The Parthenon's Many Lives

  • By Rima Chaddha
  • Posted 01.29.08
  • NOVA

The Parthenon is among the most recognizable icons of Greece's golden age, but the marble building also served as a religious sanctuary for subsequent empires. It was a church to the Byzantines and a mosque to the Ottomans. In its storied history, the structure also has played other roles—as a treasury, an ammunition store, even an army barracks. In this time line, follow the Parthenon over the centuries and learn about its latest incarnation, as a must-see tourist destination.

Launch Interactive Printable Version

Trace the building's various incarnations as a temple, church, mosque, and even an army barracks.



(447 B.C.)
"Phidias Showing the Frieze of the Parthenon to His Friends," by Alma-Tadema, 1868/Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery
(438 B.C.)
(Circa Sixth Century)
© 2007 Hellenic Ministry of Culture
"Young Greeks at the Mosque," by Jean-Leon Gerome, 1865/Courtesy Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Christian Hansen (1803-1883): Parthenon, prospect, 1836/© The Danish National Art Library, Architectural Drawings Collection
Peter Spiro/
"Paleon Patron Germanos Blessing the Flag of Revolution," by Theodoros Vryzakis, 1865/National Gallery of Greece
Original images by N. Cassidy. Appear in Les Monuments de l'Acropole: Relevement et Conservation by Nikolaos Balanos. Paris: C. Massin, 1938
photo by Mark Daniels/© 2008 WGBH Educational Foundation

Related Links


You need the Flash Player plug-in to view this content.