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The temple was begun around 427 BC and completed during the unrest of the Peloponnesian war. It was built over the remains of an earlier sixth century temple to Athena, demolished by the Persians in 480 BC.

The decision to build Athena Nike was an expression of Athens' ambitions to defeat Sparta and become a world power. Constructed from white marble, it was built in stages as wartime funding allowed.

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What to See at the Temple of Athena Nike

The Temple of Athena Nike is a tetrastyle (four columns) Ionic temple with colonnaded porticoes in the front and back. It has modest dimensions: 27 feet long, 18 1/2 feet wide and 23 feet tall. The ratio of height to diameter of the columns is 7:1, the slender proportions creating an elegance and refinement not encountered in the normal 9:1 or 10:1 of Ionic buildings.

A cult statue of Athena Nike stood inside the small 5m x 5m naos. An account by the ancient writer Pausanias describes the statue as made of wood, holding a helmet in her left hand, and a pomegranate (symbol of fertility) in her right. Unlike the famous "Winged Victory of Samothrace" in the Louvre Museum, this Nike statue was wingless. This led Athenians in later centuries to call it Nike Apteros (wing-less victory), and a legend arose that the statue was deprived of wings so she could never leave the city.

History of the Temple of Demeter

The Temple of Demeter was built in the 6th century BC. The temple was partially dismantled in the 6th century AD when a church was built over it. In later centuries the site was abandoned and plundered for its marble.

What to See at the Temple of Demeter

Until recently, there was very little to see - none of the temple was left standing. But a few years ago, it was discovered that most of the columns and stones of the original temple still remained on site, either buried or used in the ruined chapel.

It was subsequently restored by German archaeologists to its present state, which is now intact enough to show the basic form of the Temple of Demeter at Sangri. It is one of the few known temples with a square floor plan.

History of the Temple of Hephaestus

The Temple of Hephaestus and Athena was begun in 449 BC, just two years before the Parthenon. The project was sponsored by the Athenian politician Pericles and designed by an unknown architect whose handiwork can be seen throughout Attica. This temple was the first in Athens to be made of marble.

The temple has sometimes been called the Theseum due to a belief that it was a hero shrine dedicated to Theseus. This was based on the depictions of Theseus that occupy the metopes, but cult statues of Athena and Hephaestus (carved 421-15 BC) discovered in the temple has shown the designation to be incorrect.

What to See at the Temple of Hephaestus

Located on Kolonos Agoraios hill overlooking the Agora, the Temple of Hephaestus stands on an elevated platform measuring 104 feet long and 45 feet wide. A Doric peripherals temple with some Ionic elements, the temple consists of a rectangular enclosure surrounded by an outer colonnade on all four sides.

The building is constructed of Pentelic marble and decorated with sculpture in Parian marble. The ceiling is wooden, the roof tiles are made of terracotta, and there is a limestone step at the bottom of the platform.

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