Temple Hopping in Greece
Aside from its undeniable rich history and fascinating culture, Greece is internationally known for its trademark architecture. Among their many world-renowned landmarks, the Hellenic Republic’s beautiful temples still stand as not only one of the country’s main tourist attractions, but also as a reminder that Greece is one of the oldest and most durable civilizations that has ever existed. In this article we will take a look at five of the most recognizable Greek temples that you should visit if you happen to travel to Greece
Temple of Olympian Zeus
Ancient History highlights that the Temple of Zeus is one of the largest temples ever built in ancient history thanks to its ambitious layout and distinctively tall columns. Such was the ambition of the temple that it took 700 hundred years to be completed. During its heyday, the temple featured numerous gigantic statues of Zeus made out of gold and chryselephantine. As Athens is likely to be the first stop for any visitor to Greece, the Temple of Olympian Zeus is the best place to start your temple hopping. You can see more on what to do in Athens here.
Temple of Athena
If there’s one thing you should know about the Temple of Athena, it is that it was once a temple that exhibited lavishness in the name of the Greek goddess of wisdom, craft, and war, Athena. Trip Savvy notes that the Temple of Athena used to display many treasures and including a humungous statue of Athena, constructed out of gold and elephant ivory. The temple is located within the Acropolis of Athens, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A good tip when snapping photos at the location is that the best angle and vantage point is from the far end of the Parthenon. The temple also offers fine views of Athens.
Temple of Apollo
In Delphi, lies one Greece’s most important temples, the Temple of Apollo. After being originally erected in the 7th century BC, the Coastal Carolina University chronicles how the Temple of Apollo was considered the center of the earth in Greek myths. Such was its importance that the temple was rebuilt six times. The remains from the sixth building are all that is left. Visitors can see remaining fragments of statues from the temple in the Delphi Archaeological Museum.
Apollo is one of the most recognizable gods from Greek culture as he represented culture and knowledge. Today Apollo continues to have a prominent role in our culture. The most famous example is the NASA Apollo Space Program that was named after the god. Alongside Zeus, Hades, and Hercules, Apollo is one of the Greek gods that is most closely associated with Greek mythology. This is shown by his appearance in many modern mediums due to his connection with indulgence and extravagance. Apollo: God of The Sun on gaming platform Slingo features gameplay, graphics, and design that take elements from the mythology surrounding the god and combine it with a modern entertainment platform. While at first the gaming site may appear to have very little to do with Apollo, it is through pop culture mediums such as this why the Greek myths continue to remain an important part of history and culture. That being said, the best way to honor the god is by visiting the temple made in his name.
Temple of Hades
It’s easy to be spooked by the mere idea of Hades, the Greek god of the underworld, who is historically associated with death and black magic. However, when you step into his temple at ancient city of Ephyra, a new sense of appreciation will come over you. The temple is devoted to necromancy in the name of Hades and Persephone. Ancient Origin underscores that the Necromanteion is a site where Greek people of the past tried to communicate and seek counsel from the deceased via an elaborate ritual involved animal sacrifice. The temple is believed to be haunted. As a tourist, this is certainly one place you can include in your “most thought-provoking sites ever visited” list.
Temple of Poseidon
The Temple of Poseidon, located in Cape Sounion, is a breathtaking site overlooking the Aegean Sea. Getting to the site is an adventure on its own as you walk a scenic route that is reminiscent of Greece’s grandeur from the glory days. Legend has it that the Temple of Poseidon was built to wish Athenian warriors and sea farers well, and inversely, welcome them home as they would return from battles and expeditions. This was the first point the Athenians could see as they traveled back home and the last glimpse of Greece as they left. For a traveler it is the perfect place to end your temple hopping and say farewell to the beautiful country.
To learn more about Greece, you can check out our posts here:
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*This post was written by a guest contributor to MeWantTravel, Sarah Hardy. You can see her bio at the end of this post.
Author bio: Sarah Hardy is a travel blogger. She plans to see as much of the world as she can, to encourage others to follow in her footsteps. One of the most exciting parts of globetrotting is combining it with her other passion which is history.