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Athens Temples, Monuments and Historical Archaeological Sites

 

 

 

Temple of Olympian Zeus, Athens - Joy of Museum - 2

Athens Temples, Monuments and Historical Archaeological Sites

A Tour of the Top Athens Temples, Monuments and Historical Archaeological Sites

  • Temple of Olympian Zeus, Athens
  • Corinthian Columns of Temple of Olympian Zeus
  • Ancient Agora of Athens
  • Map of the Ancient Agora of Athens
  • Stoa of Attalos
  • Aristotle’s Lyceum
  • Temple of Hephaestus
  • Roman Agora, Athens
  • Roman Baths in Athens
  • Temple of Poseidon at Sounion

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Temple of Olympian Zeus, Athens

Temple of Olympian Zeus, Athens - Joy of Museum

Temple of Olympian Zeus, Athens

Temple of Olympian Zeus, also known as the Olympieion, is a former temple in Athens. The temple was dedicated to “Olympian” Zeus, a name signifying his place as head of the Olympian gods. Construction began in the 6th century BC under Ancient Greek rule. Still, it was not completed until the 2nd century AD in the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian, 638 years after the project had begun.

During the Roman period, the temple had 104 columns and was renowned as the largest temple in Greece and housed one of the largest cult statues in the ancient world. The temple was pillaged during barbarian invasions in the 3rd century AD, just about a century after its completion. It was finally reduced to ruins in the centuries after the fall of the Roman Empire and was quarried for building materials for construction projects elsewhere in the city. Today sixteen of the original gigantic columns have survived, and the site is part of an ongoing archaeological project.

Corinthian Columns of Temple of Olympian Zeus

Corinthian Columns of Temple of Olympian Zeus

The Corinthian Columns of Temple of Olympian Zeus stand 17 m (55.5 feet) high and 2 m (6.5 ft) in diameter. The Temple was made of high-quality Pentelic marble; it was the first time that Corinthian Columns had been used on the exterior of a major temple. The design was for three rows of eight columns across the front and back of the temple and a double row of twenty on the flanks, for a total of 104 columns.

Corinthian Order

The Corinthian style for Columns and Capitals was the last development of the three classical orders of ancient Greek architecture. The other two forms of columns are Doric, which was the earliest, followed by the Ionic order. Corinthian is the most ornate style. This architectural style is characterized by slender fluted columns and elaborate capitals decorated with acanthus leaves and scrolls. The name Corinthian is derived from the ancient Greek city of Corinth.

Classical Order

From Ancient Greek civilization, the architectural orders are the styles of classical architecture, each distinguished by its proportions and profiles and most readily recognizable by the type of column employed. The three orders of architecture—the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian—originated in Greece. To these, the Romans added, in practice if not in name, the Tuscan, which they made simpler than Doric, and the Composite, which was more ornamental than the Corinthian.

Whereas the orders were primarily structural in Ancient Greek architecture, which made little use of the arch until its late period, in Roman architecture where the arch was often dominant, the orders became increasingly decorative elements except in porticos and similar uses. Columns shrank into half-columns emerging from walls or turned into pilasters. Greek Revival architecture, inspired by increasing knowledge of Greek originals, returned to more authentic models.

Corinthian Columns of Temple of Olympian Zeus

The orders of architecture, the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian

Temple of Olympian Zeus, Athens

Temple of Olympian Zeus, also known as the Olympieion, is a former temple in Athens. It was dedicated to “Olympian” Zeus, a name signifying his place as head of the Olympian gods. Construction began in the 6th century BC under Ancient Greek rule. Still, it was not completed until the 2nd century AD in the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian, 638 years after the project had begun.

During the Roman period, the temple had 104 columns and was renowned as the largest temple in Greece and housed one of the largest cult statues in the ancient world. The temple was pillaged during barbarian invasions in the 3rd century AD, just about a century after its completion. It was finally reduced to ruins in the centuries after the fall of the Roman Empire and was quarried for building materials for construction projects elsewhere in the city. Today sixteen of the original gigantic columns have survived, and the site is part of an ongoing archaeological project.

Corinthian Columns of Temple of Olympian Zeus

  • Name:       Corinthian Columns of Temple of Olympian Zeus
  • Date:          6th century BC to 2nd century AD
  • Material:     Marble

Temple of Olympian Zeus, Athens

  • Name:                    Temple of Olympian Zeus, Athens
  • Greek:                    Ναός του Ολυμπίου Διός
  • Alternate name:     Archaeological Site of Olympieion
  • Started:                  Early 6th century
  • City:                        Athens
  • Country:                 Greece
  • Location:                Athens, Attica, Greece

Map of Temple of Olympian Zeus, Athens

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Ancient Agora of Athens

Ancient Agora of Athens - Joy of Museum

Ancient Agora of Athens

The Ancient Agora of ancient Classical Athens is the best-known example of an ancient Greek Agora, located to the northwest of the Acropolis. The Agora’s initial purpose was for a commercial assembly and public gathering place.

The Ancient Athenian Agora has been excavated by the American School of Classical Studies at Athens since 1931 and continues to the present day. In the 1950s, the Hellenistic Stoa of Attalos was reconstructed on the east side of the agora, and today it serves as a museum and as storage and office space for the excavation team.

Map of the Ancient Agora of Athens

Map of the Ancient Agora of Athens

Map of the Ancient Agora of Athens

Buildings and Structures of the Classical Agora

  • Peristyle Court
  • Mint
  • Enneakrounos
  • South Stoa
  • Aiakeion
  • Strategeion
  • Agoraios Kolonos
  • Tholos
  • Monument of the Eponymous Heroes
  • Metroon
  • New Bouleuterion
  • Temple of Hephaestus (Hephaestion)
  • Temple of Apollo Patroos
  • Stoa of Zeus
  • Altar of the Twelve Gods
  • Stoa Basileios (Royal stoa)
  • Temple of Aphrodite Urania
  • Stoa of Hermes
  • Stoa Poikile

Ancient Agora of Athens

  • Name:                   Ancient Agora of Athens
  • Greek:                   Αρχαία Αγορά της Αθήνας
  • Alternate name:    Forum of Athens
  • Founded:               6th century BC
  • Excavation:           1931
  • City:                       Athens
  • Country:                Greece
  • Location:               Athens, Attica, Greece

Map of the Ancient Agora of Athens

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Stoa of Attalos

Stoa of Attalos

Stoa of Attalos – Ancient world’s equivalent of today’s Shopping Center

The Stoa of Attalos is located in the Ancient Agora of Athens, Greece. A Stoa in ancient Greek architecture is a covered walkway or portico for public use. An inscription engraved on the architrave states that Attalos II built it. He was the ruler of Pergamon from 159 BC to 138 BC. The stoa is identified as a gift to the city of Athens for the education that Attalos received there. The Stoa of Attalos was in frequent use until it was destroyed in 267 AD. Then the ruins of the Stoa became part of a fortification wall of Athens. In 1952-1956, the Stoa was entirely reconstructed to house the Ancient Agora Museum. The reconstruction is particularly important in the study of ancient monuments because it is a faithful replica of the original building.

Typical of the Hellenistic age, the Stoa of Attalos was more elaborate and more substantial than the earlier buildings of ancient Athens. The Doric order was used for the exterior colonnade on the ground floor. The Ionic order of columns was used for the interior colonnade. This combination had been used in stoas since the Classical period and was by Hellenistic times quite common.

What is a Stoa in ancient Greece?

A Stoa in Ancient Greek architecture, was a covered walkway or patio, for public use. Stoas usually surrounded the marketplaces (agora) of cities where merchants could sell their goods, and artists could display their artwork. Also, the facility was used for religious and civic gatherings. Stoas usually surrounded the marketplaces or agora of large cities.

It was the ancient world’s equivalent of today’s Shopping Center.

Stoa of Attalos

On the first floor of this building, the exterior colonnade was Ionic and the interior Pergamene. Each story had two aisles and twenty-one rooms lining the western wall. The rooms of both stories were lighted and vented through doorways and small windows on the back wall. The stoa’s dimensions are 115 by 20 meters (377 by 66 ft), and it is made of Pentelic marble and limestone. The building skillfully makes use of different architectural orders. The structure is similar in its basic design to the Stoa that Attalos’ brother and predecessor as king, Eumenes II, had erected on the south slope of the Acropolis next to the theater of Dionysus.

The signing ceremony of the 2003 Treaty of Accession of countries to the European Union was conducted in the Stoa of Attalos. The states that joined the EU at this time were Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia.

The Stoa of Attalos houses the Museum of the Ancient Agora. The museum’s exhibits include artifacts connected to the Athenian democracy and collections of clay, bronze and glass objects, sculptures, coins, and inscriptions from the 7th to the 5th century BC, as well as pottery of the Byzantine period and the Turkish conquest.

Stoa of Attalos

Attalus II Philadelphus

Attalus II Philadelphus (220–138 BC) was a King of Pergamon and the founder of modern-day Turkish city Antalya. He was well known as a patron of the arts and sciences. Attalus II also made frequent diplomatic visits to Rome and sent numerous envoys gaining the esteem of the Romans.

Pergamon

Pergamon was a rich and powerful ancient Greek city in the western region of Asia Minor, 26 kilometers (16 mi) from the modern coastline of the Aegean Sea, opposite the island of Lesvos and northwest of the modern city of Bergama, Turkey. During the Hellenistic period, it became the capital of the Kingdom of Pergamon, which became one of the important cultural centers of the Greek world. Remains of its impressive monuments can still be seen and especially the outstanding masterpiece of the Pergamon Altar.  The Pergamon Altar can be seen at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin. Pergamon was the northernmost of the seven churches of Asia cited in the New Testament Book of Revelation.

Stoa of Attalos

  • Name:                Stoa of Attalos
  • Date:                  130 BC
  • Dimensions:      115 by 20 meters (377 by 66 ft)
  • Material:            Pentelic marble and limestone
  • City:                    Athens
  • Country:             Greece
  • Location:            Athens, Attica, Greece

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Aristotle’s Lyceum

Aristotle’s Lyceum

Aristotle’s Lyceum

Aristotle’s Lyceum was a temple dedicated to Apollo Lyceus and was best known for the Peripatetic school of philosophy founded there by Aristotle in 335 BCE. Aristotle fled Athens in 323 BCE, but the school continued to function until the Romans destroyed it during his assault on Athens in 86 BCE. The remains of the Lyceum were discovered in modern Athens in 1996 in a park behind the Hellenic Parliament.

The Lyceum had been used for philosophical debate before Aristotle. Several early philosophers had spoken at the Lyceum, the most famous philosophers to teach there were Isocrates, Plato, and Socrates. In addition to military training and educational pursuits, the Lyceum also housed Athenian Assembly meetings before the Pnyx became the official meeting place in the 5th century BCE.

Aristotle’s Lyceum

  • Name:             Aristotle’s Lyceum
  • Greek:             Αρχαιολογικός χώρος Λυκείου Αριστοτέλη
  • Established:     335 BCE
  • City:                 Athens
  • Country:          Greece
  • Location:         Rigillis 11, Athina, Greece

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Temple of Hephaestus

Temple of Hephaestus - Joy of Museum

Temple of Hephaestus

The Temple of Hephaestus or Hephaisteion is a Greek temple that remains preserved mostly as built. It is a Doric temple located at the north-west side of the Agora of Athens on top of a hill. The temple is named in honor of Hephaestus, who was the patron god of metalworking, craftsmanship, and fire. Construction started in 449 BCE, and after significant funding delays, the temple was officially completed and inaugurated in 416–415 BC.

Around AD 700, the temple was turned into a Christian church, dedicated to Saint George. As a Christian church, the building’s condition has been maintained, which accounts for why this temple is one of the best-preserved temples from Ancient Classical Greece. The last Divine Liturgy in the temple took place in 1833, during the celebrations for the arrival of King Otto in Greece.

Temple of Hephaestus

  • Name:        Temple of Hephaestus
  • Greek:        Ναός του Ηφαίστου
  • Built:          Starting in 449 BCE
  • City:            Athens
  • Country:     Greece
  • Location:    Athens, Greece

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Roman Agora, Athens

Roman Agora, Athens - Joy of Museum

Roman Agora, Athens

Roman Agora at Athens is located to the north of the Acropolis and to the east of the Ancient Agora of Athens. The original Agora of Athens became crowded out with Roman imperial buildings, and this Roman Agora was built as a political and commercial space.

Buildings and Structures of the Roman Agora, Athens

  • Tower of the Winds
  • Gate of Athena Archegetis
  • East Propylon
  • Fethiye Mosque

Roman Agora, Athens

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Roman Baths in Athens

Roman Baths in Athens - Joy of Museum

Roman Baths in Athens

The Roman Baths in Athens is an archaeological site by the National Gardens and along Amalias Avenue, in Athens. The baths were built at the end of the third century AD. They were located outside the city walls before the walls were extended under Hadrian. The original site was selected because it had running waters and vegetation and had become a principal place of worship for many deities. The Roman Baths were built in the late third to the early fourth century and were repaired and expanded in the fifth and sixth centuries.

The bathhouse was rediscovered during excavations for the construction of an airshaft for the Athens Metro. The bathhouse was well preserved, so an archaeological site was established for its preservation in its original place, and the airshaft was moved elsewhere. The bathhouse was conserved and made accessible to the public in 2004.

Roman Baths in Athens

  • Name:        Roman Baths in Athens
  • Alternative:  Roman Baths By The Zappeion
  • Built:          3rd century AD
  • City:            Athens
  • Country:     Greece
  • Location:   Leoforos Vasilisis Amalias 405, Athina, Greece

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Temple of Poseidon at Sounion

Temple of Poseidon at Sounion - Joy of Museum

Temple of Poseidon at Sounion

The Ancient Greek temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion is one of the significant monuments of the Golden Age of Athens. It is perched high above the sea and was built on the ruins of a temple dating from the Archaic period. As with all Greek temples, the Poseidon building was rectangular, with a colonnade on all four sides.

The design of the temple had 38 Doric columns, of which 16 have survived and are standing today. The temple closely resembles the contemporary and well-preserved Temple of Hephaestus beneath the Acropolis. At the center of the temple would have been the hall of worship, a windowless rectangular room, which would have contained the cult image, a colossal bronze statue of Poseidon.

Temple of Poseidon at Sounion

  • Name:        Temple of Poseidon at Sounion
  • Greek:        Ναός Ποσειδώνος
  • Built:          444–440 BC
  • City:            Athens
  • Country:     Greece
  • Location:    Cape Sounio, Greece

Quotes From Greek Philosophers

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“Quality is not an act; it is a habit.”
– Aristotle

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“Everything flows, and nothing abides, everything gives way, and nothing stays fixed.”
– Heraclitus

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“Control thy passions lest they take vengeance on thee.”
– Epictetus

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“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”
– Socrates

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“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”
– Pericles

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“Nothing in the affairs of men is worthy of great anxiety.”
– Plato

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“Know how to listen, and you will profit even from those who talk badly.”
– Plutarch

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“There are two things a person should never be angry at, what they can help, and what they cannot.”
– Plato

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“He is a drunkard who takes more than three glasses though he is not drunk.”
–  Epictetus

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“Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises.”
– Demosthenes

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“It is frequently a misfortune to have very brilliant men in charge of affairs. They expect too much of ordinary men.”
–  Thucydides

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“History is philosophy teaching by examples.”
– Thucydides

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“You don’t develop courage by being happy in your relationships every day. You develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.”
– Epicurus

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“Time is the wisest counselor of all.”
– Pericles

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Photo Credit: JOM ; No machine-readable author provided. Marsyas assumed (based on copyright claims). [CC BY-SA 2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)]; A.Savin (Wikimedia Commons · WikiPhotoSpace) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]

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