The Parthenon - History and Facts | History Hit

The Parthenon

Attica, Attica, Greece

The Parthenon is probably the most famous surviving site from Ancient Greece and is a monument to Classical Greek civilisation.

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About The Parthenon

The Parthenon is probably the most famous surviving site from Ancient Greece. Standing at the heart of The Acropolis in the centre of Athens, the Parthenon is a monument to Classical Greek civilisation.

Built during the golden age of Pericles – the famous Athenian statesman – the Parthenon was originally constructed to be a temple to the Ancient Greek goddess Athena.

History of The Parthenon

The Parthenon was built in the mid-fifth Century BC and replaced an earlier construction on the site which had been destroyed during the Persian Wars.

It served a practical purpose, serving as the city’s treasury. It also served as the treasury of the Delian League, which later became the Athenian Empire.

Through the centuries, the Parthenon has also been used as a Christian Church, being converted during the final decade of the 6th century AD. Once the Turks recaptured the Acropolis, in the early 1460s they used some of the rubble from the Parthenon to erect a smaller mosque within the shell of the ruined Parthenon.

For the next century and a half, the Parthenon was looted for building material and valuable objects.

The Parthenon was heavily damaged in 1687 during a conflict between the Ottoman Empire and the Venetians. The Ottoman Turks fortified the Acropolis and used the Parthenon as a gunpowder magazine. A Venetian mortar round blew up the magazine, which thoroughly destroyed many of the integral and decorative parts of the building.

Many of the surviving sculptures from the Parthenon were removed from the site in the early 19th Century by the Earl of Elgin, with the most famous being the Elgin Marbles which are now on display in the British Museum.

The Parthenon Today

Today the Parthenon remains on the ‘must-see’ list of most history enthusiasts and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Extensive large-scale renovations have been taking place since 1975, with the largest being completed in 2000.

It is widely recommended to hire a local guide to make the most of the experience of the Parthenon and the Acropolis more widely.

As one of the world’s greatest cultural monuments, it is considered to be an enduring symbol of Ancient Greece, Democracy, and Western Civilisation.

Getting to The Parthenon

From the centre of Athens, the Parthenon is reachable in around 25 minutes by foot via Athinas, or is a 15 minute drive via the Stadiou and EO91 roads. There are also a number of connecting bus services that depart every 12 minutes or so from Omonoia.

Further afield, from the city of Thebes (Thiva), the Parthenon is reachable in around an hour and 15 minutes via the A/D PAThE/A1/E75 roads. There are also a number of connecting bus and train services that regularly depart from Thebes and take around two hours to reach Philellenon.


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