The timeless beauty of the Parthenon is a celebration of the glory of ancient Greek civilization and architecture.
Called a "miracle of perfection" by dancer Isadora Duncan and built between 447 and 438 B.C., the white marble temple was commissioned by statesman Pericles after Greece's victories over the Persians and dedicated to Athena Parthenos, goddess of wisdom and warfare and patron goddess of Athens.
Pericles once said, "What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others."
From the Greek word parthenos, meaning virgin, the Parthenon rises from the Acropolis hilltop that overlooks the sprawling city-state of Athens. The temple is a tribute to the city's remarkable past.
"As the symbolic birthplace of Western democracy, the Athenian Acropolis is the most hallowed--and the most universally acclaimed--temple site in all of Europe," explained historian Peter Green.
The Parthenon was designed by architects Ictinus and Callicrates under the supervison of the famous sculptor Pheidias. Over 100 feet wide and 225 feet long, the doric design was a masterpiece of innovation, made of over 20,000 tons of stone hauled ten miles by special mule carts from Mount Pentelicus.
At the heart of the inner room stood the 33-foot statue of Athena which was sculpted by Pheidias in gold and ivory. The priceless masterpiece disappeared in 400 A.D.
Through the centuries, the white marble has oxidized to honey gold and crumbled from wars and other ravages of time. But in the sacred remains live the lingering memory of majesty, spirit, and pride for a time when ancient Greece flourished in the arts, democracy, and philosophy. That, according to poet Edgar Allen Poe, was "the glory that was Greece."
Behold the beauty all around you!