About sight: Parthenon

Undoubtedly, Acropolis is the most impressive historical site of ancient Greece, and the main attraction of Acropolis is Parthenon. Though ancient Greece was but a conglomerate of independent state-cities, Parthenon was then the most important temple, both from architectural and religious points of view.

Parthenon was built by architects Kallikrates and Iktinos in 447-432 B.C., in the reign of Pericles, which was the greatest ruler (strategist) of Athens. Of course, the main temple of Athens was dedicated to god patroness of the city Athene-Pallades. Near Parthenon there was erected a huge sculpture of the goddess reaching the height of 7 meters, which was then called Athene Promachos (Athene the Warrior).

Parthenon commands Athens. The temple is surrounded by columns. According to rules of ancient Greek architecture, the long side of colonnade must have twice as many columns as the short side plus 1, that is 8 and 17.

The colonnade is crowned with the famous frieze of Parthenon. There were relief profiles of 192 warriors fallen in the Battle of Marathon with Persians. On the main eastern pediment there was depicted «Nativity of Athens». And on the western pediment there was depicted «Contest of Athens and Poseidon on the power over Attica». Inside the temple, where light reached only through door openings, there was set the sculpture of Athene Parthenos made by Phidias. Its decoration required more than one tonne of gold.

In 662 A.D., after decay of ancient civilization and strengthening of Christianity, Parthenon was turned into the Church of the Most Holy Mother of God, and the sculpture of Athene was taken to Constantinople where it was destroyed during the fire. When Turkey conquered Athens in 1460, Parthenon was converted into a mosque. During the war with Venice there was a powder store in the temple and it was hit by one of the shots. As a result of powerful explosion, all the central part of Parthenon was demolished. And after that the temple wasn’t restored.

However, Parthenon and the entire Acropolis most suffered from English philarchaists. With the help of lord Elgin (English ambassador in Turkey) most part of the temple's sculptures was taken to the British Museum. Some sculptures were also taken to the Louvre and Copenhagen. Now the authorities of Greece demand their returning.

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