The star of Athens postcards and arguably the most impressive of all the city’s ancient ruins, the Parthenon stands proud atop the sacred rock of Acropolis, high above the modern city.
Built between 447 and 432 BC, the temple was dedicated to Greek goddess Athena and originally housed her cult image, a giant ivory and gold-plated statue by Fidias. The restored temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a striking reminder of the glory of Ancient Greece with its grand marble façade, classic Doric columns, and elaborate sculptural friezes. The site also serves as a fascinating chronicle of Athens’ history.The Basics
The best way to visit the Parthenon is on a walking tour of the Acropolis of Athens, including neighboring ruins such as the Propylaea, the Temple of Athena Nike, and the Erechtheion. First-time visitors to Athens can also combine a visit with a city sightseeing tour; a half-day trip to the Temple of Poseidon and Cape Sounion; or even a food tasting city tour. History buffs can tack on a tour of the Ancient Agora or a visit to the New Acropolis Museum.
Things to Know Before You Go
The Parthenon is most often visited on half- or full-day city tours of Ancient Athens.Come prepared for the weather, as the Parthenon is an indoor/outdoor experience.Wheelchair lift available to the top of the Acropolis.
How to Get to the Parthenon
The Parthenon is located within the Acropolis on a hilltop in central Athens. Entry is via Dionysiou Areopagitou or Theorias, and the nearest underground train station is Akropoli.
When to Get There
The Parthenon is open from April to October, Monday 11am to 7:30pm and Tuesday to Sunday 8am to 7:30pm, and November to March, daily from 8:30am to 3pm. As with most popular tourist attractions, you would do well to arrive when the doors open to beat the crowds.
An Awkward Encounter with England
In the early 19th century, when Athens was under Turkish rule, sculptures from the Parthenon were sold to Englishman Lord Elgin. The artifacts, nicknamed the ‘Elgin Marbles’ are now on display in London's British Museum, but they remain a point of contention for the Greek government, which still insists they should be returned.