What Was the Parthenon Used for in Ancient Times?

The Parthenon is an ancient Greek temple located on the Acropolis of Athens. It was built in the 5th century BC during the Golden Age of Athens under the leadership of Pericles. The Parthenon is widely regarded as one of the greatest architectural achievements in human history and a symbol of ancient Greece’s cultural heritage.

What was the Parthenon used for?

The Parthenon was primarily used as a temple dedicated to the goddess Athena, who was seen as the patron deity of Athens. The temple housed a colossal statue of Athena made out of ivory and gold, which stood over 12 meters tall. The statue was designed by Phidias, one of the most famous sculptors of ancient Greece, and it took him nearly ten years to complete.

The Parthenon also served as a treasury for Athens’ wealth and as a symbol of their power and dominance over other city-states in Greece. The temple contained numerous votive offerings from Athenians and other Greeks, including precious metals, jewelry, and sculptures.

The Design and Architecture

The Parthenon is a magnificent example of classical Greek architecture, characterized by its use of columns, pediments, friezes, and triglyphs. The temple is constructed entirely out of marble and features 46 outer columns that are 10 meters tall.

The east pediment depicts the birth of Athena from Zeus’ forehead while the west pediment portrays Athena competing with Poseidon for control over Athens. Both pediments are richly decorated with intricate sculptures that showcase Greek mythology and artistry.

The frieze that runs along the top exterior wall depicts various scenes from Athenian life, including religious ceremonies, processions, and athletic competitions. The frieze also includes images that may represent historical events or battles fought by Athenians.

  • The Significance Today

Today, despite the fact that the Parthenon has been damaged by natural disasters and human conflict, it remains an important cultural landmark that attracts millions of visitors each year. It is a testament to the incredible artistic and architectural achievements of the ancient Greeks and serves as a reminder of their rich cultural heritage.

The Parthenon has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987, and efforts are ongoing to restore and preserve this magnificent temple for future generations to enjoy.


In conclusion, the Parthenon was primarily used as a temple dedicated to Athena, as well as a treasury for Athens’ wealth. It is an exemplary masterpiece of classical Greek architecture that continues to inspire awe and wonder in people today. Despite its age, it remains an important cultural landmark that stands as a testament to ancient Greece’s incredible artistic and architectural achievements.