The Magnificent Parthenon

Heading Up to the Parthenon at the Gates

Heading Up to the Parthenon at the Gates

While we were in Athens, my family and I visited the great Parthenon. The Parthenon is a temple to the goddess Athena, the patron god of Athens. The Parthenon was built between 447 BCE to 432 BCE. It took the workers 15 years to finish the magnificent Parthenon. The workers used 22 000 tons (49280000 pounds) of white marble to build this structure. The Parthenon was built to show the wealth and power of Greece and to show respect to the goddess Athena.

The Parthenon is located on the Acropolis and is known as its crowning jewel. The Acropolis can be seen from anywhere in the city of Athens because it’s a small mountain in the centre and is the tallest thing in Athens by 100 meters. The Parthenon has 8 columns on each end and 16 columns on each side. The Parthenon does not have one straight line in the whole building. The columns bulge out in the center by five centimeters. The portico is a bit curved and the stairs are also curve down at the sides. The reason for this is to create an illusion so that from ground level below the Parthenon looks straight.

Portico with Remaining Few Marbles

Portico with Remaining Few Marbles

There use to be many sculptures above the columns all the way around the Parthenon. In the 19th century when the Turkish ruled Greece, Lord ‘Sticky Finger’ Elgin from England took many of the marble sculptures above the front and back entrances. These taken sculptures are now housed in the British Museum and are called the Elgin Marbles. There used to be a 13-meter statue of Athena made of gold and ivory called the Athena Parthenos inside the Parthenon. Unfortunately, this statue was supposedly stolen by the Turks and disappeared in Constantinople.

The Parthenon - End View

The Parthenon – End View

The Parthenon was used first as a Greek temple. Over the centuries, it was used as a Christian church and a Muslim mosque. It was partly destroyed in the 17th century when the Arabs stored gunpowder in the centre of the temple of Athena. Of the eight hundred canon shots shot at the Parthenon, one hit the gunpowder storage area causing a ‘big bang’. During the 20th and 21st centuries, the government of Greece has been trying to restore the Parthenon. The first restoration work in the 20th century did not work out because the restorers used metal clamps that corroded the original marble and destroyed it. Nowadays, the restorers use a titanium mix that does not corrode the marble. This is important so that the ruins remain in good shape in the future. There was a lot of equipment for fixing the Parthenon while I was there, but I still extremely enjoyed seeing it.

The Parthenon - Up Close

The Parthenon – Up Close

Alex & I with the Parthenon in the background

Alex & I with the Parthenon in the background

Parthenon - View from the Modern Olympic Stadium

Parthenon – View from the Modern Olympic Stadium

Acropolis from the Window of the Acropolis Museum

Acropolis from the Window of the Acropolis Museum

Parthenon - View from the Modern Olympic Stadium

Parthenon – View from the Modern Olympic Stadium