The Significance of the Parthenon
1. General information about the Parthenon
The Parthenon is a temple of the Greek goddess Athena, located on the Athenian Acropolis. It was built in the mid-5th century BCE and is one of the most significant examples of ancient Greek architecture. The Parthenon was constructed under the direction of the Athenian statesman Pericles, and its sculptural decoration was overseen by the Greek artists Phidias and Pheidias. The temple was severely damaged by the Venetians in 1687 CE, during the Morean War, and subsequently restored by the architect Lord Elgin in the early 19th century CE. The Parthenon is now one of the most popular tourist attractions in Athens and one of the most recognizable monuments of Western civilization.
2. The Parthenon as a sacred place
The Parthenon was designed to be a sacred space for Athena, the patron goddess of Athens. In ancient Greek religion, temples were seen as homes for the gods and goddesses, and they were used for various rituals and festivals in honor of these deities. The Parthenon was used for festivals such as the Panathenaea, which was a festival that honored Athena and included competitions, processions, and sacrifices. The Parthenon was also used for important state rituals, such as the inauguration of new Athenian citizens and the burial of notable Athenians.
3. The Parthenon as a universal place of importance
The Parthenon is widely considered to be one of the most important architectural and cultural treasures of humanity. It is a symbol of Western civilization and has influenced architecture all over the world. TheParthenon has been nominated for inclusion on UNESCO’s World Heritage List and is currently listed as a joint UNESCO World Heritage Site with six other monuments on the Acropolis of Athens.
4. The Parthenon and international cultural policy
TheParthenon has been at the center of international cultural policy debates for many years. In 1983, Greece submitted a request to UNESCO for assistance in the conservation of the temple. This request led to the creation of an international committee to study the conservation needs of the Parthenon. The committee’s report recommended that measures be taken to protect the monument from environmental pollution and vibrations from nearby construction projects. In 1987, Greece requested that UNESCO recognize theParthenon as a World Heritage Site. This request was approved by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee in 1988.
5. The repatriation of the Parthenon sculptures
In 1801 CE, Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin, obtained a permit from the Ottoman Empire to remove sculptures fromtheParthenon and take them to Britain, where they were put on display at Elgin’s country estate. In 1816 CE, these sculptures were bought by the British government and installed at the British Museum in London. Since then, there have been numerous calls for the return of these sculptures to Greece, including from Greek politicians, scholars, and archaeologists. In 2009 CE, Greece officially requested that Britain returnthe sculptures to Greece. However, Britain has so far refused to return them, arguing that they are better preserved and more accessible to visitors at the British Museum than they would be in Greece.
TheParthenon is an ancient temple that holds great significance for both Greeks and non-