The Temple of Olympian Zeus, Athens

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    Temple of Olympian Zeus
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    Temple of Olympian Zeus
    by didier06
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  • mallyak's Profile Photo

    Temple of olympian Zeus

    by mallyak Written Aug 22, 2008

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    The building of the Temple of Olympian Zeus actually began in the 6th Century by Peisistratos but work was stopped either because of a lack of money or because Pisistratus's son, Hippias, was overthrown in 510 BC. The temple was not finished until the Emperor Hadrian completed in 131 AD, seven hundred years later. There were other attempts to continue the building. The Classical Greeks (487-379)left it unfinished because they believed it was too big and symbolized the arrogance of people who believed they were equal to the Gods. During the Third Century when the Macedonians ruled Athens work was begun again by Antiochus the IV of Syria who wanted to build the world's largest temple and hired the Roman architect Cossotius to complete the job, but this ended when Antiochus died. In 86 BC, during Roman rule the general Sulla took two columns from the unfinished temple to Rome for the Temple of Jupiter on the Capitoline Hill which influenced the development of the Corinthian style in Rome.

    Originally there were 104 Corinthian columns of which only 15 remain standing. One of the columns actually blew down in a storm in 1852. Hadrian had erected a giant gold and ivory status of Zeus inside the temple with an equally large one of himself next to it. Nothing remains of these statues. It is not known when the temple of Zeus was destroyed but it probably came down in an earthquake during the mediaeval period. Like other ancient buildings much of it was taken away for building materials. In the early 1800s a stylite (a group of ascetics who spent long periods sitting or standing on top of pillars or columns. The word comes from the Greek stylos for column.) built his dwelling on top of one of the columns of the temple and it can be seen in early paintings and drawings.

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    Imagine of a coloseal temple!

    by mindcrime Updated May 12, 2013

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    the columns...
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    The Temple of Olympian Zeus is just behind the Arch of Hadrian from where you can see the ruins of the Temple. You can see it from here for free but you have to be close to it to "feel" the size of the temple. Especially in those times buildings like this were really large for the people that live in small houses and not big skyscrapers...

    It was the largest of the ancient greek temples but in our days is just one major tourist attraction. Although it started to built by Pisistratos back in the 6th century BC finally finished in 131AD, thanks to the money of Hadrian for one more time! :) In the area you can see 15 columns standing there but originally it had more than 100 corinthian columns.

    The entrance fee is 2 euro or you can just enter with the 12euro ticket for Acropolis (better option in any case because it includes other sites too)

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    Temple of Zeus Olympus

    by xaver Updated Jun 16, 2011

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    This temple is not far from Acropolis. During ellenic and roman periods this has been the biggest temple of Greece. It was built in marble and it was 96 meters long and 40 meters large, used to had 104 columns each of them 17 meters high, today only 15 of those columns still stand.The 16th column was hit by a lightening during a storm in 1852 and felt down, you can still see it in that position.

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    Temple of Olympian Zeus

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Updated Jul 23, 2008

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    Athens - Temple of Olympian Zeus
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    The Temple of Olympian Zeus (or Naos tou Olimpiou Dios), also known as the Olympieion, is a colossal ruined temple that was formerly dedicated to Zeus, king of the Olympian gods. Construction considered beginning in the VI-th century BC, but it was not completed until the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century AD. During the Roman periods it was renowned as the largest temple in Greece and housed one of the largest cult statues in the ancient world.

    You may watch my high resolution photo of Athens on the Google Earth according to the following coordinates 37º 58' 8.40" N 23º 44' 2.20" E or on my Google Earth Panoramio Temple of Olympian Zeus .

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    Athens - Temple of the Olympian Zeus

    by littlesam1 Updated Jun 11, 2007

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    Every guide book I read stated that The Temple of Olympian Zeus was the largets temple in Ancient Athens exceeding even The Parthenon in size. When I was on the Acropolis I saw the remains of this temple in the distance. When you walk to the temple and see it close up you do realize the magnitude of its size. There are only a few columns remaining, but the space the temple occupied is blocked out so you can realize the size. The temple was started in the year 515 BC but not completed until 132 AD. There were many attempts to complete it over the years. The columns are of Corinthian design. I have a close up of the top of one of the columns in the group of pictures with this tip.

    The admission is included in the price of the ticket for The Acropolis.

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    Olympieion

    by Lilasel Written Nov 13, 2004

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    The temple of Olympian Zeus, known as the Olympieion, has probably the longest history of all ancient temples: construction began under Peisistratos but remained unfinished despite the efforts for its completion in the Hellenistic period. Ultimately, it was completed by the Roman Emperor Hadrian in AD 130. To honour the emperor, the Athenians erected Hadrian's Gate, close to the temple, a triumphal arch under which the emperor passed at the celebratory inauguration of the temple in AD 131.

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    Temple of Olympian Zeus

    by Tom_Fields Updated Feb 11, 2010

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    The ruins of the great temple of Olympian Zeus
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    The tyrant Peisistratos began this great temple in about 515 BC. But he ran out of funds to complete it. So work ceased. But later Greeks continued it, only to run out of money, too. Finally, the Roman emperor Hadrian (who constructed the wall separating Roman Britain from present-day Scotland) completed the temple in 132 AD. So it took over six centuries to finish it. It has an inscription reading "This is Athens, the ancient city of Theseus", to which Hadrian added his own: "This is the city of Hadrian, not of Theseus".

    With 104 columns, each standing 56 feet high, this temple was even larger than the Parthenon. The ruins give some idea of how huge and impressive this temple must have been. It once had a huge statue of Zeus on his throne, said to be one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. It's still worth a visit.

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  • Jmill42's Profile Photo

    Temple of Zeus

    by Jmill42 Written Mar 16, 2004

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    View of the Temple of Zeus with the Acropolis

    This temple, which is a short walk east of the Acropolis, was the largest temple ever built in Greece. It was constructed under the emperor Hadrian in 131 AD. Sadly, only 15 of the original 104 columns remain. But, with a little extrapolation, you should be able to concieve just how big this temple would have been in its glory. It is worth the short walk from the Acropolis.

    It is included in the Acropolis ticket pack.

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    Truly enormous....but more to see.

    by leics Updated Apr 12, 2009

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    Loooming pillars
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    The Temple of Olympian Zeus is indeed massive, and must have been a magnificent and impressive sign of the power of ancient Athens.

    Building started around 600BC, but the temple was finally dedicated by Hadrian in 131AD. Originally there were 104 pillars but only 15 now remain. One was destroyed by an earthquake in 1852 and has been left as it fell, clearly showing how skillful the construction was.

    Stunning though the temple is, it is worth exploring further around the limits of the site. Part of it is not open to the public (it is stuffed with excavated and partially-excavated structures) but you can see a rather good set of Roman baths and the remains of various other buildings.

    Signage is not brilliant, but there are good-enough noticeboards explaining what you can see in Greek and English.

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  • Confucius's Profile Photo

    Temple of Godzeus! ("Bless you")

    by Confucius Updated Jun 15, 2006

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    The Temple of Zeus as seen from behind the fence

    I heard one English speaking Greek tour guide call this place the "Temple of Godzeus"
    There used to be 104 Corinthian columns when Roman ruler Hadrian completed it in 131 but today only 16 remain; 15 standing and one that fell down during a storm in 1852.
    In 2001, the temple was chosen by the Culture Minister as the controversial setting for the Mythodea musical extravaganza by Vangelis (the "Chariots of Fire" musician), as Athens celebrated the Mars Odyssey mission. Local archaeologists cringed while trucks and cranes transported equipment onto the 2,500-year-old temple site to set up a temporary amphitheatre, scaffolding and tents.
    It was believed that publicity from the event would boost the number of visitors to the Temple of Olympian Zeus, yet some tourists are still content to simply take photos through the fence.

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    Hadrian's Arch

    by Jmill42 Written Mar 16, 2004

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    Hadrian's Arch

    Being that Hadrian finished the Temple of Zeus, and the fact that emperors don't usually like to give all the glory to some other person, Hadrian built an arch near the entrance and named it after himself. It was under reconstruction when I was there, but you could still see how impressive the structure is from underneath the scaffolding.

    The arch is free to see, along your way to the Temple of Zeus.

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    Temple of Olympian Zeus

    by mypriority Written Jan 19, 2005

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    Temple of Olympian Zeus

    Built in 600 BC, Temple of Olympian Zeus is one of the largest temple in Greece. At its time, it must be magnificient (considering it was 2600 years ago!!!!!). It took them 700 years to build! Out of 104 columns, only 15 now remains. As you can see from the picture which was taken from Acropolis, nothing is really spectacular now.

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    Columns at the Temple of Olympian Zeus

    by belgrade03 Written Oct 18, 2003

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    The Temple of Olympian Zeus

    The Doric Temple was started in VIth century BC but was finished by the emperor Hadrian in IInd century BC. It had 3 rows of columns at the narrow ends and 2 on the long sides. The style of the columns is changed into Corinthian. Their size is breathtaking and how some of them are well preserved to this day. No cementum was used between them! They just stood on one another by their weight.

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    A "must see" part of ancient ruins

    by aquatic Written Apr 13, 2008

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    This temple is the largest in Greece. Yes, it is even bigger than Parthenon. You really need to involve your imagination to see how big it was when it was the whole structure... It is really impressive.
    The work on temple of Olympian Zeus begun in 6 century BC, but was not completed until 650 years later. Only 15 columns left out of 104. Each one is 17 meters high. You can see on my photo how small those people are comparing to the columns of the temple.

    After visiting this site you can continue further towards the olympic stadium, and then visit National Art Gallery.

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  • rcsparty's Profile Photo

    Temple of Zeus

    by rcsparty Written Sep 8, 2006

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    Construction on the Temple of Zeus started in the 6th century BC. It was finally finished 700 years later by the Roman Emperor Hadrian in 125AD. This is also an Athens must see. Of the original 104 columns that supported the temple, only 15 remain. However, those 15 make it easy to imagine how massive this temple was. Looking at the columns, you can almost imagine the huge gold/ivory statue of Zeus that was housed in the temple. It is impossible to really comprehend the size of the columns until you are standing next to them, so don't just observe from the fence.

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