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  • Day63

    Arch of Hadrian, Athens

    October 31, 2018 in Greece ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    Next stop for the day was the Arch of Hadrian and the Temple of Olympian Zeus. The Arch of Hadrian is most commonly known in Greek as Hadrian’s Gate and is a monumental gateway resembling a Roman triumphal arch. It spanned an ancient road from the centre of Athens to the complex of structures on the eastern side of the city that included the Temple of Olympian Zeus. It is believed that the arch was built to celebrate the arrival of the roman Emperor Hadrian on the occasion of the dedication of the nearby temple, completed in 131 or 132 AD.

    Not far from the Arch is the Temple of Olympian Zeus, a colossal ruined temple that was dedicated to Zeus, the king of the Olympian gods. Construction began in the 6th century BC but it was not completed until the 2nd century AD, 650 years after the project had begun. During the Roman periods it was renowned as the largest temple in Greece and housed one of the largest cult statues in the ancient world. The temple’s glory was short lived, as it fell into disuse after being pillaged in the 3rd century AD. It was never repaired and was reduced to ruins thereafter.

    Because we had already visited the Acropolis and seen the amazing structures there, we decided we didn’t need to go into the site and instead checked it out through the fence. Even from a distance the size of the temple pillars, upright and scattered on the ground was very impressive. Once again we were left questioning how on earth these mammoth structures were constructed.
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