Erechtheion in Athens
The elegant building known as the Erechtheion, on the north side of the sacred rock of the Acropolis, was erected in 421-406 BC as a replacement of an earlier temple dedicated to Athena Polias, the so-called ''Old temple''.
The name ''Erechtheion'', mentioned only by Pausanias (1, 26, 5), derives from Erechtheus, the mythical king of Athens, who was worshipped there. Other texts refer to the building simply as ''temple'' or ''old temple''.
The building owes its unusual shape to the irregularity of the terrain - there is a three-metre difference in height between the eastern and western parts - and the multiple cults it was designed to accommodate.
The eastern part of the building was dedicated to Athena Polias, while the western part served the cult of Poseidon-Erechtheus and held the altars of Hephaistus and Voutos, brother of Erechtheus. This is where, according to the myth, Athena's sacred snake lived. The sanctuary also contained the grave of Kekrops and the traces of the dispute between Athena and Poseidon for the possession of the city of Athens.
The temple was made of Pentelic marble, the frieze of Eleusinian grey stone with white relief figures attached to it and the foundations of Piraeus stone.
On its east side, an Ionic portico with six columns sheltered the entrance to the east part of the building. Inside was the cult statue of Athena, made of olive wood, which the Arrhephoroi draped with the sacred peplos during the Panathenaic festival.
On the north side is the entrance to the west part of the building, sheltered by a pi-shaped propylon with four Ionic columns along the fa?ade and one on either side. The stone paving of this propylon was thought to preserve the traces made by Poseidon's trident when it hit the ground and produced salt water. Under the temple's floor was, according to tradition, the ''Erechtheis Sea'' where the waters from Poseidon's salt-water spring gathered. A small door on the west side led to the sanctuary of Pandrosos, which stood west of the Erechtheion.
Four Ionic columns on a high stylobate, with metal railings between them, adorned the west fa?ade. Finally, another door on the south facade of the western temple opened onto the porch of the Karyatides, a pi-shaped structure with six female statues instead of columns to support the roof. Created by Alkamemes or Kallimachos, the statues were later named Karyatides after the young women from Karyes of Lakonia who danced in honour of the goddess Artemis. Five of them are in the Acropolis Museum and another in the British Museum those on the building are casts. The frieze probably depicted scenes related to the mythical kings of Athens.
The temple burned in the first century BC and was subsequently repaired with minor alterations. In the Early Christian period it was converted into a church dedicated to the Theometor (Mother of God). It became palace under Frankish rule and the residence of the Turkish commander's harem in the Ottoman period.
In the early nineteenth century, Lord Elgin removed one of the Karyatides and a column and during the Greek War of Independence the building was bombarded and severely damaged. Restoration was undertaken immediately after the end of the war and again in 1979-1987, when the Erechtheion became the first monument of the Acropolis to be restored as part of the recent conservation and restoration project. Its restoration received the Europa Nostra award.
Access to the Archaeological Site
- From the pedestrian walkway of Dionysiou Areopagitou through Pikionis str (ACROPOLIS METRO).
- From the archaeological site of the South Slope of Acropolis (ACROPOLIS METRO).
- From the archaeological site of the Ancient Agora (MONASTIRAKI METRO).
- From Plaka (MONASTIRAKI METRO).
For your stay in Athens, you can book a room in one of the hotels and Bed & Breakfast inns.
Close to Athens, as well as in many other areas, there are hotels and accommodations of various categories and types (rooms to let, residences, Bed & Breakfast inns, studios, hostels, guesthouses and furnished apartments) that can satisfy every visitor's demands and needs for a pleasant and enjoyable stay.
You will find wonderful hotels, rooms and apartments to let of all categories and price ranges.
Access - Tranportation
Access to Athens through the existing road network in Attica is quick and easy, Syngrou ave (by south suburbs), Piraeus ave (by Piraeus' areas), Mesogion Ave (by north suburbs, east Attica, Kiffisias (by north suburbs), Lenorman (by west suburbs) and Acharnon (by the National highway and north suburbs).
Access from all the other parts of Greece is through Athens - Thessaloniki and Athens - Patra National road networks and from the islands through Piraeus, Rafina and Lavrio ports.
Indicative routes and distances:
Thessaloniki: 503 km
Patra: 214 km
Ioannina: 421 km
Sparti: 214 km
By bus, metro, train, tram, suburban railway and airplane:
See detailed information for traveling by public transport in the special page of HotelsLine.
For your convenience, you can use the route map on the field "Routes" with information about the mileage, the time you need and the route you will follow, selecting the points of interest.