All You Need to Know About the Temple of Olympian Zeus

In this article, we will discover all you need to know about visiting the Temple of Olympian Zeus in Athens.

Athens is a city full of glorious historical monuments, colourful sites, exciting clubs, open-air markets, and festivals.

From Greco-Roman to modern, all curious visitors have the chance to admire the variety of architectural styles, lively art scene, and gorgeous surroundings steeped in ancient history.

When exploring for the first time, it is a good idea to divide your adventure into parts. The Temple of Zeus is considered the largest temple ever built in the ancient world, and thanks to its size, it is truly awe-inspiring.

Here is what you should know before visiting the magnificent monument in Athens, and be sure to check out this 3-day Athens itinerary.

The History Behind the Famous Temple

The ruins of the largest temple in Greece are truly astonishing. Located south-east of Athens Acropolis, the columns reach 17 meters in height. Although only 15 of the original 104 columns remain, the Temple of Olympian Zeus in the centre of Athens is still an incredible sight to witness.

It seems unbelievable, but the construction of the temple began around the 6th century BC and, due to lack of adversities, lasted for about 700 years until 131AD. The stunning building was built in honour of the main god of Olympus – Zeus.

But, unfortunately, the life of this temple was quite short because already in the 3rd century, it was plundered by barbarians. The glorious monument was not restored.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, the ruins of the temple were used to obtain building materials for other parts of the city. Nowadays, the historical site is one of the most popular attractions in Athens that thousands of tourists swarm to every year.

Facts about the Temple of Zeus

The past of the historical building is quite fascinating. For example, did you know that the Temple of Olympian Zeus was once destroyed by an earthquake? Yes, you read that right. In medieval times, an earthquake occurred that destroyed sections of the temple.

Here are some other interesting facts about the Temple of Zeus:

● In 1852, another storm hit and caused a lot of damage to the great statue of Zeus. That is also when one of the 16 columns broke.

● The Corinthian-style Arch of Hadrian was once used as a gate that separated original Athens from the new Roman suburb of Hadrianopolis.

● For some time, the temple was abandoned. However, in the early 19th century, it was occupied by monks living a frugal lifestyle. It seems almost unbelievable, but they lived on top of the columns and would receive gifts from curious visitors.

● If you are lucky enough – you might catch a concert at the ancient site. Nowadays, the temple of Olympian Zeus has become a popular venue for all kinds of events.

Archaeological Pits
Archaeological Pits

How to get there

The easiest way to get to the temple is by using a metro (line 2). After you exit at the stop “Acropolis”, simply follow the path towards Syggrou Avenue. When you reach the cross, you should be able to see the columns. Within 10 minutes you will arrive at the famous site.

Since the Temple of Olympian Zeus is located in a central area of Athens, you can also easily access it on foot.

Another option is to take a bus or a trolleybus. In the area, you will find plenty of stops.

Best time to visit the Olympian Temple of Zeus

If you wish to have the ultimate experience and get the best views, try to plan your visit during sunrise or sunset hours. Keep in mind that the Temple of Zeus is one of the most loved attractions in Athens. Therefore it can get quite crowded.

To avoid this, try to arrive at the site as early as possible.

Temple of Olympian Zeus Tickets

The Temple of Olmpyian Zeus
Fallen Pillars and Corinthian Columns at The Temple of Olympian Zeus

Those who don’t mind seeing the temple from outside can easily skip buying the ticket. But if you would like to get an up-close look, the admission price is €6 (if you are wearing a heavy metal shirt, you might even be given free entry as happened to my friend and I)!

However, visitors up to the age of 25 from EU countries don’t have to pay for the ticket. The admission is free of charge also for children up to 5 years old (even if they aren’t EU citizens).

Places to see nearby

The Acropolis, Athens
The Acropolis, Athens

If visiting just the temple isn’t enough for you and you would like to get a bigger dose of culture and history, make sure to include Acropolis, the New Acropolis Museum, and Plaka in your itinerary. Conveniently, they are all located within short walking distance.

When discovering Athens for the first time, not exploring its historical monuments is a true crime. What might be one of the most important landmarks of the stunning city of Athens will surely impress even those not interested in history.

Visit the Temple of Zeus and discover more about the ancient world. We promise you – it will be an unforgettable experience!

If you’re travelling to Greece with your family, check out this guide to Greece with the kids.

Dunhuang, Gobi Desert, China

About the author:

Steve Rohan is a writer from Essex, England. He has traveled to over 60 countries, lived in Armenia, China and Hong Kong, and is now living the digital nomad life on the road.

Steve prefers “slow travel” and has covered much of the world by train, bus and boat. He has been interviewed multiple times by the BBC and recently featured in the documentary Scariest Places in the World. See the About page for more info.

Where I am now: Yerevan, Armenia 🇦🇲

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