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The ancient Greek temple known as the Parthenon (Greek for "the virgin's place") was constructed between 447 and 432 B.C. Considered a masterpiece of Greek architecture, it was built atop the Acropolis, a hill overlooking the city of Athens. The Parthenon became a Christian church around A.D. 500 and remained so until the mid-1400s, when the area was captured by Turkish Muslims (followers of the Islamic religion). They turned the temple into a mosque (house of worship). In 1687, when the Venetians (forces from the Italian city-state of Venice) tried to conquer Athens, the Parthenon was reduced to crumbling ruins by an explosion. In the eighteenth century artists began a revival of interest in the building with drawings and paintings that glorified the classical period (ancient Greece). Parts of the Parthenon have since been preserved in the British Museum, and reconstruction was begun on other parts.

Further Information: Boardman, John. The Parthenon and Its Sculptures. Austin, Tex.: University of Texas Press, 1985; Green, Peter. The Parthenon. New York: Newsweek, 1973; Parthenon. [Online] Available http://buildings.greatbuildings.com/The_Parthenon.html, October 23, 2000; Rockwell, Anne F. Temple on a Hill: The Building of the Parthenon. New York: Atheneum, 1969.

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