The temple was the most widespread and most important type of building in ancient Greece. Some of the first stone temples first appeared in the early 6th century before Christ. The following century they were present in almost every bigger city in ancient Greece.
Ancient temples in Greece weren’t a place of worship, at least not in the sense of classic churches. They were more like monuments dedicated to the gods. The massive columns were and still are their most distinctive feature; at least the ones still standing.
Here is a list of some of the best-preserved ancient temples in Greece. Each of them is special in its way, and each has a unique history.
Temple of Olympia Zeus
Even though they’re only just a few columns that have remained, it doesn’t take too much thought to imagine how grandiose this temple was. Its construction started at the beginning of the 6th century before Christ and finished almost 700 hundred years later in 2nd century AD. The temple was started by the ancient Greeks but was completed under the reign of the Romans.
The Temple of Erechtheum
This temple is dedicated to a Greek hero named Erichthonius and is located in Athens, on the north side of the Acropolis. The most distinctive part about the temple of Erechtheum is the front part, which is supported by a total of six female figures. In ancient Greece, they were known as the Caryatids.
Temple of Hephaestus
This is by far the most preserved Greek temples worldwide. The temple is made in honor of Hephaestus, who was the god of craftsmanship and metal-working. The Temple of Hephaestus is located in Athens. It was designed by Ictinus, who is also one of the designers that worked on the Parthenon.
Temple of Apollo Epicurius
The temple is located on a mountain in the Peloponnese. It is not the typical Greek temple as it is aligned north-south, not east-west as most others are. The temple was built sometime from 450 to 400 BC. Currently, the temple is covered in a tent so that its walls are protected from the elements.
The Parthenon is Athen’s most famous landmark and a temple that attracts millions of tourists each year. Its construction began around 447 BC. It was built as a direct replacement of the old one which was brought to rubbles by the Persians. The temple was finished in 432 BC.
One of the primary purposes of Parthenon was to be the home of a massive statue of the goddess Athena. However, at some point during the 5th century, the Parthenon was looted by one of the Roman emperors. The statue which was made from gold, silver, and ivory, was then taken in Constantinople where it was later destroyed.
Throughout time, the Parthenon was also used as a church, a fortress, a powder magazine, and even a mosque. If you ever visit Athens, you can see it overlooking the city.