30 Interesting Historical Facts About the Parthenon

Knoji reviews products and up-and-coming brands we think you'll love. In certain cases, we may receive a commission from brands mentioned in our guides. Learn more.
Parthenon is one of the major tourist attractions of the city of Athens, the capital of Greece – the birthplace of “democracy”, Greek’s greatest contribution to civilization.

One of the most popular historical structures in the world is the Parthenon. The Parthenon is a temple on the Athenian Acropolis, Greece. This temple was dedicated to Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom considered by the people of Athens their virgin patron.

Parthenon is one of the major tourist attractions of the city of Athens, the capital of Greece – the birthplace of “democracy”, Greek’s greatest contribution to civilization.

1.) Construction of the Parthenon started in 447 BCE and was completed in 438 BCE but decorations of the temple continued until 432 BC.

2.) The Parthenon is the most important surviving building of Classical Greece and is regarded as one of the greatest cultural monuments in the world.

3.) The Parthenon itself replaced an older temple of Athena, which historians call the Pre-Parthenon or Older Parthenon that was destroyed in the Persian invasion of 480 BCE.

4.) The Parthenon was used as a treasury like all other Greek temples.

5.) The glory of the Parthenon was the gigantic statue of Athena designed and sculpted by Phidias and made out of elephant ivory and gold. It was dedicated in 439 or 438 BC.

Image Source

6.) The Parthenon in Athens is considered to be the finest example of Doric-style construction.

7.) The Parthenon measurement is 111 feet by 228 feet, or 30.9 meters by 69.5 meters.

8.) It was built over the site of an earlier temple which is sometimes called the Pre-Parthenon.

9.) A famous sculptor named Phidias designed the Parthenon while the Greek architects Ictinos and Callicrates supervised the practical work of the construction.

10.) In some account, the name of Parthenon means the "temple of the virgin goddess" and refers to the cult of Athena Parthenos that was associated with the temple.

11.) Pericles, he greatest Athenian statesman and Athens’ first citizen was the builder of the Parthenon.

12.) Some of the financial accounts for the Parthenon survive and show that the largest single expense was transporting the stone from Mt. Pentelicus, about 16 kilometres from Athens, to the Acropolis.

13.) Parthenon enjoys the reputation of being the most perfect Doric Temple ever built.

14.) The dimensions of the base of the Parthenon are 69.5 meters by 30.9 meters.

15.) The cella was 29.8 meters long by 19.2 meters wide, with internal colonnades in two tiers, structurally necessary to support the roof.

Image Source

16.) On the exterior, the Doric columns measure 1.9 meters in diameter and are 10.4 meters high.

17.) The corner columns are slightly larger in diameter.

18.) The Parthenon had 46 outer pillars and 23 inner pillars in total.

19.) The roof was covered with large overlapping marble tiles known as imbrices and tegulae.

20.) Monetary contributions of the Delian League, of which Athens was the leading member, were stored in the opisthodomus (the back room of the cella).

Image Source

21.) The colossal statue of Athena was not related to any cult and never inspired any recorded religious fervor.

22.) In the 5th century CE, the Parthenon was converted into a Christian church dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

23.) In the early 1460s, the Parthenon was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman Turk conquest and it had a minaret built in it.

24.) The Parthenon was used as a munitions depot during the Turkish Occupation of Greece.

25.) In September 1687, an Ottoman Turk ammunition dump inside the building was ignited by Venetian bombardment that resulted in explosion that severely damaged the Parthenon and its sculptures.

Image Source

This is a full-scale replica of the original Parthenon located in Nashville, Tennessee in the United States.

26.) In 1806, some of the surviving sculptures were removed by Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin with the permission of the Ottoman Turks'.

27.) These sculptures, now known as the Elgin marbles or the Parthenon Marbles, were sold in 1816 to the British Museum in London, where they are now displayed.

28.) The Greek government is committed to the return of the sculptures to Greece, so far with no success.

29.) The government of Greece is presently carrying out a program of selective restoration and reconstruction to ensure the stability of the partially ruined temple.

30.) Although it is called a temple, the Parthenon did not serve as a temple at all.

See also

17 Interesting Facts About the Colosseum


Lauren Axelrod
Posted on Dec 21, 2011
Guimo Pantuhan
Posted on Dec 21, 2011
Abdel-moniem El-Shorbagy
Posted on Dec 21, 2011
Ron Siojo
Posted on Dec 21, 2011