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The Parthenon has been voted the most beautiful building in the world according to Business Insider, followed by The National Congress of Brazil in Brasília, The São Paulo Museum of Art (São Paulo, Brazil) and The Forbidden City Temple in Beijing, (China).

Like paintings and sculptures, buildings can be beautiful works of art, therefore Business Insider asked architects to vote for the one building that in their opinion defines building design, inspired them to become architects, or that they simply consider to be a stunning piece of architectural art.

“The Parthenon is the quintessential beautiful architectural form,” Tara Imani, founding architect of Tara Imani Designs said of the most famous surviving building of ancient Greece.

“The Doric order, the use of entasis (a slight curve in columns) to make sure the columns didn’t look spindly from a distance … the siting on a hilltop − it gave us our initial ABCs of architecture that we keep trying to use and improve upon today,” she wrote. 

The Parthenon, which stands proud on the Acropolis of Athens, is Greece’s most precious gem, representing the cradle of democracy and to this day considered one of the most famous buildings in the world.

Directed by the Athenian statesman Pericles, it was built by the architects Ictinus and Callicrates under the supervision of the sculptor Phidias. Work began in 447BC, and the building itself was completed by 438BC.

The Parthenon has stood atop the Acropolis of Athens for nearly 2,500 years and was built to give thanks to Athena, the city’s patron goddess, for the salvation of Athens and Greece in the Persian Wars. The same year, a great gold and ivory statue of Athena, made by Phidias for the interior, was dedicated.

It is the most copied building worldwide to date.