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Friday, March 11, 2016

Temple of Olympian Zeus - Athens, Greece

The Temple of Olympian Zeus (or Olympieio) has been a ruin almost since it was built. The Athenian rulers who began its construction in the 6th century BC set out to build the greatest temple in the world, but it was not actually finished until about the 2nd century AD (over 600 years late!) by the Roman emperor Hadrian.

By then it was the largest temple in Greece, bigger than the Parthenon. In the 3rd century AD it was looted by barbarians and its glory days were over. Since then it has slowly fallen into ruin.

The temple was dedicated to the worship of Zeus, king of the gods of Mount Olympus, and once contained a massive statue of the god. Of this, there is no trace and only fifteen of its original 104 columns still stand. Over the centuries much of its marble has been recycled or stolen for other temples, or perhaps, over the centuries, a bit of garden paving.

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