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The Parthenon's design

Like all Greek temples, the Parthenon itself was meant as a house for its deity, not as a gathering place for worshippers. In its general design, the Parthenon was representative of the standard architecture of Greek temples:1 a rectangular box on a raised platform, a plan that the Greeks probably derived from the stone temples of Egypt. The box, which had only one relatively small door at the front, was fenced in columns all around.2 Normally only priests and priestesses could enter the boxlike interior of the temple; public religious ceremonies took place around the open-air altar,3 which was located outside the east end of the temple. The soaring columns of the Parthenon were carved in the simple style called Doric, in contrast to the more elaborately decorative Ionic or Corinthian styles that have often been imitated in modern buildings. The facade of the United States Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C., for example, is built in the Corinthian-style.

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