Photo By Peter Watts
Temple of Olympian Zeus

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Temple of Olympian Zeus - PHOTOGRAPHER COMMENT

Panorama showing the Temple of Olympian Zeus in Athens. This picture was taken in June 2015.

Temple of Olympian Zeus - FURTHER INFORMATION

Temple of Olympian Zeus - Athens visitor guide showing a virtual tour of 'Temple of Olympian Zeus' linked to an interactive map with local and travel information. 360° panoramas from Attica.

The Temple of Olympian Zeus (Ναός του Ολυμπίου Διός) is also known as the Olympieion or Columns of the Olympian Zeus. Standing in the centre of Athens not far from the Acropolis, the temple measured 96 m long and 40 m wide. It was the largest temple in Greece, though it took several hundred years to complete. Finished by the Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century AD, the final structure contained 104 Corinthian columns, each 17 meters high. Forty eight of these stood in triple rows under the pediments at either end and 56 in double rows at the sides. In the cella (inner temple), Hadrian erected a massive Chryselephantine sculpture (built of wood and covered with ivory slabs overlaid with gold) of Zeus, the largest cult statue in the ancient world at the time. Outside, the Athenians raised an equally colossal statue of Hadrian.

Today, only 15 columns remain standing, much of the rest re-used over the centuries for other buildings like churches.

In all, the temple had taken nearly 640 years to build. The work started in 515 BC by the tyrant Pisistratus but stopped 5 years later when his son was overthrown. Work restarted 200 years later under Hellenistic king Antiochus IV of Syria who hired the Roman architect Cossutius to design the largest temple in the known world. In 164 BC Antiochus died and construction once again ground to a halt.

The situation actually got worse in 86 BC after the Romans captured Athens and 2 of the columns were removed and taken to the Temple of Jupiter on the Capitoline Hill in the Roman Forum in Rome. Then in the second century AD the emperor Hadrian finally undertook to complete the structure, finishing the work between 129 and 131 AD.

About 130 years later the temple was badly damaged during the Herulian sack of Athens in 267. It was never repaired thereafter and by the 15th century only 21 of the original 104 columns remained.


Temple of Olympian Zeus
Leoforos Vas. Olgas and Amalias,


Bus: Leof. Vasilissis Olgas (20)
Metro: Acropoli

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