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Temple Of Olympian Zeus Tips (70)

Temple of Olympian Zeus

This was at one time the biggest temple in Ancient Greece, but today much of the building has been destroyed over the centuries. It's location at the foot of the Acropolis meant it was vulnerable to barbarian invasions. And one of this left it in such a state that the locals saw it was fit for nothing more than to supply building materials for their homes. What you see today is what remains. It's not enough to do it justice, but if you view the temple grounds from the Acropolis you will get a sense of just how immense this project really was.

The ambitions for the Temple of Olympian Zeus were so grand that it took nearly seven centuries of repeatedly disrupted construction to complete. It was envisaged as a new wonder of the ancient world, something that would surpass the Heraion of Samos and the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus. It was completed, and it must have been magnificent, but just over a century later it was virtually destroyed when barbarians hailing from southern Russia sacked the city and devastated it.

antistar's Profile Photo
Jul 18, 2016

Temple of Olympian Zeus

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.

Temple of Olympian Zeus in Athens, GreeceOriginally 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.

Nearby is the Arch of Hadrian which was erected in 132 AD as a gate between the ancient city and the Roman city of Athens.

draguza's Profile Photo
May 31, 2015

Giant temple of Olympian Zeus

Giant temple, much larger in fact than the Parthenon, according to one web site I consulted the ground plan is approximately 96 x 40 meters (315 x 130 feet) in size. Compare that to a soccer pitch (FIFA standard 100-110 meters x 64-75 meters) and you will find that even though it is not quite as broad as a standard field it is not much shorter in length. Imagine, then, something nearly the size of a soccer pitch with tall, yet elegant columns that support a roof made of marble slabs and wood, containing several rooms with long curtains, larger than life size paintings and statues of bronze or gold. Must have been quite a sight. Also good view of Acropolis from here.

egonwegh's Profile Photo
May 25, 2015

Be careful of bar scammers

I came across a man who approached my friend and I whilst we were speaking in Filipino. He said that he has been to the Philippines before and tried to strike up a conversation. We left him after a while as I didn't feel comfortable with overly friendly strangers. Nevertheless, my friend and I stayed inside the temple gardens for about 2 hours. After that, we walked outside and he was there pretending that it was a coincidence that we bumped into each other again. He then said that there's a bar with a lot of Filipinos and that he always hangs out there and that he will give us his card there. We got 2 beers, and he left us. TWO SLUTTY GIRLS preyed on my friend and I and talked about monetary topics. I kind of got what was happening therefore i would always state that I was poor with no money. At the end, the woman asked for a drink, which was stupidly said yes to and after that, we got the bill of 35 euros each. How stupid is that? Be careful of these old men. This happened just yesterday 20/05/15

May 21, 2015
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Imagine of a coloseal temple!

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)

mindcrime's Profile Photo
May 12, 2013


L'Olympieion or Temple of Olympian Zeus is a colossal ruined temple in the centre of Athens, located about 700 meters of the Acropolis.
Only 15 columns remain of this temple ends around 129/131 after JC by the roman emperor Hadrien.
Probably damage during sachs of Athens, during centuries the temple was quarried to provide materials for other buildings.

didier06's Profile Photo
Feb 20, 2012

the Temple of Olympian Zeus

The Temple of Olympian Zeus - also known as the Olympieion or Columns of the Olympian Zeus - is a colossal ruined temple in the centre of the Greek capital Athens that was dedicated to Zeus, king of the Olympian gods and is said to have been housing the famous statue of Zeus, which was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Construction began in the 6th century BC and ended during the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century AD - basically it took 638 years to complete the project. I’m not sure why it took so long but it’s a fact that this temple was planned to have been the largest temple in Greece.
For sure it was also one of the shortest-lived ones: it was pillaged, reduced to ruins and even quarried for building materials. What man didn’t do, an earthquake did: what was left of the temple fell to the ground. What remains today is not very much: roughly a dozen Doric columns and the outline of the perimeter where the temple would have been.
My advice? Visit it just to “feel” how impressively huge this temple had been.

call_me_rhia's Profile Photo
Sep 28, 2011

Go On To the Olympian Zeus Near the Gardens

Just to the south of the National Gardens are the Arch of Hadrian abd adjacent to that, The Temple of Olympian Zeus. Only 15 of an original 104 marble columns remain standing plus one on its side. Some repair of the site have been done since the 1. Imagine that the entire building was the hargest in Athens when Hadrian completed it in 132 AD.

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Jun 18, 2011
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Temple of Zeus Olympus

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.

xaver's Profile Photo
Jun 16, 2011

Massive Zeus temple ruins

A large level plot is the location of the Zeus temple ruins. One can walk around it's perimeter, where you see some pillars still standing, whereas others are fallen on the ground. Walking around it gives a true sense of the gargantuan dimensions of this structure.

There is a lot of greenery all around the site, creating a calm oasis amid the busy thoroughfare just in front, which is also obscured by all the plantations.

Durfun's Profile Photo
Jan 31, 2011

Temple of Zeus

This site was just across the street from my hotel. First thing I saw in the morning, and the last at night (it’s floodlit).

Work started on it in 515BC, and finished in 131AD. Slow but steady progress. It was the largest temple on mainland Greece.

It is worth stopping by. Not a lot to see, but spectacular none the less.

The DK guide recommends visiting between 3 and 4pm, for the best light. That may depend on the time of year, however. It’s to do with the angle of the sun, I suppose. By coincidence (honestly) that’s when I was there. You can judge for yourself. Having observed from my hotel room, just before sunset in December is also very good.

Entry was €2, or as part of the €12 composite Acropolis ticket.

iaint's Profile Photo
Jan 01, 2011

The Temple of the Olympian Zeus

It is also called Olympeion (in Greek: Ναὸς τοῦ Ὀλυμπίου Διός)and is located in the centre of Athens, south from Zappeion. It is dedicated to Zeus who was the king of the Ancient Greek gods. Construction began in the 6th century BC. It was fully completed during the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd c. AD.

penny_g's Profile Photo
Nov 26, 2010

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