- "Earth proudly wears the Parthenon as the best gem upon her zone."
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
- +4 Culture
- Contains a prebuilt Great Work of Art in the Great Work Slot.
The Parthenon is a Wonder that automatically grants you a free Great Work of Art (usually your first Great Work ever), allowing you to jump-start your Tourism and start gaining influence over the other players. This will likely be the only Classical Work of Art in the game (if the Wonder is built in this era), which can help tremendously with getting your Theming Bonuses. All players pursuing a cultural victory should try to build it.
Built upon the Acropolis, dedicated to the goddess Athena, the Parthenon is considered the culmination of Doric architecture. Construction of the temple began in 447 BC; the last decorations were put into place in 432 BC and are important surviving examples of classical sculpture. It housed the chryselephantine statute of Athena sculpted by Phidius, and the outer facade was ornamented with 92 metopes. Like most Greek temples, the Parthenon also served as treasury, both for Athens itself and for the Delian League. Through the 1700s, European tourists and scholars enjoyed greater access to the picturesque ruins and its fame spread. When Greece regained its independence in 1832, the government took control of the site. Undertaking a restoration of the Acropolis in 1975, Greece has made the Parthenon an enduring symbol of ancient Greece, Athenian democratic ideals, Western civilization and one of the world's greatest cultural treasures.
The Parthenon was used as a fortification during a Venetian siege in 1687, and was critically damaged by an exploding gunpowder depot. The missing columns at the southern side still mark this spot, and the once translucent roof was gone for good, reducing the Parthenon to a row of columns.