A temple to the supreme god of the Greek pantheon, who had previously been worshipped in the open air, was built by Peisistratos on this site of Olympieion at some time before 550 B.C. - 100 years before the erection of the temple of Zeus at Olympia. It measured 30 by 60m/100 by 200ft - rather smaller than the later Parthenon.The site, to the southeast of the Acropolis, then lay outside the city.
Opening hours: Apr 1 to Oct 31: 8am-7:30pm
Nov 1 to Mar 31: 8am-5pm
Nov 1 to Mar 31: 8am-5pm
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), Greek National Day (Mar 25), May Day / Labor Day (May 1), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Day after Christmas, St Stephen's Day, Boxing Day (Dec 26), Easter - Christian
Entrance fee: Adult Admission Cost, Concession or reduced rate Discount, Students from EU Free, Child 18 & under Free
Useful tips: Admission is free on Sundays between November and March.
Transit: Bus: 024, 230 (Amalias); Trolleybus: 1, 2, 4, 5, 11, 12 (Olgas).
Temple of Olympian Zeus
Because it is a symbol of the time when Athens was oppressed by a Syrian king and a Roman emperor, the Temple of the Olympian Zeus - the largest temple in Greece - has always been something of a thorn in the flesh of the people of Attica. The Olympieion is still overshadowed by the Acropolis, although the quality of its construction is deserving of more attention.The cella, which contained a statue of Hadrian as well as the cult image of Zeus, has disappeared, as have most of the 104 columns, to the making of which went no less than 15,500 tons of marble. The surviving remains, however - the group of 13 columns and part of the entablature at the southeast corner, two isolated columns on the south side and another column which collapsed in 1852 - are still of imposing grandeur. It is not certain whether the 13 southeast columns belong to the Hellenistic building and the three on the south side to the Roman one, or whether they are all of Roman date. The entrance to the site is on Leofóros Olgas. Near the entrance in the old defensive ditch of Athens, are a number of column drums from the Peisistratid temple. Farther west are the remains of Roman baths and other buildings.Through the partly reconstructed propylon we enter the large rectangular temenos in which the temple lies. From the south wall of the temenos we can look down into an excavated area on a lower level in which, among other structures, the foundations of the temple of Apollo Delphinios and the large rectangle of the Penhellenion can be distinguished.They are among the many temples and shrines on the banks of the Ilissos, which flows underground through this area; others include the temple of Aphrodite in the gardens on the right bank of the stream, the Metroon and the shrine of Artemis Agrotera on the left bank.In Christian times a basilica was built here by the ancient Kallirhoe spring; mosaics are in the Byzantine Museum. A footpath leads along the eastern external wall of the Olympieion.
Address: 1 Vass. Olgas Street, Syntagma, Greece
Opening hours: Jan 1 to Dec 31: 8:30am-3pm; Closed: Mon
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), Greek National Day (Mar 25), May Day / Labor Day (May 1), Day after Christmas, St Stephen's Day, Boxing Day (Dec 26), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Easter - Christian, Good Friday - Christian
Entrance fee in EUR: Adult €2.00, Concession or reduced rate €1.00, Child 18 & under FREE
Disability Access: Partial facilities for persons with disabilities.
Transit: Bus: 2, 4, 11.
To the west of the Olympieion, immediately adjoining the Leofóros Amalías, one of Athens' busiest traffic arteries, is Hadrian's Arch, erected in A.D. 131-132, when the gigantic temple of Olympian Zeus was finally completed. It is thought to occupy the position of an earlier city gate of the sixth century B.C., and was later incorporated by the Turks in the circuit of walls with which they surrounded the town in 1778 and which was pierced by seven gates.The arch is a plain structure of Pentelic marble, bearing two inscriptions: on the west side, facing the Acropolis. "This is the ancient city of Theseus", and on the east side, facing the Olympieion, "This is the city of Hadrian and not of Theseus".
Immediately south of the Olympieion in Athens, Anapáfseos Street (the "Street of Repose") branches off Ardíttou Street, a busy traffic artery, and runs up to the principal Athenian cemetery.After passing through the modern entrance hall we see on the left, near a chapel, the tombs of the archbishops of Athens.Then follows the imposing monument of George Averoff, who financed the construction of the modern Stadion and other buildings. On the slope beyond this is the Temple-like tomb of Heinrich Schliemann, designed by Ernst Ziller. The actual tomb has steps surrounded by reliefs. Above it, at the top of three steps, its base having reliefs depicting scenes from the Trojan War, stands a marble temple with Doric columns. On the west side is a bust of Schliemann.Nearby is the tomb of Admiral Kanáris (1790-1877).On the left of the central avenue running down to the second chapel is the tomb of Kolokotrónis (1770-1843), one of the great heroes of the War of Independence.