In ancient Greece, temples were not places of worship but monuments dedicated to the beloved gods and goddesses. Many important ancient temples are located in Greece and other countries, such as Italy, which were then part of the ancient Greek empire.
The Parthenon, located on the top of the Acropolis, is dedicated to Athena, goddess of wisdom and patron goddess of Athens. The Parthenon was built in the mid 5th century BC and was originally constructed to replace an older temple that was destroyed by the Persians. The statue of Athena, which stood in the temple, was made from ivory, silver and gold but was stolen and later destroyed.
Valley of the Temples
The Valley of the Temples is located in Sicily, Italy, and has some the most outstanding examples of Greek architecture. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and includes temples dedicated to Concordia, Juno and Heracles.
Temple of Hephaestus
The Temple of Hephaestus, dedicated to the god of metal-working and craftsmanship, is located in Athens, Greece. The temple was designed by Ictinus, one of the Parthenon’s architects. The Temple of Hephaestus is the best-preserved ancient Greek temple in the world.
Paestum, an ancient Greek city located in Southern Italy, contains three well-preserved Greek temples. Two of the three were dedicated to Hera, goddess of marriage and childbirth, while the third one, located apart from the temples of Hera, was dedicated to Athena.
Doric Temple of Segesta
The temple is situated in the northwestern part of Sicily, Italy. The Doric Temple of Segesta was constructed in the 5th century BC. However, it appears that the temple was never actually finished as tabs that might have been used as lifting blocks still remain in the blocks of the base.
Temple of Apollo Epicurius
The Temple of Apollo Epicurius is located in the Peloponnese, southern Greece, on the archaeological site Bassae. It is not a typical example of ancient Greek temple as it is aligned north-south rather than the standard east-west due to the limited space on the steep mountain.
The Erechtheum, located on the north side of the Acropolis in Athens, is dedicated to the Greek hero Erichthonius. The most famous aspect of the temple is the part supported by the six Caryatids.
Temple of Zeus in Cyrene
The Temple of Zeus in Cyrene is located in Libya and was built in the 5th century BC. The temple has been destroyed and re-built multiple times. I was destroyed in 115 AD during a Jewish rebellion and restored five years later under Roman order. The temple was again destroyed by an earthquake in 365 AD and restored in the contemporary era by British and Italian archaeologists.
Temple of Poseidon
The Temple of Poseidon is situated in Sounion, on the tip of the Attica peninsula, and is surrounded by sea. It has many similarities to the Temple of Hephaestus, suggesting that it was possibly built by the same architect.
Temple of Olympian Zeus
The Temple of Olympian Zeus, located in central Athens, is a colossal ruined temple that was dedicated to Zeus. Its construction began in the 6th century BC but was not completed until the 2nd century AD. It was considered the largest and most impressive temple in Greece but today only a fragment remains.