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The Temple of Zeus and Hadrians Arch

Temple of Zeus

The Temple of Zeus

The Temple Of Olympian Zeus was once the largest temple in Greece, dwarfing even the Parthenon on the Acropolis. The temple is located just south of the Acropolis, next to Amalias Avenue, one of Athens busiest streets.

Work began on the Temple of Zeus in the 6th century BC by the tyrant Peisistrates, but was not completed until hundreds of years later by the Roman Emperor Hadrian in 132 AD. He dedicated the temple to Zeus Olympios during the Panhellenic festival.

Inside the temple Hadrian had a huge ivory and gold inlaid statue of the God Zeus made, a replica of the one at Olympia by Pheidas. In true Roman style he had a statue of himself made and placed next to the one of Zeus. Unfortunately both are now lost.

Hadrians Arch

The temple was once the most magnificent in Greece, but with years of neglect and vandalism, all that is left are 15 columns of the original 104, one still sprawled across the floor after it fell down in 1852.

Each column is 17m (56ft) high and the temple itself was about 96m (315ft) long and 40m (130ft) wide. The remaining columns only give you a glimpse of the size of the original building.

Temple of Zeus and Hadrians Arch

Hadrians Arch

Just in front of the Temple of Zeus is Hadrians Arch. The Arch was built in AD 131 and used as a symbol to mark the boundary between ancient Athens and the new modern Roman city of Hadrian.

There is even two inscriptions on either side of the Arch. One side says "This is Athens, the ancient city of Theseus." and on the other side "This is the city of Hadrian and not of Theseus.".

The Temple of Zeus and Hadrians Arch

During ancient times the Temple of Zeus was the largest temple in Greece.

Hadrians Arch was built by the Roman Emperor Hadrian, and it was to show the border from the new modern Roman Athens to the old Greek Athens.

Location: The main entrance is on Vasilissis Olgas but most of the site and Hadrians arch can be seen from Leoforos Vasilissis Amalias.

Nearest Metro Station: Acropolis.

Entrance Fee: 2 euros, but this and other sites are free if you buy the entrance ticket to the Acropolis and is valid for 7 days. Hadrians Arch is free.

Opening hours: (summer) Tue - Sun 08:00 - 19:00. Monday - 11:00 - 19:00. (Winter) Tue - Sun 08:30 - 14:30. Monday - 11:00 -14:30. Closed on all public holidays. Hadrians Arch is always open as it is on the main road.