Temple of Zeus- the most important information
The Temple of Zeus is one of the main landmarks of Athens and one of the many lovely ancient buildings in the country. This monumental structure is dedicated to the chief Greek deity, Zeus, the god of sky and thunder. Unfortunately, the Temple was partially destroyed, but it still remains one of the best examples of the Doric order in architecture.
History of Temple of Zeus
The construction of the Temple started during the 6th century BC, by order of Peisistratus and his sons. It was meant to be built out of limestone in Doric style. Unfortunately, after their rule, the constructions stopped for a while. And that while lasted for the next 336 years. In 174 BC, king Antiochus IV Epiphanes started the reconstruction of the Temple, replacing the limestone with marble. He made additional changes, adding the Corinthian order to the already existing Doric. For the second time, the work was stopped after the king's death. The next one to take care of the Temple of Zeus was Roman emperor Hadrian, in 125 BC. By his order, many statues of gods and Roman emperors were added to the interior of the building. But the main one was the chryselephantine statue of Zeus. The Temple was supported by 104 17-meter-high and 2-meter-diameter columns when the work was done. But unfortunate events followed its faith. More than once, this Temple has suffered demolitions. The largest ones occurred during the dominance of Christianity and in the time of Turkish occupation of the country. The 20th century brought the archeological excavations and researches that revealed what was left of it. Today, only 16 out of 104 columns can be seen, one of them lying on the ground.
Tickets and Opening Hours
- Opening hours - Opening hours depend on the period of the year. From April to October working hours are from 8 AM to 7 PM. From November to March they switch from 8 AM to 3.30 PM. If you are visiting the Temple in the summer, keep in mind that you will be exposed to the sun, so choose morning or evening for that purpose, the temperatures will be a bit lower, and the sun on the marble won’t bother you much.
- Tickets - Regular ticket price is € 6, and the reduced ticket price is € 3. Visitors up to age 25 from EU countries don’t have to pay the entrance fee.
How to get to the Temple of Zeus?
The Temple of Olympian Zeus is located in the heart of Athens, and it can be reached easily.
- On foot - The Temple can be reached in about 10 minutes from Syntagma metro station.
- By metro: The closest metro station is Acropolis on line 2. After that, you’ll need a short walk to get to the Temple.
Temple of Zeus trivia
- The Temple is part of the Acropolis. This means there are many other attractions worth visiting while here.
- The Temple of Olympian Zeus was destroyed by a storm and an earthquake in 1852.
- The famous statue of Zeus that was here doesn’t exist anymore.
- During the reconstruction in 174BC, the Corinthian order was used for the first time ever for the exterior decoration of a temple.
- The Stylite monks lived in the Temple of Olympian Zeus during the 19th century.
- In 2001, Vangelis organized the Mythodea Chorus at the Temple of Olympian Zeus, during NASA’s Mars mission.