Temple of Olympian Zeus

Athens, Greece

The Temple of Olympian Zeus is a former colossal temple at the centre Athens. It was dedicated to Olympian Zeus, a name originating from his position as head of the Olympian gods. Construction began in the 6th century BC (around 520 BC) during the rule of the Athenian tyrants, who envisaged building the greatest temple in the ancient world, but it was not completed until the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century AD, some 638 years after the project had begun. During the Roman period the temple -that included 104 colossal columns- was renowned as the largest temple in Greece and housed one of the largest cult statues in the ancient world.

The temple's glory was short-lived, as it fell into disuse after being pillaged during a barbarian invasion in the 3rd century AD, just about a century after its completion. It was probably never repaired and was reduced to ruins thereafter. In the centuries after the fall of the Roman Empire, it was extensively quarried for building materials to supply building projects elsewhere in the city. Despite this, a substantial part of the temple remains today, notably sixteen of the original gigantic columns, and it continues to be part of a very important archaeological site of Greece.

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Founded: 520 BC
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Greece

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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Ioannis Paisis (15 months ago)
The ruins of one the most important ancient temple. It was the largest temple of Greek and Roman period. It is located only a few hundred meters of Acropolis in a peaceful place very close to the city center.
Santiago (16 months ago)
These were the first ruins I visited in Athens and I was a little bit disappointed, as there is not much to see, but a few standing columns of what in other times should have been a monumental building. My advice is not to pay a separate entrance for this place. You see practically the same from outside and it looks really great from above (see picture). The good news is that if you buy the combined ticket for the Acropolis (which is really worthy), you will gain access to these ruins as well, so you won't miss anything, if you want to take a closer look or pictures.
Laurent Brack (16 months ago)
This is worth visiting if you have the multi site ticket (30 euros) as the columns are gigantic. That's pretty much it. If you do not have that ticket, I suggest you just appreciate them from outside the fence since, considering their sizes, you will still have a good impression.
Lise Galuga (16 months ago)
Much bigger in person than the photos let on... The site can be seen from beyond the fence, but to appreciate the scale it's worth going in. This site is included in the Athens pass if you've purchased it. Very impressive. Count on at least 30 minutes to visit. As a bonus, you have a very nice view of the Acropolis from here.
Jason Miller (16 months ago)
Great place to start your tour of Athenian ruins. Build up to acropolis later in the day. Good ideas to buy your tickets here, or anywhere other than the acropolis ticket office. It was quiet when we arrived here about 10:30am. The columns are imposing and you get some nice pics and feel the enormity of the ancient structure
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