The Parthenon stood tall as Athens’ Acropolis for roughly about 2,500 years. It was constructed to thank the city’s Goddess Athena for protecting Greece and Athens during Persian Wars. The construction was officially named as Temple of Athena, the Virgin.
Throughout its entire tenure, Parthenon did function most essentially as a temple of the Greeks. It was also a fortress, treasury, mosque and a church. At the present time, it’s regarded as a popular tourist destination and a recognizable icon worldwide.
In order to replace an ancient temple that was destroyed by Persians, Parthenon was built at the advisory of Pericles. Pericles was the top fifth century BC Athenian politician. It was constructed under sculptor Phidias’ general supervision who also undertook the responsibility of sculptural decoration while Kallikrates and Iktinos were the architects. The intention to build Parthenon was to keep Athena Parthenos’ statue, a massive 40 footer, sculptured by Pheidias.
Construction did begin in the year 447 BC. It was subsequently completed by the year 438 BC. Decorative works on it did continue until the year 433 BC. There are accounts related to expenses incurred while building the Parthenon and reports suggest it was very expensive to transport the stone all the way from Mt. Pentelicus, which was about 16 kilometers from Athens.
The temple still remained intact in fourth century AD. At this time, it never favored Athens as the Roman’s provincial city. By around fifth century, the great Athena’s statue was robbed by one among the Emperors of Rome, and shifted to Constantinople. It was then destroyed, perhaps during the city’s demise at the time of the 4th Crusade in the year 1204.
After this, Parthenon was transformed to a church in the name of Virgin Mary. The transformation of temple to a Christian church did involve removal of internal columns as well as some cella walls. This eventually led to dispersal and removal of some ancient sculptures. Those which portrayed pagan gods perhaps had been removed deliberately or destroyed.