The Parthenon was built to replace a temple that had previously stood on the site but was destroyed by Persian invaders. The primary purpose of the previous temple was to house a large statue of the goddess Athena.
Construction on the Parthenon began in 480 B.C. and took about 48 years to complete. The project was very costly, costing 469 talents, which was enough to build 469 military warships. Scholars debate the purpose of the temple that was destroyed by the Persians, though it is believed that the construction of the statue of Athena was to provide thanks to the goddess.
Although the Parthenon was built to house a statue, visitors were not permitted to enter the structure. This was common of ancient Greek temples. The open column design of the Parthenon provides a clear view of the interior from the exterior. The Parthenon is also designed in a way that the allows the friezes to appear almost as moving stories to passersby.
Because of its position overlooking the city of Athens, the Parthenon became symbol of the world dominance of Athens in ancient Greek civilization. The Parthenon continues to be admired by architectural enthusiasts because of the lack of straight lines in its design and construction; there are virtually none.