I am pretty sure that whether you’ve ever visited the city of Athens or not, you have definitely heard about Parthenon and the Greek Akropolis. However, you never had the chance to immerse yourself and learn about the impressive story hidden behind these majestically architectural buildings.
My recent visit to Parthenon with some foreign friends to whom I had to explain the story of the famous Akropolis, inspired me to write this piece of an article. Seeing their faces getting impressed and mesmerised by Parthenon’s immense beauty, I considered that such an article would probably be a matter of interest for people who love Greece and its tremendous history.
As a result… here we go, keep calm and keep reading!
The Parthenon is more than just an old building to visit while in Athens. It was a temple originally dedicated to the goddess Athena. It was built in the mid-5th century BC and it is considered to be the culmination of the development of the Doric order. Located at the highest hill of Acropolis, which literally means “high city” in greek, Parthenon is said to be one of the most influential western buildings and the apotheosis of the Greek architecture. Amazingly, the ancient Athenians built the Parthenon in just eight or nine years while repairing it took a bit longer.
Built over 2500 years ago and directed by the Athenian statesman Pericles, the Parthenon was designed by the architects Ictinus and Callicrates under the supervision of the sculptor Phidias.
The Parthenon embodies an extraordinary number of architectural refinements; as mentioned above, the Parthenon is a classical Greek Doric style building, meaning that its columns have simple capitals, fluted column shafts, and no bases. There are eight of these columns on either end of the building and seventeen columns running along its sides.
It is actually calculated that if you could draw a straight line from the center of each column up over a mile into the sky, the columns would actually come together and touch one another.
Parthenon has been rocked by earthquakes, set on fire, looted for its stunning sculptures and defaced by misguided preservation efforts.
“The Athenians were in shock, because the Greeks had an unwritten rule of warfare that you always left the religious spaces of your enemies sacred. You did not burn down temples or any holy precincts. But the Persians lived by different rules, and they came in and burned down what we call the father of the Parthenon, the old Athenian temple.”
A restoration project funded by the Greek government and the European Union started 34 years ago, and archaeologists, architects, civil engineers and craftsmen from all over the world strove to Greece aiming not to simply imitate the workmanship of the ancient Greeks but also to recreate it.
After the Parthenon was completed it measured a height of 45 feet and covered a space of 98 by 63 feet. Today we only see a part of this magnificent building due to being partially destroyed in 1687.
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