Temple of Zeus in Athens

Embark on a journey through time at the Temple of Zeus, a monumental piece of history located in Athens. Also known as the Temple of Olympian Zeus, it is a gateway to Greek mythology's rich and mystical world. The temple was constructed in the 6th century BC and took around 700 years to complete. Today, it is a testament to the determination and architectural skill of the Greeks.


As you walk around the temple, you follow paths once used by great philosophers and scholars. Time has worn away much, but 15 of the original 104 large columns remain. Standing at 17 meters tall, these columns are a strong link to history.


The Temple of Olympian Zeus celebrates history of Temple of Zeus, mythology, and art. The intricate carvings and the sheer scale of the structure are bound to leave you in awe. It is where history comes alive, letting you experience the Greek glory and grandeur. 

Attractions In The Temple of Olympian Zeus

The Corinthian Order Capitals of The Olympian Zeus
The Corinthian Order Capitals of The Olympian Zeus

The Temple of Olympian Zeus in Athens is famous for its stunning Corinthian columns. These columns are also a defining feature of ancient Greek architecture. There were originally 104 columns, out of which 15 remain today. Each of the columns is 17 metres high and has a distinct Corinthian order style. Elaborate designs, including acanthus leaves, also characterise these columns. This design was the work of Roman architect Decimus Cossutius. Under the leadership of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, he used Hellenistic and Roman influences in the design. The upper part of the column resembles a blossoming acanthus plant. The design of the columns is also similar to the artistic vision of the sculptor Callimachus. 


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Imperial Cult and Panhellenic Ambitions
Imperial Cult and Panhellenic Ambitions

The Temple of Olympian Zeus in Athens honoured the ancient deities. It played an important role in its era's imperial cult and Panhellenic goals. The Roman Emperor Hadrian completed the temple’s construction in AD 131. Upon its completion, the temple symbolised the fusion of Greek and Roman cultures. It also housed majestic statues of Zeus and Hadrian. This enhanced the close ties between religion and imperial power. It was also similar to Hadrian's vision of Athens as a cultural and political power. You can see his impact in the many statues and writings in the temple. This blend of divine and imperial worship is very significant in the temple's history.

Fallen Columns
Fallen Columns

The fallen columns of The Temple of Zeus, Athens, bear silent witness to the ravages of time and nature. One of these columns collapsed during strong winds in 1852. These ruins tell a lot about the age-old construction techniques used in the temple. They also give insights into the historical turmoil the temple has withstood. The temple's history is evident in these fallen structures. They tell the story of the temple’s building materials being stolen during invasions. They also recount the natural disasters that struck it. They also connect the past and present. This makes you think about the temple’s glorious and troubled history.


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Stylite Monks
Stylite Monks

The Temple of Zeus in Athens also holds a fascinating connection to the Stylite monks. These monks are known for their unique ascetic practices. They found isolated shelters on top of pillars. Some of these pillars were a part of the temple. Their presence added a distinctive spiritual dimension to the site. Initially, these columns served as a Byzantine watchtower. Later, they became the home of the Stylite monks. Their choice to stay in such an unconventional place tells much about their isolation and spiritual pursuit. The temple's history gives you a glimpse into the different religious activities that used to take place here. 

History of The Temple of Olympian Zeus

History of The Temple of Olympian Zeus

The Temple of Olympian Zeus is a great example of the grandeur of ancient Greek and Roman civilisations. Also known as the Olympieion, its construction began in the 6th century BC. It was finally completed under Roman Emperor Hadrian in 131 AD. The temple was first planned by Peisistratos the Younger in 515 BC to be Greece's largest temple. However, the project faced numerous interruptions. Emperor Hadrian, an admirer of Greek culture, accomplished this grand vision.


This temple is one of the largest in the ancient world. It symbolises the blend of Greek and Roman architectural magnificence. Under Hadrian's rule, the temple’s precinct expanded. It incorporated significant structures, including the Temple of Zeus Panhellenios and the Temple of Kronos and Rhea. The monumental Hadrian's Arch, standing at 18 meters, marked the sanctuary's entrance. It reflected the era's architectural ambition.


Today, the Temple stands as a partial ruin. Its remaining columns echo the splendour of a bygone era.

Temple Of Zeus Architecture

The interior of the Temple of Zeus, Athens was as grand as its exterior. It was a masterpiece of ancient architecture. Inside, the temple housed magnificent statues embodying the splendour of the era. A notable feature was a huge statue of Zeus made out of chryselephantine, a combination of gold and ivory. This statue was similar in grandeur to Phidias' Athena in the Parthenon. It also symbolised religious reverence and artistic excellence. Alongside Zeus stood an equally impressive statue of Emperor Hadrian. This statue reflected the blend of Greek religious tradition with Roman power.


The temple's design followed the classical Doric style. Its interior was decorated with limestone and marble. Thirteen columns lined each side, with six more at each end, creating a majestic hall. The grand sculptural decorations inside were similar to the Severe Style. They depicted mythological scenes like the chariot race between Pelops and Oinomaos. There were also scenes of the battle of the Lapiths and Centaurs.

The Construction of The Temple of Olympian Zeus

The construction of The Temple of Olympian Zeus

The construction of the Temple of Zeus is a monumental tale of ancient Greek architectural ambition. The project began in the 6th century BC under Peisistratos the Younger. It would last nearly seven centuries. The temple's construction was finally completed under the Roman Emperor Hadrian in 132 AD. He also commissioned Hadrian's Arch nearby as a grand gateway. It would link the temple with the ancient city. This arch, completed in 131 AD, featured exquisite carvings and inscriptions. It also celebrated Hadrian as the founder of Athens.


The Temple of Zeus was located 500 metres southeast of the Acropolis. It had 104 colossal Corinthian columns in the early years, each towering at 15 meters. The temple was also crafted from the pristine white marble of Mount Pentelicus. Today, only 15 of these impressive columns remain, with one lying intact on the ground. Each of these tells a story of past glories and the passage of time.





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Exploring The Grandeur of The Temple of Zeus in Athens

The Majestic Temple of Zeus in Athens

Step into the majestic realm of the Temple of Zeus in Athens. It is a grand testament to the architectural brilliance of ancient Greece. As you approach, the remnants of once-towering Corinthian columns will leave you in awe. Each of these towers was 17 metres tall. These columns stand resolute against the passage of time. They are silent guardians of history, symbolising the temple's ancient glory.


Walking through the grounds transports you back to times when Greek mythology blended with historical grandeur. The temple is also known as the Olympieion and is a monumental structure. It was once home to statues of Zeus and Roman Emperor Hadrian. 

The temple is set against the vibrant backdrop of Athens' cityscape. This historical masterpiece offers a serene yet powerful reminder of the ancient world's magnificence. Its open, grassy terrace and the 15 remaining colossal columns stand as silent witnesses to the temple's past glory.

Plan Your Visit to Temple of Olympian Zeus

Location & Opening Hours
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Location & Opening Hours

Temple of Zeus Location:

The Temple is located in Athens, Greece. It is about 500 metres southeast of the Acropolis. The temple is approximately 700 metres south of the centre of Athens, Syntagma Square. The official location of the Temple is Archaia Olympia 270 65, Greece. 


Temple of Zeus Opening Hours:

  • November to March: The Temple is open every day of the week between 08:30 a.m. and 03:00 p.m., with the last entry at 02:30 p.m. 
  • April to October: It remains open between 08:00 a.m. and 07:00 p.m., with the last entry time at 06:30 p.m.
  • The Temple remains closed on January 1st, March 25th and May 1st. It is also closed on Easter Sunday, December 25th and December 26th.

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Highlights
  • Skip the line to visit the Temple of Olympian Zeus, one of ancient Athens' most significant temples

  • Take some amazing pictures with the adjacent Acropolis and the temple ruins as your backdrop

  • Admire the 16 columns that have survived the centuries and visualize of how this monument looked like when it was first built

  • Find out the interesting tales of the violent thunderstorm which caused severe damage to the temple

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Must Know Before You Go
  • Last admission is 30 minutes before closing.
  • All participants are required to show ID on arrival.
  • All international participants will have to share passport and visa details on arrival.
  • Please do not carry any luggage or large bags.
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FAQs of Temple of Olympian Zeus

Why is the Temple of Olympian Zeus Famous?

    The Temple of Zeus in Athens is renowned for its historical and architectural significance. It was one of the largest temples in the ancient world, dedicated to Zeus, the chief deity in Greek mythology.

    The temple, known for its grandeur and colossal size, featured 104 massive Corinthian columns, of which only 15 remain standing today. These ruins symbolise ancient Greek civilisation's artistic and The Temple of Zeus in Athens is famous for its historical and architectural significance.

    It was one of the largest temples in the ancient world. It is dedicated to Zeus, the chief deity in Greek mythology. The temple was also known for its grandeur and colossal size. It featured 104 massive Corinthian columns, of which only 15 remain standing today. These ruins symbolise ancient Greek civilisation's artistic and cultural achievements. 

    cultural achievements, making it a focal point for historians and tourists.

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