Temple of Hephaistos

 
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Athens attractions : Temple of Hephaistos in Athens

Temple of Hephaistos in Athens
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Information about Temple of Hephaistos

Information about Temple of Hephaistos

The Temple of Hephaestus, also known as the Hephaisteion or earlier as the Theseion, is the best-preserved ancient Greek temple; it remains standing largely as built. It is a Doric peripteral temple, and is located at the north-west side of the Agora of Athens, on top of the Agoraios Kolonos hill. From the 7th century until 1834, it served as the Greek Orthodox church of St. George Akamates

Name
Hephaestus was the patron god of metal working and craftsmanship. There were numerous potters' workshops and metal-working shops in the vicinity of the temple, as befits the temple's honoree. Archaeological evidence suggests that there was no earlier building on the site except for a small sanctuarythat was burned when the Persians occupied Athens in 480 BC. The name Theseion or Temple of Theseus was attributed to the monument under the assumption it housed the remains of the Athenian hero Theseus, brought back to the city from the island of Skyros by Kimon in 475 BC, but refuted after inscriptions from within the temple associated it firmly with Hephaestus.

Construction
After the battle of Plataea, the Greeks swore never to rebuild their sanctuaries, destroyed by the Persians during their invasion of Greece, but to leave them in ruins, as a perpetual reminder of barbarian ferocity. The Athenians directed their funds towards rebuilding their economy and strengthening their influence in the Delian League. When Pericles came to power, he envisioned a grand plan for transforming Athens into the centre of Greek power and culture. Construction started in 449 BC, ans some scholars believe the building not to have been completed for some three decades, funds and workers having being redirected towards the Parthenon. The western frieze was completed between 445-440 BC, while the eastern frieze, the western pediment and several changes in the building's interior are dated by these scholars to 435-430 BC, largely on stylistic grounds. It was only during the Peace of Nicias (421-415 BC) that the roof was completed and the cult images were installed. The temple was officially inaugurated in 416-415 BC.

Description
Many architects have been suggested, but without firm evidence one refers simply to 'The Hephaisteion Master'. The temple is built of marble from the nearby Mt. Penteli, excepting the bottom step of the krepis or platform. The architectural sculpture is in both Pentelic and Parian marble. The dimensions of the temple are 13.708 m north to south and 31.776 m east to west, with six columns on the short east and west sides and thirteen columns along the longer north and south sides (with the four corner columns being counted twice).
The building has a pronaos, a cella housing cult images at the centre of the structure, and an opisthodomos. The alignment of the antae of the pronaos with the third flank columns of the peristyle is a design element unique middle of the 5th century BCE. There is also an inner Doric colonnade with five columns on the north and south side and three across the end (with the corner columns counting twice).

The decorative sculptures highlight the extent of mixture of the two styles in the construction of the temple. Both the pronaos and the opisthodomos are decorated with continuous Ionic friezes (instead of the more typical Doric triglyphs, supplementing the sculptures at the pediments and the metopes. The frieze of the pronaos depicts a scene from the battle of Theseus with the Pallantides in the presence of gods while the frieze of the opisthodomos shows the battle of Centaurs and Lapiths. Reconstructing the themes of the pediments is difficult due to the fragmentary nature of the surviving remnants. An earlier interpretation identified the birth of Erichthonios in the east pediment and Heracles before Thetis in the west. Later theories suggest that the west pediment was dedicated again to the battle between Centaurs and Lapiths while the east pediment depicted the "deification" of Heracles, the entry of the hero onto Mount Olympus.

Only 18 of the 68 metopes of the temple of Hephaestus were sculptured, concentrated especially on the east side of the temple; the rest were perhaps painted. The ten metopes on the east side depict the Labours of Heracles. The four easternmost metopes on the long north and south sides depict the Labours of Theseus.
According to Pausanias, the temple housed the bronze statues of Athena and Hephaestus. An inscription records payments between 421 BCE and 415 BCE for two bronze statues but it does not mention the sculptor. Tradition attributes the work to Alkamenes.In the 3rd century BCE trees and shrubs (pomegranates, myrtle and laurel) were planted around the temple, creating a small garden.

This article is licensed under the Creative Commons BY-SA License. It uses material from Wikipedia content.
 

Temple of Hephaistos at a glance

Temple of Hephaistos at a glance

About Temple of Hephaistos It was begun in 449 BC, just two years before the Parthenon.
About Temple of Hephaistos The temple has sometimes been called the Theseum due to a belief that it was a hero shrine dedicated to Theseus
About Temple of Hephaistos In the 7th century, the temple was converted to the Church of St. George Akamas
 

How to reach Temple of Hephaistos

How to reach Temple of Hephaistos

Stoa of Attalos is located in monastiraki area, in the Ancient Agora, you can take the metro and go to metro station Monastiraki

 

Video of Temple of Hephaistos

Video of Temple of Hephaistos

Video of Temple of Hephaistos

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Photos of Temple of Hephaistos

Photos of Temple of Hephaistos

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