The Erechtheion is an ancient Greek temple on the north side of the Acropolis of Athens which was dedicated to both Athena and Poseidon.

The temple as seen today was built between 421 and 406 BCE. It may have been built in honor of the legendary king Erechtheus, who is said to have been buried nearby. Erechtheus was mentioned in Homer's Iliad as a great king and ruler of Athens during the Archaic Period, and Erechtheus and the hero Erichthonius were often syncretized. It is believed to have been a replacement for the Peisistratid temple of Athena Polias destroyed by the Persians in 480 BC.

The Erechtheion underwent extensive repairs and reformation for the first time during the 1st century B.C., after its catastrophic burning by the Roman general Sulla. The intact Erechtheum was extensively described by the Roman geographer Pausanias, writing a century after it had been restored in the 1st century AD. The building was altered decisively during the early Byzantine period, when it was transformed into a church dedicated to the Theometor. With this alteration many architectural features of the ancient construction were lost, so that our knowledge of the interior arrangement of the building is limited. It became a palace under Frankish rule and the residence of the Turkish commander's harem in the Ottoman period.

In 1800 one of the caryatids and the north column of the east porch together with the overlying section of the entablature were removed by Lord Elgin in order to decorate his Scottish mansion, and were later sold to the British Museum (along with the pedimental and frieze sculpture taken from the Parthenon). During the Greek War of Independence the building was bombarded by the Ottomans and severely damaged, the ceiling of the north porch was blown up and a large section of the lateral walls of the cella was dismantled. The Erechtheum went through a period of restoration from 1977 to 1988.

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Acropolis, Athens, Greece
See all sites in Athens

Details

Founded: 421-406 BCE
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Greece

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4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Harry Coole (15 months ago)
hip and cool I would recommend
John T.L Hulstine (16 months ago)
When I was here with my tour group last spring I found the Erechtheion to be an outstanding example of Classical Greek architecture, and I also found interest in how its a place of symbolic importance. The temple was dedicated to both Athena and Poseidon and in mythology they courted the Athenians favor with gifts. The Porch of the Caryatids is picturesque, though I should mention if you do visit you should see the Acropolis museum to see some of the original figures.
Tudor Uncescu (19 months ago)
One of Athens's symbols and a remarkable temple very well preserved. The view is great.
Matej Pavlić (19 months ago)
What an amazing edifice. The original cariatydes are in the Acropolis museum, but seeing copies in place of the originals is also pretty great! :D
pts pts (2 years ago)
Absolutely a must see site. Note the Olive tree in the spot Athena put the first one. Also- note the signs around it detailing the temples there.
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