Best Ancient Temples to Visit While in Greece
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Greece is famous for mythology that has evolved into wonderful sites of attraction. Many of the ancient temples throughout Greece have a background in mythology, making them even more fascinating to visit and learn about. Here are some of the ancient temples that you can visit while spending time in Greece.
Located in Athens, the Temple of Olympian Zeus dates back to ancient times. Today, some of the temple remains standing and is a good addition to any sightseeing tour of the city. The Temple of Olympian Zeus is located close to the Acropolis, making it an ideal pit stop if you are visiting the historical area. To get an accurate history of the Temple of Olympian Zeus, you can take a guided tour of this site as well as others in the area.
Zeus was an important figure in Greece. In Greek mythology, he is the god of the sky and considered the protector, ruler, and father of all gods and humans. Zeus is the chief figure in Greek mythology.
Also in Athens, the Parthenon was completed around 438 BC. Parthenon means “virgin’s place,” which is in reference the goddess Athena. Athena is the patron goddess of Ancient Athens. The Parthenon dominates the Acropolis, which is the centerpiece of Athens.
The beginning of the day as well as the end of the day are the best times to visit the Parthenon as both crowds and the sun will be low. The walk up to the Parthenon takes about twenty minutes. Not only is the Parthenon itself an impressive structure, but the surrounding view is beautiful as well.
Built around 450 BC, the Temple of Hephaestus is located in Athens on Agoreos Koronos Hill. Hephaestus is the ancient god of fire who the temple is dedicated to. The temple is also dedicated to Athena, the goddess of pottery and crafts.
While you can only explore the Temple of Hephaestus from the outside, it is well-worth a visit as it remains in good condition. To get a more detailed history of the temple, you may wish to take a group tour or a private tour. You can also explore the area on your own, which is ideal if you want to take your time and include nearby attractions such as the Ancient Agora and Stoa of Attalos in your visit.
Erechtheion is a temple with an interesting story. This temple was dedicated to both Poseidon and Athena. Both figures wanted to be named god or goddess of the city of Athens and competed for the title. Whoever offered the most valuable gift to the city, would be awarded the title. Athena’s gift of an olive tree and Poseidon’s gift of water were considered equally valuable and thus they were both honored.
The Temple of Erechtheion was built around 426 BC and was named after Erichthonius, who was a hero of Athens. Located at the Acropolis, the Temple of Erechtheion is easily passed over, but its history and architecture make it worth exploring.
The Temple of Poseidon is located at Cape Sounion, a rocky cliff that leads into the sea, just 45 miles southeast of modern Athens. Built around 440BC, the temple originally consisted of 34 Doric columns, 6 of these creating the porches on each end. These columns are impressive measuring at 3 feet thick and 20 feet tall. The temple is made of white marble that was gathered locally. Back in the day, the Temple of Poseidon would have looked like the Temple of Hephaestus. If you visit the temple on a clear day, you’ll be able to see Kythnos and Kea.
While in Greece, you don’t want to miss the chance to visit these ancient temples. They’re a fascinating glimpse into the past.
This post was written by Greek Boston