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Parthenon

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The Parthenon has been the symbol of Athens since it was built in 438 BC, at the peak of the city’s classical era. The large temple to Athena forms part of the Athenian Acropolis, a complex of buildings that were destroyed over centuries, some of which are now being carefully reconstructed. To visit the Parthenon you’ll need a ticket to the Acropolis complex, so you can explore all the other ruins and structures, plus take some time to enjoy the view over Athens.
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Book your tickets to the Acropolis to see the Parthenon.
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Combine your trip to the archaeological area with a visit to the Acropolis Museum.
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5 Tips for Visiting the Parthenon

The Parthenon during sunset.
1
Arrive early in the day, especially in summer. The Acropolis is the most popular site in Athens and gets very busy over lunchtime and into the afternoon, plus you’ll miss the worst of the heat in July and August.
The Parthenon during the day.
2
Wear comfortable shoes and dress for the weather. In order to get to the Parthenon, you’ll need to do a reasonable amount of walking on uneven ground. There is also limited shelter on the top of the hill, so bring an umbrella or raincoat if bad weather is predicted.
3
Bring a bottle of water for the walk up the hill. If you’re visiting in summer then the average temperature is 90℉ (32℃), so you’ll definitely build up a sweat while exploring the site. There is a water fountain at the top where you can refill your bottles.
4
Take your time exploring. There’s no limit on how much time you can spend inside the archaeological area, so take advantage of it and consider doing two laps of the hilltop to make sure you don’t miss anything.
5
Feel free to indulge your inner photographer, but watch out for the rules. You can bring cameras, but drones aren’t permitted, and you’re also not allowed to touch any of the stones to protect them from further wear and tear. Bear those things in mind when you’re lining up the perfect shot.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Parthenon?

The Parthenon is the jewel in the crown of the Athenian Acropolis, the site of the most important religious buildings from Classical Athens. The temple was dedicated to Athena Parthenos, the patron goddess of the city, and originally contained a huge statue of Athena holding a smaller statue of Nike, goddess of victory. It’s not clear how many religious ceremonies took place inside the Parthenon, but many Greek writings from the time suggest that the temple was also used as a treasury to hold the riches of Athens. Considering that the Parthenon and the other Acropolis buildings during the pinnacle of the Delian League and Pericles’ building regime, it was very much a symbol of the power and wealth of Athens, sending a powerful message to its allies. The temple is an interesting mash-up of Doric and Ionic architectural styles, and it was originally decorated with both a series of metopes and a continuous frieze. The original pediments (statues above the front and rear facades) depicted the passage of day (represented by the god Helios) into the night (represented by the goddess Selene) and the competition to become the patron of Athens that took place between Poseidon and Athena. Read more.

Can we go inside the Parthenon?

The Parthenon and the other buildings on the Acropolis can only be viewed from the outside so that visitors don’t damage the stones. Several of the temples are also undergoing construction work almost constantly, with scaffolding holding the structure up, so the buildings are also closed for safety reasons. Don’t worry, there’s still plenty to admire from the outside, plus you get a wonderful view over Athens from the top of the hill. Read more.

What else is there to see on the Acropolis?

Although the Parthenon is the most impressive building on the Acropolis, you’ll also see the unusual structure of the Erechtheion, which has three distinct areas dedicated to three different gods - Athena Polias, Poseidon-Erectheus, and Hephaestus. The temple was the home of the city’s most important religious relics: residual marks of Poseidon’s trident, the saltwater well which he created by striking the rock, and the olive tree which Athena conjured when the two gods were competing to decide who would be the city’s patron. The Erechtheion has a portico to the north, and the south porch is held up by caryatids - giant sculptures of women. There are two other major structures, the Temple of Athena Nike (the first Ionic temple on the Acropolis - most of the other buildings are Doric), which celebrated military victories, and the Propylaia, which is the monumental gateway to the site. Read more.

Should we take a guided tour of the Acropolis?

There are only a small handful of signs that explain what you’re seeing, so it might be worth taking a guided tour. The buildings alone are impressive, as is the view over Athens, but if you want to understand the significance of what you’re seeing then you should either take a guidebook, plan a trip to the Acropolis Museum, or invest in a tour with an expert guide. Only registered tour guides will be permitted to give tours at the site, so it’s advised that you book in advance from a reputable tour provider to make sure you avoid scams on the day. Read more.

Should we visit the Acropolis Museum?

If you’re interested in learning more about the construction and history of the Parthenon, then the Acropolis Museum is absolutely worth a visit. Many of the original sculptures and friezes from the buildings of the Acropolis have been removed in order to preserve them from weathering and are available to view in the Acropolis Museum. You’ll also benefit from seeing them up close, rather than attached to the walls and roofs of the temples, so you can truly admire the artistic talent on display. The museum will offer more insight into the history of the original temple and the uses it has been put to over the last centuries. Read more.

How long should we plan to spend at the Parthenon?

The Parthenon itself will probably only take about 15 to 20 minutes to see if you’re planning to walk slowly around its perimeter. The entire Acropolis site, without a guide, can be completed in about an hour. If you’re a history or architecture buff then you’ll probably want to linger a little longer, but you’ll probably still finish your visit within 2 hours, and if you’re planning to take a guided tour then most tours also take between 1 and 2 hours. If you’re planning to combine your visit with a trip to the Acropolis Museum (which is highly recommended, since you’ll get to see the original sculptures up close) then you should plan to spend at least an entire morning or afternoon between the two sites. Read more.

Is the Parthenon accessible to visitors with disabilities?

The Acropolis has an elevator that can take visitors in manual wheelchairs from the entrance to the top of the hill, but the paths at the top are uneven. Depending on the wheelchair being used, visitors may need to bring a companion to help them navigate the more uneven terrain. There is one wheelchair available to borrow at the ticket office. Disabled visitors are entitled to a free ticket for themselves and one companion. Accessible bathrooms are available at the entrance and at the top of the hill. Read more.

General Information

Opening Hours:

During the summer months, the archaeological sites are open daily from 8 am to 7 pm. During the winter months, the sites are open from 8 am to 5 pm.

Address:

Acropolis and Parthenon (Archaeological Area)
Acropolis Hill
10555 Athens

Tickets:

During summer (from April until the end of October) tickets for the Acropolis cost 20€ per adult and 10€ for children, students, and visitors over the age of 65. During the winter months (November until the end of March) adult tickets cost 10€ and 5€ for reduced entry tickets.

How to get there:

The metro station Akropoli (metro line 2) is at the beginning of several paths which take visitors to the top of the Acropolis. The paths are relatively steep, but an elevator is available for visitors with mobility problems.
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