Temple of Hephaestus | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Temple of Hephaestus

Attica, Attica, Greece

Tristan Hughes

19 Feb 2021

About Temple of Hephaestus

The Temple of Hephaestus is an imposing ancient Greek temple in the Athenian Agora. It has been described as the best preserved ancient Greek temple in Greece.

Temple of Hephaestus history

The Temple was constructed in the 5th century BC, during the ‘golden age’ of Classical Athens. Archaeologists have dated its construction to around the mid 5th century mark (c.449 BC). Situated in the Athenian agora, the Temple consists of strong Doric columns, hexastyle (6×13 columns) in shape.

Above the columns are the architrave and the frieze, the latter consisting of triglyphs interspersed with metopes. The 10 metopes on the eastern side of the Temple of Hephaestus show the Labours of Heracles. Above the triglyphs and metopes at each end of the temple are the remains of the triangular pediments. These would have originally been filled with large sculptures.

Constructed out of Pentelic marble, like its contemporary, more famous structures that we find dotting the Acropolis, the Temple was dedicated to Hephaestus, god of blacksmiths and fire. But Athena, patron goddess of Athens, was also worshipped at this Temple. The ancient writer Pausanias recorded how there were bronze statues to both of these deities set up within the Temple.

The Temple of Hephaestus is also sometimes known as the ‘Theseum’, as it was once believed that the bones of the legendary Athenian king Theseus were buried here.

The Temple of Hephaestus was later incorporated into the Church of Agios Georgios, this accounting for its excellent state of preservation.

Temple of Hephaestus today

Today, the Temple of Hephaestus is the best preserved ancient Greek temple in Greece. Situated amid the remains of the picturesque Athenian agora, it is a must see site for any visiting Athens. Looking out north from a’top the Acropolis, you will be able to see the remains of the Temple amid the trees of the Agora.

Getting to Temple of Hephaestus

Situated right in the centre of Athens, the Temple is easily accessible by foot for any spending a few days touring the sites of Greece’s capital. The nearest metro stations are Thissio and Monastiraki, both of which are within a 10 minute walk of the Temple.

Walking from the Acropolis to the Temple of Hephaestus usually takes between 15 and 30 minutes.

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