Temple of Hephaestus in Athens

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Temple of Hephaestus in Athens
Temple of Hephaestus in Athens
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Travelers who have managed to visit many countries recommend beginners in this business to start getting acquainted with history and studying ancient architectural masterpieces from visiting Greece. The Temple of Hephaestus is very well preserved, there are few analogues in terms of the degree of preservation in the world. He has native columns, gables and almost the entire roof. Decorations and frescoes suffered the most.

temple of hephaestus

Economy and monuments

Only in Greece, which is now experiencing difficulties in the economic sphere, you can see many historical monuments and other interesting places created by our distant ancestors long before the birth of Jesus Christ. In ancient times, the country experienced both prosperity and periods of stagnation, but, unfortunately, mainly on this land there were fierce wars between foreigners who dreamed of seizing control over this country. The Temple of Hephaestus in Athens still attracts tourists.

All these facts influenced the preservation of a large number of temples and shrines, some of them were literally dug up by archaeologists at the beginning of the 20th century. Among a small numberbuildings that have survived to this day is the world-famous Temple of Hephaestus. A large number of surviving written sources speak of the Athenian agora, but it is problematic to find the meaning of this word. To understand the meaning of the building, you need to tell what this agora was for the inhabitants of Greece at that time. The Athenian agora was located in the center of Athens and served as a venue for gatherings, rituals, competitions and fairs. We can say that it was an analogue of the Roman forum, built before the birth of Jesus Christ.

On this place and near it, only temples, theaters and other structures that were significant for the population were built. The Temple of Hephaestus on the Agora was one of them. Now it can be considered by tourists who visit Athens. It is interesting that the temple has survived to this day not because of the Greeks' love for paganism, but thanks to Orthodoxy.

temple of hephaestus athena

Hephaestus

Myths of Ancient Greece say that Hephaestus was the son of Zeus and Hera. According to legend, during another quarrel between Zeus and the Hero of Hephaestus, they were thrown onto a volcanic island. The divine origin did not save him from injury - he received a broken leg and began to limp. The Temple of Hephaestus is a building filled with myths and stories.

After a detailed examination of all the mosaics and images, legends and myths that tell about the life of the gods, we can conclude that all the gods were constantly feasting. And only as entertainment they went down to the people. And only Hephaestus worked without interruption, because he was a blacksmith and had power over fire and volcanoes. He made the best weapons and equipment for the ancient Greekwarrior Achilles, who became famous for his weak spot - "Achilles' heel". The life of the blacksmith god was difficult and took place at the insanely hot fiery forge. Fans of mythology tend to visit the temple of Hephaestus. Photos of the monument can be found in many guidebooks.

temple of hephaestus greece

Temple History

According to the words of scientists-researchers who studied various written sources and legends, this temple was erected during the reign of Pericles. He had the ability to convince citizens with speeches, and talented command and control of the troops helped to defend against enemy attacks with minimal losses. It is believed that the reign of Pericles is the golden age of Athens. By his order, this famous structure was erected.

It was built over 35 years, starting from 450 BC. It is not difficult to see that during this time there was the possibility of building several such facilities. But sources tell us that many of the people involved were sent to build the huge Parthenon. The temple of Hephaestus turned out majestic. Athens is more famous for it.

temple of hephaestus in the agora

Magnificent gardens

Despite the records of the traveler Pausanias, who even described ancient Corinth, are available to historians, the name of the architect who developed the plan for this temple is not known for certain. Some of the ancient written sources say that there was a magnificent garden on the adjacent territory of the Temple of Hephaestus. In this place, philosophers contemplated life under the shade of trees.

The pagan temple was converted into the Church of St.George already in the 7th century AD. This happened due to the fact that the former greatness of Athens had already passed: there were no money and workers in the city. By the way, Christians often turned old buildings into temples. Take, for example, the world-famous "Tower of the Winds", which is one of the oldest weather observation stations. King Otto forced the Christians to leave this building and turned it into a museum. Such a story survived the temple of Hephaestus. Greece is a land of myths and legends.

temple of hephaestus photo

Temple Architecture

The Temple of Hephaestus is one of the few structures that have survived to this day in excellent condition, this is its amazingness. It is located on the Agoraios hill, the dimensions of the building are 31.7 x 13.7 m. Thirty-four columns and the roof of the building were miraculously preserved intact. It should be noted the Ionic style of the frieze of the temple where Hephaestus was venerated. Eighteen of the sixty-eight metopes are made in the form of sculptures. Metopes will tell travelers about the exploits of Hercules and the adventures of Theseus.

Sculptures that don't exist

The famous thinker Pausanias, who described what he saw during his wanderings around the world, in his notes tells that there were 2 large bronze sculptures in the middle of the temple:

  • Lord of Fire Hephaestus;
  • patrons of the capital of Greece Pallas Athena.

Unfortunately, these statues, like many frescoes and mosaics, were destroyed and stolen by enemies and robbers.

Temple of Workers

Famous architects think that the Temple of Hephaestus was created in the image of the Parthenon, as well as manyother smaller temples that were earlier in Athens. Their opinion is not unfounded, because at that time most of the sanctuaries for the worship of the gods were built in the Doric style. By the way, archaeologists have found many remains of workshops of blacksmiths and potters in the area of ​​the Temple of Hephaestus. This fact testifies to the desire of the masters of that time to work near the lord of fire and his temple.

It is worth adding to the above that most Greeks today are sure that this building was erected in honor of Theseus, who defeated the terrible Minotaur in the complex and intricate tunnels. In confirmation of the mentioned strange version, they indicate the statue of Theseus, who competes with Hercules. It used to be believed that the body of the brave hero Theseus was buried under the building. But the excavations did not find any burials under it and near it. However, the researchers made another discovery: a modest sanctuary, which existed much earlier than the temple itself. It is almost impossible to find out its purpose and other details, since only the remains of stone walls remain from it.

Temple of Hephaestus in Athens

The appearance of the temple attracts a large number of travelers and is rightfully considered the most popular object of the capital of Greece. You can enter the Temple of Hephaestus for a small fee. And children can see this attraction live with their native roof without any fee. The view of this temple fascinates with its grandeur and helps to present Ancient Greece in all its glory and power. The Temple of Hephaestus (Athens) is a place worth seeing.

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