Temple of Olympian Zeus
Where is the Temple of Olympian Zeus
Awe-inspiring even in ruins, the Athenian temple of Olympian Zeus is the largest in Greece, exceeding even the Parthenon in size. Also known as the Olympieion or Columns of the Olympian Zeus, it was dedicated to the Olympian Zeus, a name originating from his position as head of the Olympian gods.
Construction began in the 6th century BC during the rule of the Athenian tyrants, who envisaged building the greatest temple in the ancient world. Still, it was not completed until the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century AD, some 638 years after the project had begun.
During the Roman period, the temple, which included 104 colossal columns, was renowned as the largest temple in Greece and housed one of the largest cult statues in the ancient world.
The temple’s glory was short-lived, as it fell into disuse after being pillaged during a barbarian invasion in 267 AD, just about a century after its completion. It was probably never repaired and was reduced to ruins after that.
In the centuries after the fall of the Roman Empire, it was extensively quarried for building materials to supply building projects elsewhere in the city. Despite that, a substantial part of the temple remains today, notably sixteen of the original gigantic columns. It continues to be part of an essential archaeological site in Greece.
If you’re lucky, you might be able to catch a glimpse of the temple while it’s lit up at night.
Another must-see at the temple is the colossal statue of Zeus that stands inside. It’s an impressive sight, and it’s definitely worth a visit.
There are also many other smaller statues and sculptures around the temple complex. These are all worth checking out, and they provide an excellent opportunity to learn about Greek mythology.
In front of the main entrance, to capture the scale and grandeur of the temple.
From inside one of the many columns, for a unique perspective.
In front of the statue of Zeus that once sat atop the temple – now located in the National Archaeological Museum.
At sunset, when the temple is illuminated in the golden hour light.
Summer (April 1st to October 31st)
Monday – Sunday 08:00 – 20:00
Winter (November 1st to March 31st)
Monday – Sunday 09:00 – 15:00
January 1st, March 25th, May 1st, Easter Sunday, December 25th and 26th
The Temple of Olympian Zeus is wheelchair accessible throughout.
It has a small wheelchair ramp at the entrance and a 5 m long ramp down (4-star flatness).
This is followed by 2 small wheelchair ramps up to the Temple of Olympian Zeus.