The Propylaia, famous already in antiquity for its brilliant coffered ceilings and the unique design of the monumental entrance to the sanctuary of Athena, was a work of the architect Mnesikles (437-432 B.C.). It consists of a central building with two six-columned Doric porticoes east and west and two Ionic colonnades in the interior, framed at the north and south by two wings with porches in the Doric order. The outbreak of the Peloponnesian War meant that the final work on the surfaces of the monument was never completed. The destruction of most of the superstructure of the central building during the years 1640-1830 , after the explosion of gunpowder that was stored in the monument by the Turks, has led to a gradual loss of authentic building material, so that until now no more than one fifth of it had been recognised.
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