Architectural Features of the Parthenon
The Acropolis of Athens is still dominated by the Parthenon, the great temple dedicated to Athena in the age of Pericles. While much of the interior was destroyed in an explosion, it remains the finest surviving example of ancient Greek temple construction. Of all surviving structures, the Parthenon best exemplifies the various components of Greek architecture.
The temple rises from the ground on a three-tiered platform. This platform is 228 feet long and just over 101 feet wide, and bulges slightly in the center. A perfectly straight platform of such length would seem to dip in the middle, so it was built to ascend instead, by just over four inches on the longer side, creating the impression that it was perfectly level.
The Parthenon is peristyle, which means that the perimeter is lined with columns on all sides. Eight of them line each end, with 17 columns from front to back. Each end features a second row of six columns between the outer face and the inner structure. The columns were made in the Doric order, which means that they had a simple round capital, and stood 34 feet. Each is comprised of eleven marble blocks, known as drums, stacked one upon another. As with the stylobate, the columns were made thicker in the middle to compensate for the visual effect of foreshortening.…show more content… The cella was a rectangular building made of ashlar blocks. It comprised two rooms that shared a back wall, with their entrances at opposite sides. The eastern side was the larger of the two, featuring the great statue of Athena flanked on three sides by a row of columns. The western room was smaller, and supported by four Ionian columns; known as the Hall of the Virgins, it served as a treasury. The architrave of the cella, or the facing just above the capitals of its columns, was carved to depict the Panathenaic festival, which was held yearly in celebration of