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A unique mix of historic Athens and modern day Mediterranean culture

Athens, which sprawls well beyond its official limits, is unlike any other European capital. Home to roughly one-third of the Greek population, its fabric has been woven by successive waves of migrants – initially from the Greek provinces, today from abroad – since it was established in the 11th century B.C. The Greek capital may exhibit all the characteristics of a big city but at heart it remains a small town.

Zeus
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Temple of Olympian Zeus

Temple of Olympian Zeus

Famous Naos tou Olimpiou Dios

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Ariana Hendrix

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One of the most well-preserved structures of ancient Greece, this is another don’t-miss spot on the history trail through Athens.

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Naos tou Olimpiou Dios

Stay.com Editors' Note

In a city infamous for bureaucracy and construction delays, the Temple of Olympian Zeus still holds the record for the longest tie-up – nearly 700 years. The tyrant Pisistratos commissioned the largest temple in Greece in 515 BC, ostensibly to honour Zeus, but mainly to keep his subjects occupied.

After he was overthrown, the citizens of the new democracy refused to complete what they saw as a monument to tyranny. And so the temple languished for centuries, until the Roman Emperor Hadrian recognised the opportunity it presented. He finished the temple in seven years, fitted out with a gigantic gold-and-ivory sculpture of the god, and, for good measure, added a similar one of himself. Today, only 16 of the original 104 columns remain, but their majesty still overwhelms.

Temple of Olympian Zeus
Athens, Akropoli, Athens
Area
Syntagma Square, Syngrou
Phone
210 922 6330
Website
www.culture.gr
Hours
Summer 8am- 7.30pm daily. Winter 8am-3pm daily