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Roger Weller, geology instructor

by Elizabeth Hoyer
Physical Geology
Spring 2017

                                                                                 The Parthenon


     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.

Parthenon ()

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.

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     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.


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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 intact.

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.

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     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.