Temple of Athena
Incredible Must See Sacred Places
Image courtesy of Deposit Photos
The Greeks were counting on her: their goddess Athena, worshipped for being victorious in battle, was their hope for winning the agonizing Peloponnesian War against the tricky Spartans. In erecting (in 420 BC) this temple to her honour, they created an amazing sacred place that we can still enjoy today. However, centuries have had their effects, and it’s always best to check before planning to see the Athens-situated Acropolis to ensure the Temple of Athena is open to visitors.
The proper name of the Temple of Athena is Temple of Athena Nike (Greek for “victory”, so no surprise it was used to market sports shoes). While restoration continues as needed (the floor was in rough shape, necessitating a major renovation in 1998), the strength of its white Pentelic marble can be thanked for its relative durability.
Small by comparison to other temples in Greece and at the Acropolis, the Temple of Athena was designed in the Ionic column style, the capitals (decorative tops) of the columns looking similar to a pair of curled ram’s horns. Both front and rear facades boast colonnades of four Ionic columns each, a dramatic 7 metres (23 feet) high.
Some of the most stunning friezes in Greece were included at the Acropolis, and the one that used to be on the Temple of Athena now rests safely in the Acropolis Museum. While the Temple of Athena Nike has been damaged and dismantled over its long history, once Greece gained its independence in 1834, there has been more emphasis placed on the preservation of its important antiquities; this is, after all, the cradle of modern civilization, a place that all humans should try to see. And give their thanks to Athena and those who built such amazing sacred places.