In the period 2007-2011 I often went to Greece for work and lived near the Acropolis. I always made a point of going to the Acropolis to visit the sight. I was also in Athens when the new Acropolis Museum opened, truly a marvel of architecture with its glass floors where you can admire the subterranean area, the South side of the Acropolis hill was a sacred precinct with many shops and houses serving the pilgrims coming to the Acropolis. There were also two theatres, the Herodion which is still in use today, the other is the Sanctuary and Theatre of Dionysius built in 580 BC saw the performance of the first plays in the Western World, it had a capacity of 17,000 people.
This photo taken by a worker standing on a scaffold on the East side of the Temple. This area is not open to visitors.
Inside view of the Parthenon, looking West, (main door), to the left is the South side and the right is the North side. Between 2003 and 2020 major restoration have been undertaken to restore the second Parthenon Temple built by Pericles, it replace the one destroyed by the Persians some 2500 years ago. The Temple was dedicated to Athena Parthenos,(virgin) goddess protecting Athens. Her statue inside the Cella was a work by Pheidias, made of ivory and solid gold.
I remember the Parthenon prior to the undertaking of this restoration, it was much more ruined then. Modern techniques allowed for titanium rods to replace the old steel hooks locking the marble blocs into place. As can be seen on this photo the new white Pentelic marble in the columns replace the missing parts, it will eventually take the same golden hue of the original blocs. Recently the final phase of the restoration was undertaken with the decision to rebuild the North wall of the cella (chamber). The cella walls represent an amazing restoration challenge. A total of 360 ancient stones, many of them with new marble attachments, will be reinstalled, along with 90 completely new marble members. On the photo we can see on the North side a group of workers placing a white marble bloc . The cella or chamber contained the statue of Athena Parthenos which measured 11.5 meters tall.
Why is it that the Parthenon needs to be rebuilt in the first place? It all began in 1687, with the bombardment by the Venetian fleet under the command of Francesco Morosini, when large parts of the Parthenon’s cella walls collapsed. They remained in that state until 1822, when the Greeks, in the struggle for their independence, besieged Turkish troops on the Acropolis. The Turkish soldiers, running out of bullets, discovered that there was lead between the marble blocks, and so they knocked down the rest of the cella walls. The lead had been used by the ancient architects to protect iron clamps from corrosion.
To me the Parthenon is the symbol of Western civilization, from ancient Greece we received the notions of democracy, theatre, philosophy, citizenship. So the accidents of history and war should not deprive us of this beautiful monument.
On the acropolis in the restoration program, the entrance gate or Propylaia saw extensive rebuilding, the Erechtheion was also restored as was the Temple of Athena Nike (victorius), the effect is visually magical.
Temple of Athena Nike, Acropolis