The Parthenon, dedicated by the Athenians to Athena Parthenos, the patron of their city, is the most magnificent creation of the Athenian democracy at the height of its power. It is also the finest monument on the Acropolis in terms of both conception and execution. Built between 447 and 438 BC, as part of the great Periklean building project, begun after the victory at the battle of Marathon. The Parthenon was designed by the architects Iktinos and Kallikrates, while the sculptor Pheidias supervised the entire building program and conceived the temple's sculptural decoration and chryselephantine statue of Athena.
Built of Pentelic white marble, the Parthenon is famous for its classical Doric columns and decorated sculptural friezes which depict scenes of battle and history in marble. Some of these, known as the Elgin Marbles, are in the British Museum. The Parthenon remained unchanged until the fifth century AD, when it was converted into a church dedicated first to Saint Sophia and later to Virgin Mary. Under Turkish rule it became a mosque. In 1687, during the siege of the Acropolis by Morozini, the Parthenon was bombarded and largely destroyed. A vast conservation and restoration program of the monuments of the Acropolis, including the Parthenon, is currently under way since 1975. Today it is one of the world's leading tourist attractions with more than 3million visitors per year.