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Five things you may not know about the Parthenon in Athens

The Parthenon is a Greek temple of Doric order, standing on the Acropolis of Athens, dedicated to the goddess Athena, protector of the city.

It is nowadays one of the most famous and visited monuments in the world, the best expression and testimony of ancient Greek art, a symbol of the glory and greatness of the first Athenian democracy. Moreover, together with the Temple of Concordia in Agrigento, Sicily, it is considered the best preserved Doric temple in the world.

Despite being one of the most visited tourist sites in the world, there may be many secrets and little-known facts about this incredible archaeological site.

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Five interesting facts about the Parthenon, the symbol of Ancient Greece
The Parthenon is a Greek temple of Doric order, standing on the Acropolis of Athens, dedicated to the goddess Athena, protector of the city. It is nowadays one of the most famous and visited monuments in the world, the best expression and testimony of ancient Greek art, a symbol of the glory and greatness of the first Athenian democracy. Moreover, together with the Temple of Concordia in Agrigento, Sicily, it is considered the best preserved Doric temple in the world. Despite being one of the most visited tourist sites in the world, there may be many secrets and little-known facts about this incredible archaeological site.
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The Parthenon has had many different lives
In the 5th century, the Parthenon was converted into a Christian church, which it remained in Byzantine times as a church dedicated to Mary, under the epithet Theotokos (Mother of God). At the time of the Latin Empire, it briefly became a Catholic church, also dedicated to Our Lady. In the 15th century it became a mosque instead, complete with minaret.
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World Heritage Site
The Parthenon in Athens was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. It is considered an enduring symbol of the civilisation and art of ancient Greece, attracting visitors from all over the world to admire its grandeur and history.
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In the 17th century its greatest destruction
The Parthenon suffered its greatest destruction in 1687, during the First Morean War between the Venetian Republic and the Ottoman Empire The Turks fortified the Acropolis and used the Parthenon as a gunpowder warehouse. On 26 September, a Venetian shell exploded the warehouse and the building was partially destroyed. Every structure within the perimeter of the roof was damaged, and some of the columns, particularly on the south side, were decapitated, the sculptures suffered severe damage, many fell to the ground and large sections of the building were reduced to rubble.
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Many artifacts "looted"
In the 19th century, the British diplomat Lord Elgin obtained Ottoman permission to take a large quantity of sculptures from the Parthenon, including many of the friezes and sculptures from the pediments. These pieces are now on display in the British Museum and are the subject of contention between Greece and the UK. Other stolen pieces are also in the Louvre in Paris and Copenhagen. The finds that remained in Athens are kept at the Acropolis Museum not far from the Parthenon itself
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The name
The name 'Parthenon' is derived from the Greek word 'παρθένος' (parthenos), meaning 'virgin'. Originally, the temple was dedicated to the goddess Athena Parthenos, patroness of Athens.
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