A few facts about the Parthenon
The most astonishing feature of the Parthenon is how the lines of the foundations and columns were curved inwards or outwards to achieve the optical illusion of perfectly parallel, vertical lines. The building was originally painted with many bright colours, including gold.
The Parthenon was a temple originally dedicated to the goddess Athena Parthenos, patron of the city of Athens. It was finished in 438 BC and also saw duty as a treasury for the Athenian Empire, a Christian church about 400 AD and a Muslim mosque including minaret over the next 400 years of Ottoman Turk occupation.
In 1687 under seige by the Venetians an Ottoman ammunition dump in the temple blew up, badly damaging the structure and many sculptures.
In 1806 the Earl of Elgin asked the Ottoman Turks permission to remove sculptures for their safety and protection. He received it, transported the marbles to England and ten years later sold them to the British Museum in London, where they are known as the Elgin Marbles.
In 1975 the Greek government began a massive, EU-funded Parthenon restoration project; since 1983 the Greeks have also been trying to recover the Elgin Marbles from the British Museum.