The Parthenon stands proudly as the centerpiece of Centennial Park, Nashville's premier urban park. The re-creation of the 42-foot statue Athena is the focus of the Parthenon just as it was in ancient Greece. The building and the Athena statue are both full-scale replicas of the Athenian originals.
Parthenon travel, Greece Tourist Attractions
The Parthenon temple stands on the conventional three steps, below which the foundation platform originally created for its predecessor remained visible on the west, south and east sides of the building...The cella consisted of two rooms end to end with hexastyle prostyle porches...Inside the colonnades, towards the end, there stood the gold and ivory statue of Athena Parthenos, the work of Phidias, representing Athena fully armed with spear, helmet, aegis and, accompanied by a snake, and holding in her extended right arm a statue of victory. The ceiling was of wood, with painted and gilded decoration. Light was admitted, as normally in Greek temples, only through the doorway when the great doors were opened.
At the approximate position where the Parthenon was built later, the Athenians began the construction of a building that was burned by the Persians while it was still under construction in 480 BCE. It was presumably dedicated to Athena, and after its destruction much of its ruins were utilized in the building of the fortifications at the north end of the Acropolis. Not much is known about this temple, and whether or not it was still under construction when it was destroyed has been disputed. Its massive foundations were made of limestone, and the columns were made of Pentelic marble, a material that was utilized for the first time. The classicalParthenon was constructed between 447-432 BCE to be the focus of the Acropolis building complex. The architects were Iktinos and Kallikrates (Vitruvius also names Karpion as an architect) and it was dedicated to the goddess Athena Pallas or Parthenos (virgin). The Parthenon travel temple's main function was to shelter the monumental statue of Athena that was made by Pheidias out of gold and ivory. The temple and the chryselephantine statue were dedicated in 438, although work on the sculptures of its pediment continued until completion in 432 BCE.
The Parthenon enjoys the reputation of being the most perfect Doric temple ever built. Even in antiquity, its architectural refinements were legendary, especially the subtle correspondence between the curvature of the stylobate, the batter, or taper, of the naos walls and the entasis of the columns. Hawaii
Originally built for Tennessee's 1897 Centennial Exposition, this replica of the original Parthenon in Athens serves as a monument to what is considered the pinnacle of classical architecture. The Parthenon tourism plaster replicas of the Parthenon Marbles found in the Naos are direct casts of the original sculptures which adorned the pediments of the Athenian Parthenon, dating back to 438 B.C. The originals of these powerful fragments are housed in the British Museum in London.
The Parthenon also serves as the city of Nashville's art museum. The focus of the Parthenon's permanent collection is a group of 63 paintings by 19th and 20th century American artists donated by James M. Cowan. Additional gallery spaces provide a venue for a variety of temporary shows and exhibits.
The Parthenon construction cost the Athenian treasury 469 silver talents. While it is almost impossible to create a modern equivalent for this amount of money, it might be useful to look at some facts. One talent was the cost to build one trireme, the most advanced warship of the era. According to Kagan, Athens at the beginning of the Peloponnesian war had 200 triremes in service, while the annual gross income of the city of Athens at the time of Perikles was 1000 talents, with another 6000 in reserve at its treasury.
The Parthenon is a temple of the Doric order with eight columns at the façade, and seventeen columns at the flanks, conforming to the established ratio of 9:4. This ratio governed the vertical and horizontal proportions of the temple as well as many other relationships of the building like the spacing between the columns and their height.
The cella was unusually large to accommodate the oversized statue of Athena, confining the front and back porch to a much smaller than usual size. A line of six Doric columns supported the front and back porch, while a colonnade of 23 smaller Doric columns surrounded the statue in a two-storied arrangement. The placement of columns behind the statue was an unusual development since in previous Doric temples they only appeared on the flanks, but the greater Parthenon tourism width and length of the Parthenon allowed for a dramatic backdrop of double decked columns instead of a wall.
The back room sheltered Athena's treasure and four columns of the Ionic order supported its roof. The introduction of elements of the Ionic order in a predominately Doric temple was more dramatic in the development of a continuous freeze on the exterior wall of the cella. While the integration of Doric and Ionic elements on the same temple was not a new development in Greek architecture, it was rare, and bestowed on the Parthenon a delicate balance between austere and delicate visual characteristics.
All temples in Greece were designed to be seen only from the outside. The viewers never entered a temple and could only glimpse the interior statues through the open doors. The Parthenon was conceived in a way that the aesthetic elements allow for a smooth transition between the exterior and the interior that housed the chryselephantine statue of Athena. A visitor to the Acropolis who entered from the Propylaia would be confronted by the majestic proportion of the Parthenon in three quarters view, with full view of the west pediment and the north colonnade. As the Parthenon travel viewer moved closer, the details of the sculpted metopes would become decipherable, and when in proximity to the base of the columns, parts of the frieze would become evident in tantalizing colorful glimpses peering from the spaces between the columns.
Moving towards the east and looking up towards the exterior of the cella, a visitor would be mesmerized with the masterful depiction of the Panathenaic procession as it appeared in cinematic fashion on the frieze which was visually interrupted by the Doric columns of the exterior. This was certainly a scene that every Athenian could relate to through personal experience, making thus the transition between earth and the divine a smooth one. A visitor moving east would eventually turn the corner to face the entrance of the Parthenon, and there he would be confronted with the birth of Athena high above on the east pediment, and just beyond it, the arrephores folding the peplos among the Olympian gods and the heroes of the frieze. Then, just below, the "peplos" scene, through the immense open doors, any visitor would be enchanted by the glistening gold and ivory hues of the monumental statue of Athena standing at the back of the dim cella. The statue of Athena Pallas reflected its immense stature on the tranquil surface of the water-pool floor, and was framed by yet more Doric columns, this time smaller, in a double-decked arrangement that made the interior space seem as if it were even larger and taller than the exterior.
It seems certain that the master planners of the Parthenon conceived it as a theatrical event. The temple was constructed with the movements of the viewer in mind, and by the arrangement of the temple, the monumental sculptures of the pediment, and the detailed frieze, the emotions of the Parthenon tourism visitors were choreographed to prepare them for the ultimate glimpse of the majestic Athena Parthenos at the interior of the naos, and to maximize the effect of an awe inspiring visit.
As a post and lintel temple, the Parthenon presents no engineering breakthrough in building construction. However its stylistic conventions have become the paradigm of Classical architecture, and its style has influenced architecture for many centuries after it was built.
The Parthenon is a large temple, but it is by no means the largest one in Greece. Its aesthetic appeal emanates from the refinement of many established norms of Greek architecture, and from the quality of its sculptural decoration. The Parthenon epitomizes all the ideals of Greek thought during the apogee of the Classical era through artistic means. The idealism of the Greek way of living, the attention to detail, as well as the understanding of a mathematically explained harmony in the natural world, were concepts that in every Athenian’s eyes set them apart from the barbarians. These ideals are represented in the perfect proportions of the building, in its intricate architectural elements, and in the anthropomorphic statues that adorned it.
Some of these details were found in other Greek temples while some were unique to the Parthenon. The temple owes its refined appeal to the subtle details that were built into the architectural elements to accommodate practical needs or to enhance the building’s visual appeal.
The fact that there are no absolute straight lines on the Parthenon bestows a subtle organic character to an obvious geometric structure. The columns of the peristyle taper on a slight arc as they reach the top of the Parthenon attractions building giving the impression that they are swollen from entasis (tension) - as if they were burdened by the weight of the roof; a subtle feature that allots anthropomorphic metaphors to other wise inanimate objects.
The peristyle columns are over ten meters tall, and incline slightly towards the center of the building at the top (about 7 cm), while the platform upon which they rest bows on a gentle arc which brings the corners about 12 cm closer to the ground that the middle.
The architects of the Parthenon appear to be excellent scholars of visual illusion, an attribute undoubtedly sharpened by years of architectural refinement and observation of the natural world. They designed the columns that appear at the corners of the temple to be 1/40th (about 6 cm) larger in diameter than all the other columns, while they made the space around them smaller than the rest of the columns by about 25 cm. The reason for this slight adaptation of the corner columns is due to the fact that they are set against the bright sky, which would make them appear a little thinner and a little further apart than the columns set against the darker background of the building wall. The increase in size and decrease of space thus compensates for the illusion that the bright background would normally cause.
These subtle features set the Parthenon apart from all other Greek temples because the overall effect is a departure from the static Doric structures of the past, towards a more dynamic form of architectural expression. Moreover, the intricate refinements of the forms required unprecedented precision that would be challenging to achieve even in our time. But it was not mere grandeur through subtlety that the Athenians desired. It is evident that they sought to out-shine all other temples of the Parthenon travel time through the lavish sculptural decoration of the Parthenon, and its imposing dimensions. The doors that lead to the cella were abundantly decorated with relief sculptures of gorgons, lion heads and other bronze relief ornaments.
The Athenian citizens were proud of their cultural identity, and conscious of the historical magnitude of their ideas. They believed that they were civilized among barbarians, and that their cultural and political achievements were bound to alter the history of all civilized people. The catalyst for all their accomplishments was the development of a system of governance the likes of which the world had never seen: Democracy.
Democracy, arguably the epitome of the Athenian way of thinking, was at center stage while the Parthenon was built. This was a direct democracy where every citizen had a voice in the common issues through the Assembly that met on the Pnyx hill next to the Acropolis forty Parthenon tourism times per year to decide on all matters of policy, domestic or foreign.
The fact that common people are depicted as individuals for the first time at the Parthenon frieze was owed to the fact that for the first time in history every citizen of a city was recognized as a significant entity and a considerable moving force in the polis and the observable universe.
With the exception of the Great Pyramid in Egypt, the Parthenon of Athens has probably received more attention from archaeologists, historians, architects, painters and poets than any other structure on earth. Words and photographs however, can offer but slight tribute to this extraordinary creation. It is the supreme expression of the ancient Greek architectural genius. With its incomparable setting, the visual harmony deriving from its sacred geometry, and the enduring wisdom of its resident deity, the goddess Athena, the Parthenon exercises a profound and lasting effect upon the human soul. The current author has visited the Parthenon numerous times since he was a young boy and honors the site as having had a major influence on his style of photographic composition. The Parthenon attractions architectural form of the temple of Athena represents the quintessential marriage of simplicity and power, and the photographs in this book are an expression of gratitude for a lesson so wondrously taught.
Similar to many other holy places featured in this web site, the origins of the sacred use of the great limestone rock rising from the Attic plain are unknown to us. They were forgotten long before the writing of the first recorded histories of Athens. Neolithic remains discovered on the slopes of the Acropolis indicate a continuous settlement on the hill from at least 2800BC, well before the Minoan and Mycenean cultures that later gave birth to the archaic Greek. In the Mycenean period (1600-1100 BC) the summit was surrounded by a massive fortification wall, which protected the palace-temple of the Mycenean priest-kings. The earliest known Hellenistic structures, dating from the 6th century BC, were two large temples dedicated to Athena, on hill top positions which had probably contained older shrines before them. In 480 BC the Persians destroyed these temples and in 447 BC (some sources say 438 BC) the Athenian leader Pericles initiated construction of the presently standing temple of Athena. Built by the architects Ictinus and Callicrates under the supervision of the sculptor Phidias, the temple is generally considered to be the culmination of the development of the Doric order, the simplest of the three classical Greek architectural styles. The rectangular building (measured at the top step of its base to be 101.34 feet wide by 228.14 feet long) was constructed of brilliant white marble, surrounded by 46 great columns, roofed with tiles, and housed a nearly 40 foot tall statue of the goddess Athena. The statue, known as Athena Promachos, Athena the Champion, was made of wood, gold and ivory and could be seen from a distance of many miles.
While much of the structure remains intact, the Parthenon has suffered considerable damage over the centuries. In 296 BC the gold from the statue was removed by the tyrant Lachares to pay his army; in the 5th century AD the temple was converted into a Christian church; in 1460 it housed a Turkish mosque; in 1687 gun-powder stored by the Turks inside the temple exploded and destroyed the central area; and in 1801-1803 much of the remaining sculpture was sold by the Turks (who controlled Greece at the time) to the Englishman Lord Elgin, who roughly removed the sculptures and sold them to the British Museum. Today, the automobile exhausts, industrial pollution, and acid rain of Athens are rapidly destroying the few remaining sculptures of this once great work of art. A substantial admission price is paid by the Parthenon travel hundreds of thousands of tourists who visit the site each year. Little of this money however, is used for the preservation of the Parthenon but is instead wasted away by corrupt bureaucrats and government officials.
The name Parthenon refers to the worship of Athena Parthenos, the 'Virgin Athena' who issued fully grown from the head of her father Zeus. The maiden goddess and patroness of Athens, she represents the highest order of spiritual development and the gifts of intellect and understanding. Pure in body, mind and heart, Athena is the symbol of the universal human aspiration for wisdom. It was not only the character and statue of the goddess that symbolized these qualities however, but also the Parthenon attractions precise topographical location and astronomical orientation of her shrine, and the sacred geometry that infused the entire temple. Though a discussion of these matters is too long to offer in this section, let us read a few passages from Vincent Scully, one of the more enlightened scholars studying Greek sacred architecture.
The Parthenon is open year round Tuesday - Saturday, 9:00 - 4:30. Additional hours during June, July & August: Sundays, 12:30 - 4:30 p.m. The Parthenon will be closed on July 4, Labor Day, the Thursday & Friday of Thanksgiving week, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Admission: Members free; Adults - $5.00; Children 4-17 - $2.50 (under 4 free); Seniors 62+ - $2.50.
Dimensions of the temple at the top step are 30.9 m x 69.5 m (101 x 228 ft). The steps were 508 mm (20 in) high, "too high to use, so intermediate steps were provided at the centre of each of the short sides."
The eastern room was 29.8 m long by 19.2 m wide (98 ft x 63 ft), with internal Doric colonnades in two tier, structurally necessary to support the roof timbers.
On the exterior, the Doric columns measure 1.9 m (6ft 2in) in diameter and are 10.4 m (34ft 3in) high, approximately 5 1/2 times the diameter. The corner columns are slightly larger in diameter, with their spacing reduced to make it possible for the frieze Greece Tourist Attractions to conform to the rule that it must terminate with a triglyph.
The stylobate has an upward curvature towards its centre of 60 mm (2 3/8 in) on the east and west ends, and of 110 mm (4 5/16 in) on the sides.
In the late sixth century the Parthenon was converted into a Christian church, and from about 1204, under the Frankish Dukes of Athens, it served as a Latin church, until in 1458 it was converted by the Turkish conquerors into a mosque.