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This painting by Frederick E. Church of the Parthenon Temple on the Acropolis in Athens is shown as it was in 1871 when the painter captured this image. It does not look like that today nor do you have debris all over the acropolis. This large painting is part of the Collection of the Metropolitan Museum in NYC.

Church visited Greece in 1869 and spent several weeks in Athens, where he made numerous studies of the ruins of the Parthenon that later served as the basis for the work. In 1871 a commission from the financier and philanthropist Morris K. Jesup finally allowed Church to begin work on his “big Parthenon”.

The Parthenon for the last 25 years has gone through a complex renovation and consolidation to stabilize the building and avoid any further degradation. It is splendid to see, there is no other word really.

The Parthenon built by Pericles in 447 BC with the tax money Athenians were convinced to give, he was a good talker, was and is  an important structure to the Western World. It is worth to see it at different times of the day from dawn to dusk because the light of the day and the Sun change dramatically its appearance. In the painting above depicting late afternoon on the Western facade.

The Parthenon is a masterpiece of symmetry and proportion. This temple to the Goddess Athena was built with pure white marble quarried at Pentelikon, about 20km from Athens. It was erected without mortar or cement, the stones being carved to great accuracy and locked together by iron clamps. The building and sculptures were completed in just 15 years.

 

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You can see today how the columns have been restored, during the period 1990 to 2015 hundreds of pieces of the shattered columns and other fragments were found on the ground, archeologists used them to reconstruct the temple and also used new Pentelic Marble when pieces were missing. Titanium rods are use to fuse together various elements. I visited Athens many times between 2007-2011 on Official duty and always stayed at an hotel with a roof top restaurant and a perfect view of the temple. The E.U. paid in large part for all the work done on its World heritage site.

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This model of the West pediment shows the gods Poseidon and Athena and the Sacred Olive Tree behind them. This refers to the story of Athens and the rivalry between these 2 gods to win the favour of the Athenians and become protector of the City. The Sacred Olive tree is still on the Acropolis on the spot where in Antiquity there was an Olive tree next to the Erechtheion Temple. The olive tree Athena planted grew in an enclosure west of the Erectheum. The Olive tree you see today was planted in modern times by Princess Sophia of Prussia, Queen Consort of Greece, granddaughter of Queen Victoria, in honour of the Athenians.