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Parthenon Skip-the-line Ticket
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The Parthenon temple, dedicated to the Athena Parthenos, was built in the age of Pericles between 447 and 432 BCE, and it housed the Athena statue. Parthenon was created to represent Athens’s victory as leader of the coalition of Greek forces, above the Persian armies of Xerxes and Darius.
The Parthenon replaced the older monument known as the Pre-Parthenon, destroyed during the Persian invasion of 480 BC. Pre-Parthenon served a practical purpose as the city treasury and shortly as the treasury of the Delian League. That political alliance of Greek city-states became the Athenian Empire over time.
The Parthenon was a Catholic church dedicated to Virgin Mary from the 6th century AD till 1458. But the Turks seized the acropolis Parthenon in the 15th century. They adopted the Parthenon as a mosque in 1460 without changing the materials except for raising a minaret. A powder magazine located in the Parthenon temple blew up during the bombardment in 1687 by Venetians fighting the Turks and destroyed the center of the Parthenon building. The Venetian army besieged the Parthenon on the Acropolis in 1687 under general Francesco Morosini. On September 26th, a direct hit from Venetian’s shell damaged the Parthenon, which Turks used as a powder magazine. The massive explosion destroyed Parthenon inside except the walls on the east side of the Parthenon temple and columns collapsed on the south and north sides.
The explosion damaged the Parthenon and its sculptures. Thomas Bruce, the 7th earl of Elgin, removed the surviving sculptures from the Parthenon temple with the permission of the Ottoman Empire. He paid the Turkish authorities for the rights to take away an extensive collection of architectural pieces, inscriptions, and sculptures from the Parthenon on the Acropolis. The British Government bought the Elgin Marbles collection in 1816, which resides in London’s British Museum. Elgin took 14 metopes from the south side of the Parthenon temple and some figures from the pediments. He took the torso sections of Athena Parthenos, Poseidon, and Hermes. Today the essential pieces reside in the Acropolis museum.