Built nearly 2,500 years ago as a temple dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena, The Parthenon in Athens is one of the most revered archaeological structures of all time, known for the beautiful marble sculptures that adorned it.
Over the next millennium, the structure served as a church of the Virgin Mary of the Athenians, then a mosque, and finally the ruin that we know today. During this time the spectacular sculptures that lived there were damaged, and by the 19th century archaeologists agreed that those that survived could never be attached, and so live in museums in Greece and London.
The sculptures in London, known as the Elgin Marbles, have been on public display since 1817. Constructed by the architect and sculpture Phidias, they consist of friezes, pediment sculptures and fragmented statues from the walls of the Parthenon, as well as the northeast column, blocks of wall crown (crown molding) and various other antiquities.