The Theseion is a small 13.7 x 31.8 m temple, all made in marble, located on Agoraios Kolonos hill and it overlooks the ancient agora: though small it’s believed to be the best preserved of all the ancient Greek temples.
The temple, which was built in Doric Style between 449 and415 has two names: Theseion and Hephaisteion. Some sources claim that it was called Theseion because that’s where the bones of Theseus had been laid. When the French consul Fauvel decided to dig the bones out in the 18th century, he was in for a surprise: he found bones but they belonged to a British traveler named John Tweddell.
Hephaisteion, instead, means that the temple was dedicated to Hephaestus, the patron of metalworking – and we know that originally housed two statues – that of Athena and that Hephaestus – so one has to presume that the correct name for the temple is Hephaisteion.
The temple, eventually, fell into decline and in the 7th century it was turned into a Christian church: the Greek Orthodox church of St. George Akamates. It was only in 1834 that it was decided that the temple had to be preserved as an historical building and – after restoration - it was again “handed it over” to locals and visitors from all over the world.
While I was on the top of the Acropolis I noticed a beautiful temple in the distance. It appeared to be in much better repair than The Parthenon. I took a picture from the Acropolis which is posted in this group of pictures here. I found out that is was the Temple of Hephaestus and Athena located in the Ancient Agora. I did not realize it was just a few steps from my hotel until later. My hotel was located in The Thission, which is also the area of the Ancient Agora. Filled with local bars and restaurants The Thission area is a hidden treasure that most tourist don't know about.
The ticket I purchased to enter The Acropolis also allowed entrance to the Ancient Agora.
The temple is one of the best preserved monuments in Athens. It is located in the ancient Agora below the Akropolis and is easily seen from the Akropolis. It was built in the 5th century BC and was dedicated to both Hephaistos and Athena.
The Temple of Hephaestus (Hephaisteion) is situated on the Ancient Agora. It is claimed that this is one of the most well-preserved ancient temples and I tend to agree: unlike the rest, this one has its roof intact and you do not have to strain your imagination to reconstruct it from a base rising 50 cm from the ground.
The impression from a classical temple is quite different when it has its roof on, because the inner sanctuary where the statue of the god used to be remains in the semi-dark. The contrast between the glaring sunlight and the cool darkness inside must have added a lot to the way the ancients have experienced the divine presence.
This small temple (if you enlarge the picture you'll be able to see it better) was built in 449 B.C. but looks intact. At 1st it was believed to be the Temple to Thoseus, but now it's certain that it was built to Hephaestos and Athena.
The temple was also used as a church dedicated to Saint George, known as Saint George the Lazy because it was only open 1 day of the year.
The place is surrounded by cafés, restaurants and streets turned into walkways with trees and flowers.
The temple, known as the Theseion, is Doric and peripheral with a pronaos and opisthodomos. It crowns the hill of Kolonos Agoraios and is the most prominent and better preserved monument of the Agora.
The temple was dedicated to two gods, Hephaistos and Athena, whose bronze cult statues stood in the interior. It has also been proposed that the temple was dedicated to Eukleia (Artemis). The temple was richly decorated. The construction of the Hephaisteion started in 449 BC. Planting pits dating from the 3rd century BC show that the temple grounds were fully landscaped. In the 7th century AD it was converted to a Christian church.
The plan has a distinctive arrangement, the east porch being aligned with the third columns on the flanks. As in the Parthenon, over the porch the Doric frieze is replaced by a continuous Ionic frieze. The architrave, more suitably, has a continuous moulding at the top, rather than regulae and guttae. The building is almost wholly of Pentelic marble, except the lowest of the three steps, which is limestone. This is the only temple left in Greece that still has a roof.
The Temple of Hephaistos is one of the best kept temples of Ancient Greek history. It built between 450 and 440 B.C. and is situated at the westside of the Ancient Agora, at the highest point of the area. The temple is also called Theseion, named of Theseus, but the temple really is dedicated to Hephaistos, God of pottery and smithy.
What makes this temple this special is the fact that is has survived all wars and rebellions in Athens throughout the centuries. Its transformation into a christian church in the 5th century A.D. could be removed very well in the 20th century.
The construction of the Temple of Hephaistos isn´t as perfect as its bigger brother, the Parthenon. There is no perspective used in the construction of the pillars and the sizes aren´t as perfect. But still it´s an impressive building. Architect of this temple probably was designed by the same architect as the Poseidon-temple at Cape Sounion.
One catching detail of this temple to me was the ceiling in the hallway around the central temple. The same system is used as in modern system-ceilings: plate that lie in rafters. Have a look yourself and see this system.
The temple is perfectly preserved and you should definetely climb this small hill to reach it. It was built between 449 and 444 BC by the same architect as the temple of Poseidon at Sounion.
Should I say Hephaestus or Hephaestos?
The Temple of Hephaistus, or the Hephaisteion, is located at the Ancient Agora. It is the best preserved temple in Greece and was built near the metalworking and industrial area of the Agora. The Doric temple was constructed between 450 BC and 415 BC by the architect Iktinos and contains many sculptures. There are 34 columns. It was converted into the Church of Agios Georgios in 1300, and the last service was held on December 13, 1834, marking the arrival of King Otto.
The Agora also contains other important sites, including ruins of other temples and a museum. It was built up in the 6th century BC, destroyed by the Persians in 480 BC, and rebuilt under Pericles. It was a very crowded place in Ancient Athens, and served as a market and social area. Socrates philosophised there, and in St. Paul preached there. The Herulians from Scandinavia destroyed it in 267, and the Turks built a residential area there during their rule, which was torn down after the revolution.
Hours for the Agora are 8am-7pm from Tuseday to Sunday. Admission is charged.
On the low Agoraios Kolonos Hill that lies to the west of the ancient Agora is the most best-preserved Ancient temple of Greece, dedicated to Hephaestus and Athena Ergane. A Doric peripteral temple with a pronaos and an opisthodomos, it was begun in 449 and was completed in 415 BC. A considerable part of the sculptural decoration survives, including metopes with scenes representing the labours of Herakles and the feats of Theseus, friezes and pediments. In the past it was believed to be a temple dedicated to Theseus, hence its title, the Thisseio, after which the district was named.
The temple (449 BC) is known as Thissio. It is located at the top of the hill of Kolonos Agoraios. The temple (doric style) of Hephaistos -he was the god of smiths and metal-workers- is the best preserved monument of ancient times in Greece, dedicated to both Hephaistos and Athena.
The temple of Hephaistos is located in the Agora. Agora means something like 'gathering place'. This was the Athenian's market place and news or gossip center, all the official buildings were located here. The temple was completed in 444 BC. This means that there was construction on both the Acropolis, building the Parthenon and below, building this temple.
This is the best preserved temple in Athens. It dates back to 449 BC and was built to honor the gods, Hephaistos and Athena.
In the Roman Agora which is just downhill from the Acropolis, is the amazingly well preserved Greek temple to Hephaesteus.
And here you can see a panoramic view of Athens and the Agora with the Temple of Hephaestus.
I don't really remember when and how the picture was taken...