Photographer's Note

Temple of Hephaestus - Thiseion, from Areopagus! She found the perfect place!

The Temple of Hephaestus is the best-preserved ancient Greek temple in the world, but is far less well-known than its illustrious neighbour, the Parthenon. The temple is also known as the Hephaesteum and the Theseum, due to a belief current in Byzantine times that the bones of the legendary Greek hero Theseus were buried there; in fact the bones alleged to be those of Theseus were buried in the 5th century BC at another site nearer to the Acropolis.

Built of marble from Mount Pentelus, in the Doric style, the temple is hexastyle, that is with six columns under the pedimented ends, and has thirteen columns on each side (counting the corner columns twice). The temple is peripteral, with columns entirely surrounding the central enclosed cella. In the entablature there is the plain frieze that is expected with the sober Doric mode, but above it in the spaces between the triglyphs— which are like decoratively grooved beam-ends pegged into place— the labours of Heracles are depicted in bas-relief.
Unlike the Parthenon, the temple has all its columns and pediments intact, and even has most of its original roof. Its friezes and other decorations, however, have inevitably been badly damaged by thieves and looters over the centuries. It owes its survival to its conversion to a Christian Church, the Church of St George, in the 7th century AD. The survival of the exterior came at the cost of the ancient interior, which was removed and replaced by the structures of a Christian church.
During the centuries of Ottoman rule in Greece, the temple was the main Greek Orthodox church in Athens. When the first king of independent Greece, King Othon, entered the city in 1834, the service welcoming him to his new capital was held in the church.

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Additional Photos by Aleksandar Dekanski (dekanski) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 308 W: 128 N: 1008] (7047)
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