The Temple of Hephaestus is considered the best-preserved ancient temple in Greece. The temple was dedicated to Hephaestus and Athena, the ancient god of fire and the goddess of pottery and crafts respectively. The temple was constructed around 450BC according to the archaeologists. It can be found at the western edge of the city located on the Agoreos Koronos hill and it features majestic Dorian architecture. The temple was designed by Iktinus who was among the talented architects that worked on Parthenon. There are also lots of craftsmen that worked at this mind-blowing temple. Some of the things to know about this temple are listed below.
General information about Temple of Hephaestus
The temple can be found around 500m north-west of the Acropolis and it is just 1km west of Syntagma Square, the modern center of Athens in a region surrounded by foundries and metal workshops. The temple was dedicated to Hephaestos, the god of blacksmiths and metallurgy and designed by Ictinus. The temple of Hephaestus is located on the hillside and during ancient times, you will enjoy mesmerizing views of the Agora.
The Temple of Hephaestus was designed in the Doric style and constructed with marble from Mount Pentelus. It is hexastyle in design and has six columns that are under the pedimented ends and it also houses thirteen columns on each side. The temple is also peripteral as it features columns that are mainly surrounding the central enclosed cella. You are also going to find an entablature which features a plain frieze with a sober Doric mode. Above it, there are spaces between the triglyphs which are stunning because of its grooved beam-ends designed pegged into place. You are also going to enjoy the labors of Heracles as it was depicted in the bas-relief.
Exploring the Temple of Hephaestus
The temple houses 6 columns on the short east and west parts and you are going to find 13 on the northern and southern parts. You are going to discover that most of the friezes and designs in the temple have been damaged massively by earthquakes and the invasions over the years.
You are going to find the temple in Thission which is not far from the Acropolis and Monastiraki and it is just above the Ancient Agora and Stoa of Attalos. The temple was constructed from Pentelic marble while the sculptures that you will find here are made of Parian marble. It houses a cella, pronaos, and opisthodomos. The temple is also regarded to be peripheral due to the columns that dot the centrally enclosed cella.
The eastern and western parts of the temple are shorter while the northern and southern parts are longer. You are going to find sculptures that depict the labors of Hercules and the battle of Theseus with the Pallentides on the eastern part of the temple. You will also find sculptures that symbolize the fall of Troy on the western part of the temple.
The Temple of Hephaestus was used as an Orthodox church and was dedicated to Saint George Akamatus from the 7th century AD to 1834. The last Holy Mass occurred in February 1833 which was when King Otto arrive in Greece. The temple was also used as a burial place for the non-Orthodox Europeans and Philhellenes during the 19th century. During archeological excavations, there are numerous graves. The building was also used as a museum from 1834 to 1934. Nowadays, the temple is among the greatest ancient monuments in Greece and lots of reconstruction and excavation works were still carried out.
You should definitely visit and see the Temple of Hephaestus on your trip in Athens, Greece. I hoped you liked my post and can’t wait to read your experiences!