The Parthenon. It was ravaged by the early Christians, occupied by the Turks, and looted by the British. Wars were fought all around it. Plato and Socrates, Phidias and Pericles contemplated philosophy, art, drama, and democracy on its steps. And today its proud, ruined columns stand high above the city of Athens, Greece, the last sentinels of what's often considered to be the most important architectural achievement in the world. The Parthenon is without rival in regard to its beauty, purity of design, and tumultuous history. It grew out of war and strife, political uprisings and financial difficulties, and remains a symbol of what humanity -- at its very best -- is capable of accomplishing.
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