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12 Interesting Details About the Legendary Parthenon of Athens

 The Parthenon: a 200 by 100-foot massive structure, located in the heart of Greece, an iconic symbol of the beliefs of the ancient Greeks. Built in 447 BC, this temple of the Acropolis of Athens has stood long enough to see the fall of Ancient Greece and the rise of the Athenian Democracy, followed by the rise of western civilization. It is these advancements that have played a major role in the pristine preservation of this historical treasure that has seen invasions, conquests, and complete and utter destruction, only to be rebuilt from the rubble. 

Today, the Parthenon is one of the most famous buildings in the Athenian Acropolis and one of the most well-known historical landmarks worldwide. There is a lot to be understood about history and learned about the future from this magical monument. To that end, these facts about the Parthenon will teach you many new and interesting things!  

 

1. The Pre-Parthenon 

Interesting and lesser known facts about the Parthenon 

The Parthenon was built as a replacement for an older temple of Athena destroyed in 480 BC, referred to by historians as the Older Parthenon or the Pre-Parthenon. 

 

2. The golden statue

Interesting and lesser known facts about the Parthenon 

(By Dean Dixon, Wikimedia Commons)  

The intended purpose of the Parthenon was to house Athena Parthenos (Athena the Virgin), a 40-foot gold and ivory sculpture of Athena.

 

3. The tyrannical theft

Interesting and lesser known facts about the Parthenon 

All the gold from the Athena Parthenos, meant to be a back-up fund for the people of Athens, was taken by tyrannical leader Lacheres to fund his army. 

 

4. Multi-religious purpose 

Interesting and lesser known facts about the Parthenon 

In the final decade of 6 AD, the Parthenon was converted into a Christian Church, the Church of Parthenos Maria (Virgin Mary), and in the 15th century, into a mosque. 

 

5. Earthquake-Proof 

Interesting and lesser known facts about the Parthenon

Given that Greece is often affected by tremors and quakes, the Parthenon was built to be reinforced against earthquakes and rainwater accumulation. 

 

6. A costly venture

Interesting and lesser known facts about the Parthenon 

According to surviving documentation, the largest expense of building the Parthenon was transporting stones from Mount Pentelicus to Athens, 10 miles away.

7. Quick builders 

Interesting and lesser known facts about the Parthenon 

The Ancient Athenians built the Parthenon in less than a decade. The EU’s restoration of the monument began in 1975 and is yet to be completed. 

 

8. Scattered Sculptures 

Interesting and lesser known facts about the Parthenon

Most of the sculptures previously housed in the Parthenon are now spread out across the British Museum, the Louvre, Copenhagen, and Athen’s Acropolis Museum. 

 

9. A Colorful building 

Interesting and lesser known facts about the Parthenon

The Parthenon was not always white. Historians believe that the Parthenon was partly painted with colors like other buildings of that era, though the color has long since faded. 

 

10. Pillars of hope 

Interesting and lesser known facts about the Parthenon

The Parthenon was first built with 23 inner pillars and 46 outer pillars, not all of which have remained standing. 

 

11. The man behind it all

Interesting and lesser known facts about the Parthenon

(Flickr)  

Pericles, known as the first citizen of Athens and its most prominent Statesman, inspired the building of the Parthenon and other monuments in the Acropolis.

 

12. The greatest catastrophe 

Interesting and lesser known facts about the Parthenon

In 1687, the Acropolis was bombarded by Venetians fighting the Turks. A gunpowder magazine in the temple exploded, completely destroying the center of the building.

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