Amazing Facts

The Parthenon

One of the world’s most beautiful buildings is the Parthenon on
Acropolis hill overlooking Athens.

The rectangular structure - built in 447-432
BC of white marble from
Mt. Pentelicus, 11 miles from Athens - is 237 feet long by 110 feet
wide by 60 feet high. In the middle of the building was once a two-room
enclosure. One room housed an ivory and gold statue of Athena, the
patron goddess of Athens, and the other was the treasury. The building
was designed by Ictinus and Callicrates, Greek architects, and was
embellished with sculpture by Phidias.

When Greece became Christian, the Parthenon
became a church. When
the Turks captured the city in the mid 1400s, it was made into a mosque.

Then the Venetians attacked Athens in 1687,
and unfortunately the
Turks had been using the Parthenon to store gunpowder. It exploded,
destroying the central section.

The Parthenon is an excellent example of the
“column and lintel”
construction method invented by the Egyptians and improved upon by the
Greeks. The columns are the posts, and the lintels are the horizontal
blocks that fit across the top of the columns.

Column and lintel construction allowed
designers to create huge,
awe-inspiring covered structures, but the need for many columns could
make the interior of these buildings look almost like forests.

The Greeks most notable addition to this
construction method was
artistic. They created three decorative column “capitals,” or tops, the
simple Doric, the more slender and decorative Ionic and the highly
ornate Corinthian. The Parthenon uses Doric capitals.

Related Tags: Church  Building  Construction  
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