and the formation of Byzantium, it was converted into a Christian church, presumably in the 6th century AD. e. During the turbulent medieval history of the Balkans and Athens in particular, the Parthenon either became a Catholic church or returned to the disposal of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Constantinople.

In the 15th century, Athens and all of Greece were conquered by the Ottoman Turks, after which the Parthenon was turned into a mosque, and a military garrison, a pasha's palace and even a harem were located on the territory of the Athenian Acropolis. A heavy blow for the Parthenon was the Great Turkish War between the Christian states of Europe and the Ottoman Empire. During the storming of Athens by the Venetians in 1687, the Parthenon was destroyed. The territory of the acropolis was fired from cannons, after which the temple, which housed the powder warehouse, exploded.

The Venetians who captured the city noted the colossal damage caused to the Parthenon by their own artillery. Three dozen columns were destroyed, the roof collapsed, some of the sculptures were destroyed, and the central section of the building collapsed. Since that time, the Parthenon was turned into ruins and was never used as a temple again.

During the 18th century, the Parthenon was slowly destroyed: local residents used the fragments of the building as building material, and numerous European hunters for antique values ​​​​took out elements of sculptures and decoration of the building to their countries. The picture of the destruction of the Parthenon was completed by the British ambassador to Turkey Thomas Bruce, who at the beginning of the 19th century brought to the UK more than 200 boxes with sculptures, fragments of columns and other artifacts of the Parthenon.

As a result, it is impossible to give an unambiguous answer to the question "Who destroyed the Parthenon?". The destruction of the great temple was the work of many people: from the Ottoman rulers of Greece and the inhabitants of Athens to connoisseurs of ancient art from Europe.

After Greece gained independence in the first half of the 19th century, the acropolis was cleared of later buildings, such as a minaret, a medieval palace, and even sculptures from the Roman period. The restoration of the temple began in the 19th century, but it was prevented by the earthquake of 1894, which further destroyed the building. The reconstruction of the Parthenon by Greek architects continued from the beginning of the 20th century until the middle of the century, after which the temple acquired its modern look. However, restoration and archaeological work did not stop after that and continue to this day.

Parthenon Temple
Parthenon Temple

What now

In our time, the Parthenon is the main attraction of Athens, one of the national shrines of Greece and the heritage of all mankind. The ideal appearance of the temple, although not completely preserved to this day, not only gives an idea of ​​the cultural and technical achievements of ancient Greece, but is also a symbol of the possibilities of human genius. The Parthenon annually attracts millions of tourists to Athens, and since 1987, together with the entire territory of the Acropolis of Athens, it has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Where is the Parthenon

The Parthenon is located on the territory of the Athenian Acropolis in the very center of the Greek capital. In order to get to the hill of the Upper City, you need to get to the center of Athens. When traveling with the Athens Skytrain, you need to get off at the Acropolis station of the Athens Red Line. Also, a large pedestrian street Dionisiou Areopagite leads to the hill with the temple located on it.

Excursions to the Acropolis

You can visit the territory of the acropolis on your own, for this you need to purchase a ticket at the box office at the entrance to the territory of the archaeological site.

Opening hours of the Acropolis of Athens: 8:00 - 20:00, seven days a week.

Ticket price: 12 EUR, the ticket is valid for 4 days from the date of purchase.

When visiting the acropolis, it is strictly forbidden to touch the ancient buildings, including the columns, with your hands.

Ordering an individual tour of the acropolis and visiting the main attractions with a Russian-speaking guide will cost 320 EUR. Also included in the program of this tour is a sightseeing tour of Athens. Duration of the tour: from 2 to 5 hours.

Parthenon Temple Map