10 Ancient Greek Temples You Must See

 Ancient Greek Temples, Athenian Acropolis
Sun over Parthenon, Athenian Acropolis. Credit: Mstyslav Chernov/CC BY-SA 3.0

In ancient Greece, temples were an important part of daily life and served as monuments dedicated to the beloved gods and goddesses. Many important ancient temples are located in Greece and other countries, such as Italy, which were then part of the ancient Greek world.

Let’s see the ten Greek temples that you cannot miss

Parthenon, Acropolis

The Parthenon, located on the top of the Acropolis, is dedicated to Athena, goddess of wisdom and patron goddess of Athens. The Parthenon was built in the mid 5th century BC and was originally constructed to replace an older temple that was destroyed by the Persians. The statue of Athena, which stood in the temple, was made from ivory, silver and gold but was stolen and later destroyed.

Ancient Greek temple of Parthenon
Parthenon (east side) Credit: wallyg/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Valley of the Temples

The Valley of the Temples is located in Sicily, Italy, and has some the most outstanding examples of Greek architecture. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and includes temples dedicated to Concordia, Juno and Heracles.

Ancient Greek Temple of Concordia
Temple of Concordia – Agrigento, Italy. Credit: Public Domain

Temple of Hephaestus

The Temple of Hephaestus, dedicated to the god of metal-working and craftsmanship, is located in Athens, Greece. The temple was designed by Ictinus, one of the Parthenon’s architects. The Temple of Hephaestus is the best-preserved ancient Greek temple in the world.

The Temple of Hephaistos
The Temple of Hephaistos in Athens. Credit: Following Hadrian/CC BY-SA 2.0

Paestum

Paestum, an ancient Greek city located in Southern Italy, contains three well-preserved Greek temples. Two of the three were dedicated to Hera, goddess of marriage and childbirth, while the third one, located apart from the temples of Hera, was dedicated to Athena.

Temple of Hera
Temple of Hera, Paestum (Poseidonia) Italy. Credit: Norbert Nagel/CC BY-SA 3.0

Doric Temple of Segesta

The temple is situated in the northwestern part of Sicily, Italy. The Doric Temple of Segesta was constructed in the 5th century BC. However, it appears that the temple was never actually finished as tabs that might have been used as lifting blocks still remain in the blocks of the base.

Segesta Italy
The Doric temple of Segesta, Italy Credit: Anna & Michal/CC BY-SA 2.0

Temple of Apollo Epicurius

The Temple of Apollo Epicurius is located in the Peloponnese, southern Greece, on the archaeological site Bassae. It is not a typical example of ancient Greek temple as it is aligned north-south rather than the standard east-west due to the limited space on the steep mountain. The temple is 1,131 metres above sea level on the slopes of Kotylion Mountain.

Ancient Greek Temple of Epikourios
Temple of Epikourios Apollon, Bassae. Credit: Credit: egonwegh/CC BY-NC 2.0

Erechtheum

The Erechtheum, located on the north side of the Acropolis in Athens, is dedicated to the Greek hero Erichthonius. The most famous aspect of the temple is the part supported by the six Caryatids.

Ancient Greek Temple of Erechtheum
Erechtheum Acropolis, Athens. Credit: Public Domain

Temple of Zeus in Cyrene

The Temple of Zeus in Cyrene is located in Libya and was built in the 5th century BC. The temple has been destroyed and re-built multiple times. I was destroyed in 115 AD during a Jewish rebellion and restored five years later under Roman order. The temple was again destroyed by an earthquake in 365 AD and restored in the contemporary era by British and Italian archaeologists.

Ancient Greek Temple of Zeus
Temple of Zeus in Cyrene. Credit: Sebastià Giralt/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Temple of Poseidon

The Temple of Poseidon is situated in Sounion, on the tip of the Attica peninsula, and is surrounded by sea. It has many similarities to the Temple of Hephaestus, suggesting that it was possibly built by the same architect.

Ancient Greek Temple of Poseidon, Greece
Temple of Poseidon situated at Cape Sunio.Credit: mendhak/CC BY-SA 2.0

Temple of Olympian Zeus

The Temple of Olympian Zeus, located in central Athens, is a colossal ruined temple that was dedicated to Zeus. Its construction began in the 6th century BC but was not completed until the 2nd century AD. It was considered the largest and most impressive temple in Greece but today only a fragment remains.

Ancient Temple of Olympian Zeus, Greece
Temple of Olympian Zeus. Credit: wallyg/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


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