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Temple of Hephaistos

Temple of Hephaistos
Temple of Hephaistos
#About Athens' Most Preserved Temple

The Temple of Hephaistos is also called Hephaisteion, is one of the local sites in the Ancient Agora of Athens. It was built in 449 BC, two years before the construction of the Parthenon, on the hill of Kolonos Agoraios, that overlooks the Ancient Agora.

It is uncertain to which Greek god this temple is dedicated. There is an assumption that it is to the god Hephaestus, god of volcanos and blacksmithing in Greek Mythology, and the one who created the armor for Achilles in the epic poem 'The Iliad." Sculptures of worship of him were found in the temple, and it is important to mention that sculptures of Athena were also found, the goddess of pottery and crafts.

On the other hand, it is completely possible that the temple was dedicated to the hero Theseus. Metopes were found here, a kind of rectangular slates, containing reliefs that told his stories.

Its building, by the way, was led by the legendary Athens leader, Pericles, and it was the first temple built in Athens of marble. In the 7th century, this temple was converted to the St. George Akamas Church, with a surrounding wall. In the 19th century, protestant soldiers were buried here, who died in the Greek Independence War of 1821. In 1834 it became a museum, and at the start of the 21st century, it was restored back to its original design as a Greek temple.

Either way, Hephaisteion is considered the best-preserved temple in Athens in consideration of its old age, about 2,500 years, its condition is still completely in one piece, that enables visitors a glimpse into the past.




#The Temple's Architecture

This temple is smaller than the Parthenon, that was built two years afterward, and is very similar.

The Temple of Hephaistos is elevated around the Ancient Agora, and is in a rectangular shape, closed off on three sides. The fourth and open side lets the sunrays into the structure, straight into the temple.

The inner space of the temple is surrounded by Doric pillars on four sides. In the temple are 34 of these Doris pillars, who support the roof that has partially survived. Notice that wooden roof, with ceramic tiles above the temple.

You can see at the entrance to the temple the horizontal decorations from stone, that adorn the tops of the pillars following the entrance into the temple's hall. Notice the plaques that describe the events of the heroes of Athens, Theseus and Herakles.




A Closer Look at the Temple of Hephasitos:

https://youtu.be/qJD1EIFnOv0


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