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Roger Weller, geology instructor
by Elizabeth Hoyer
The Parthenon was built over 2500 years ago and is still one of Greeceís most
famous sites to see that really captures the countryís ancient History and
beautiful buildings in it. There are so many amazing details put into
these buildings that it is hard to ignore. I am Greek and I have been
there myself to admire the Parthenon so I know first-hand a little bit about the
history behind it all and photographs do not do the building justice.
History of The Parthenon:
The famous Greek politician, Pericles
was the man who ordered the construction of the Parthenon. Its
construction first began between 447 and 432 BCE in the city of Athens, Greece
and took thousands of craftsmen to build it in more than nine years. The
Parthenon was dedicated and built as a temple to honor the Goddess Athena as she
was believed to help the Greeks defeat the Persian empire. The Parthenon
itself was made of 30,000 tons of white marble. The original marble was
painted blue, gold, and red and in the center of the structure there was a
40-foot statue of the Goddess Athena for the citizens to worship and pray.
However, in 1687 the building was severely damaged by an attack on the city by
the Venetians. Once it was destroyed the building stopped being used by
the citizens. Most of the structure is still intact but it is being
restored to as much as it can be today.
What the Parthenon is made of:
Most of the Parthenon is made up of a
combination of marble and limestone. There was over 30,000 tons of this
material used to build this structure. The foundation of the building is
limestone and the columns are made of Pentelic marble, which is a fine-grained,
white marble that has a faint tint of yellow which makes it have almost a golden
look to it in the sunlight. Pentelic marble is quarried from the Penteli
region of Greece. Marble was very highly used in buildings in this country
because many people find it very beautiful and at the same time it is a fairly
sturdy material to use.
The above photo is a picture of Pentelic
Marble which is what the Parthenonís columns are made of. The lower photo
is one of the main locations of this Pentelic marble which is from Πεντέλη,
Πεντελικόν which translates to Mount Pentilicus. It is a mountain range
that is fairly close to Athens, therefore it is an easy source for getting
marble to make the Parthenon columns.
This is a picture of a sample of Limestone which is what most of the foundation of the Parthenon was made up of. Limestone is a sedimentary rock that is made up of mostly of skeleton fragments of small marine creatures and corals. Limestone is very commonly used as building material all over the world because it is also fairly sturdy and is good for foundations.
The original structure of the Parthenon before it was destroyed had gold, blue and red colored marble but once it was damaged the colors were no longer there.
As you can see at the top of the Parthenon in this photo is what
the colored marble would have looked like if the original marble was still
The Parthenon today:
The Parthenon is always undergoing reconstructions at every
chance it gets. There are over 70,000 individual pieces to put back
together and rebuild that architects are working very hard at restoring.
When I went to Greece to visit family, of course we all made a trip to see the
Parthenon. I myself took some photographs. I really noticed that
they were really strict about going too close at the time because they were
doing some construction on it and I could only take a picture from far away.
This structure is still one of the most visited sites it Greece and it always will be. The Parthenon represents strength for their city and its symbol of strength will forever be a part of Athens, Greece. I especially am captivated by Greece and their amazing architecture and the fact that something as beautiful as marble can hold up so well after a disaster and still be as beautiful as it was before.