The Parthenon

Contributor: Ryann Maginn. Lesson ID: 12591

Do you attend, or have you ever noticed, a house of worship? How old is the building? Imagine a temple almost 2500 years old! It's not being used any more, but it's on a high hill in Athens, Greece!


Mythology, World

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!


The Parthenon is a temple Ancient Athenians built between 447 and 438 BC.

Do you know how long ago that was? Well, think of it this way: go back in time to the year 0, then continue another 447 years before that. That’s a very long time ago!

Athenians built the Parthenon to honor the goddess Athena. Athena was considered the goddess of wisdom, craft, and war in Ancient Greek religion. The Parthenon was constructed on the highest hill in Athens, called the Acropolis. "Acropolis" means "the highest part of a city where important buildings and temples were developed."

When Athens was still run by kings, the Acropolis was where they lived. Once Athens formed a democracy, where all citizens had equal say in making decisions, the Acropolis became a sacred area to Athena, and the Parthenon was created.

There were actually two Parthenon temples many years ago. The original temple was destroyed during the Persian Wars and its ruins were left for many years as a memorial. However, eventually the Athenians decided to rebuild their beloved Parthenon. This time it was built out of marble and the statues in the building were said to have been painted. The paint has since faded and all that is left is marble.

Wondering what the Parthenon would look like in person? Watch this short video, The Parthenon, that shows amazing footage of the temple:


After you've finished watching, share with your parent or teacher one interesting or surprising feature you saw. Maybe you had imagined it looking different?

Can’t make it all the way to Athens, Greece? Below is a replica of what the famous Parthenon would have originally looked like thousands of years ago in Athens. Surprisingly, this replica isn't in Greece, but instead you can find it in Nashville, Tennessee, in the United States. Now, you don’t have to travel across the world to experience what the Athenians did thousands of years ago.

  • How do you think the replica of the Parthenon that is located in Tennessee differers from the original one in Athens?
  • When comparing the two, how has the structure changed over time?

After answering these questions and reviewing the information you just learned about the Parthenon with a parent or teacher, proceed to the Got It? section, where you will answer a few questions about what you learned.

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