Destination Greece Newsletter 061107 - November 07, 2006

Parthenon: The pinnacle of Golden Age architecture
Learn Greek
Greek cuisine: Rizogalo (rice pudding dessert)
Package of the month: On the Steps of St. Paul
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The Parthenon Parthenon: The pinnacle of Golden Age architecture

The Parthenon is the most important and characteristic monument of the ancient Greek civilization and still remains its international symbol. It was dedicated to Athena Parthenos, the patron goddess of Athens. It was built between 447 and 438 B.C. and its sculptural decoration was completed in 432 B.C. The construction of the monument was initiated by Perikles, the supervisor of the whole work was Pheidias, the famous Athenian sculptor, while Iktinos and Kallikrates were the architects of the building. The temple is built in the Doric order and almost exclusively of Pentelic marble. It is peripteral, with eight columns on each of the narrow sides and seventeen columns on each of the long ones. The central part of the temple, called the cella, sheltered the famous chryselephantine cult statue of Athena, made by Pheidias.

The sculptural decoration of the Parthenon is a unique combination of the Doric metopes and triglyphs on the entablature, and the Ionic frieze on the walls of the cella. The metopes depict the Gigantomachy on the east side, the Amazonomachy on the west, the Centauromachy on the south, and scenes from the Trojan War on the north. The relief frieze depicts the Procession of the Panathenaea, the most formal religious festival of ancient Athens. The scene runs along all the four sides of the building and includes the figures of gods, beasts and of some 360 humans. The two pediments of the temple are decorated with mythological scenes: the east, above the building's main entrance, shows the birth of Athena, and the west, the fight between Athena and Poseidon for the name of the city of Athens.

The Parthenon retained its religious character in the following centuries and was converted into a Byzantine church, a Latin church and a Muslim mosque. The Turks used the Parthenon as a powder magazine when the Venetians, under Admiral Morosini, sieged the Acropolis in 1687. One of the Venetian bombs fell on the Parthenon and caused a tremendous explosion that destroyed a great part of the monument, which had been preserved in a good condition until then. The disaster was completed in the beginning of the 19th century, when the British ambassador in Constantinople, Lord Elgin, took hold of the greatest part of the sculptural decoration of the monument (frieze, metopes, pediments), transferred them to England and sold them to the British Museum, where they are still exhibited, being one of the most significant collections of the museum.

Greek Alphabet Learn Greek
metro'ntas: e'na, di'o, tri'a, te'sera, pe'nte, e'xi, epta', okto', enia', de'kacounting: one, two, three, four, five six, seven, eight, nine, ten
e'nteka, do'deka, deka-tr'ia, deka-te'sera, deka-pe'nte, deka-e'xi, deka-epta', deka-okto', deka-enia'eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen
i'kosi, tria'nta, sara'nta, peni'nta, exi'nta, evdomi'nta, ogdo'nta, eneni'ntatwenty, thirty, fourty, fifty, sixty, seventy, eighty, ninety
ekato', diako'sia, triako'sia, tetrako'sia, pentako'sia, exako'sia, eptako'sia, oktako'sia, eniako'siaone hundred, two hundred, three hundred, four hundred, five hundred, six hundred, seven hundred, eight hundred, nine hundred
hi'lia, di'o hilia'des, tri's hilia'des, te'sereis hilia'des, pe'nte hilia'des, e'xi hilia'des, epta' hilia'des, okto' hilia'des, ennia' hilia'desone thousand, two thousand, three thousand, four thousand, five thousand, six thousand, seven thousand, eight thousand, nine thousand
e'na ekatomi'rio, e'na disekatomi'rioone million, one billion
Rizogalo Greek cuisine: Rizogalo (rice pudding dessert)

  • 2 cups water
  • 8 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup long-grain rice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 egg yolk, slightly beaten
  • ground cinnamon for garnish
Directions: Place water, milk, rice, and sugar in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, stir gently, reduce heat and simmer over very low flame for about 1 hour, until the rice is virtually disintegrated and the mixture thick.

Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla and lemon rind. Beat the egg yolk in a separate bowl, and add several tablespoons of the rice pudding to it, beating all the while. Add the egg yolk to the rice pudding, stirring well. Pour the mixture into 8 individual serving cups or into a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and chill. Sprinkle with cinnamon just before serving.

StPaul On the Steps of St. Paul (from $1,869.00 per person for groups only)

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