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The Parthenon

The Parthenon is the largest and most important building on the Acropolis. It was the temple built for Athena Parthenos, the virgin goddess. Worship did not actually take place in Greek temples. They were built as a home to the statue of the god or goddess. Sacrifices and other rituals happened outside, around open-air altars.

The Parthenon was richly decorated with sculptures. Inside was the great gold and ivory statue of Athena Parthenos. The sculptor Phidias covered the statue with pure gold, which he made sure could be removed if Athens was in need of it.

The Parthenon, the centrepiece of the Acropolis, is a Doric building with Ionic features mixed in. There were eight columns along the front, and seventeen on each side, which was more than for most Doric temples.

The decoration on the Parthenon is organised into three elements: there are two triangular pediments at either end, panels called metopes around the outer wall, and a carved stone frieze on the outside of the inner building.