Temple Of Hephaestus
Things to Do in Athens
Image courtesy of Deposit Photos
While parts of the ancient Agora of Athens are being resurrected, the Temple of Hephaestus stands tall and in good order in the Agora’s northwest sector atop the Agoraios Hill. Named for the ancient god of fire, metal-working and crafts, the building has been used for a variety of purposes since it was completed in 415 BC after 34 years under construction. The builders did a good job, as this is one of the best preserved ancient buildings in Athens.
Because of the nature of the god Hephaestus, pottery and metal workshops were established in the immediate area of the temple, so beyond being a place of worship, the enclave was also a productive one.
Changing hands over time, it became a Greek Orthodox Christian church (the church of Saint George Akamates) in approximately the 7th century AD, which it remained until 1834. During that time, again, and to its favour, it was well taken care of. Its ground were used for burials.
Built of marble mined from nearby Mount Penteli, at one point, the former Temple of Hephaestus served as a museum. It is a fine example of Doric peripertal architecture, now back to a coveted designated archaeological building in Athens.