NOVA "Secrets of the Parthenon" on WXXI-TV

NOVA "Secrets of the Parthenon" on WXXI-TV

Tue, 10/12/2010 - 8:00pm

Pictured: Mason carving a marble block

Credit: Courtesy of Mark Daniels

With unprecedented access, NOVA presents the inside story of the Parthenon’s official restoration.

Erected by the ancient Greeks as a temple to Athena, the Parthenon has served as a church, a fortress, an ammunition dump and the model for countless banks, courthouses and museums across the world. It has been shot at, exploded, set on fire, rocked by earthquakes, looted for its magnificent sculptures and subjected to restorations that have been termed “catastrophic.” Despite so much abuse and renown as an icon of Western civilization, the question of how the Parthenon was built has been largely ignored until recently. Now, thanks to the Greek government’s $10 billion restoration program, scholars are finally probing the enigmas of its planning and construction.

NOVA "Secrets of the Parthenon" airs Tuesday, October 12 at 8 p.m. on WXXI-TV (DT21.1/cable 11/cable 1011).

NOVA presents the inside story of the official restoration, which reaches far beyond the challenges and controversies of conserving one of the world’s best-known buildings. The researchers are confronting some truly monumental riddles: How did the ancient Athenians build their great temple with incredible precision in a mere eight years? How did they manage to incorporate subtle, eye-pleasing distortions into the Parthenon’s layout, such that there are few straight lines or right angles to be seen? And, most baffling of all, how did they accomplish all this without an overall building plan or blueprint, which would be indispensable to a modern architect?

PBS' premier science series helps viewers of all ages explore the science behind the headlines. Along the way, NOVA programs demystify science and technology, and highlight the people involved in scientific pursuits.

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