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The mythological Greek king Erechtheus is thought to have visited the Erechtheion, a well-preserved ancient temple located within the Acropolis complex.

It served as the setting for the well-known tale about Poseidon and Athena competing for the city's love. Poseidon swung his trident at the earth, creating a salt spring, but Athena triumphed by growing an olive tree, according to the legend.

The Erechtheion was a part of Pericles' intention to reconstruct after the Persian invasion, but the undertaking was put on hold when the Peloponnesian Wars broke out. Eight years after his passing, in 421 BC, construction finally got underway and was finished about 406 BC.

The Erechtheion is a remarkable structure with statues of ladies adorning its huge columns. Because they were modeled after the women of Karyes in Lakonia, these statues are known as Karyatides.

The temple, the most peculiar structure on the Acropolis, was cleverly constructed on various levels to account for the uneven bedrock. As a symbol of their reconciliation following the battle, the main temple is divided into one honoring Athena, two cellae, and the other Poseidon.

An olive wood sculpture of Athena Polias holding a weapon with a gorgon's head stood in Athena's cella. A portion from the original tree that Athena gave the city is reported to have produced an olive plant outside the temple. A cutting taken during World War Two to save the tree from annihilation during the fighting was used to plant the current tree in 1952.

There are a few steps up the border wall that lead to Poseidon's cella, the northern porch. There are six Ionic columns in it. According to tradition, either Poseidon's trident during his battle with Athena or Zeus' thunderbolt when he murdered the legendary monarch Erechtheus caused the rift in the floor.

The Erechtheion was the final ancient public structure constructed on the Acropolis; the only other structure was a modest temple dedicated to Augustus and Rome, which is no longer there.

In the Erechtheion itself, replicas of four of the founding statues are now on show in the adjacent Acropolis Museum. One of the two remaining statues, which is a component of the Elgin Marbles, is housed in the British Museum. The final statue is only partially complete and is also on display in the Acropolis Museum.

A sacred area of the Acropolis was the site of the Erechtheion. The Acropolis is located at the very center of contemporary Athens. Several metro stations and entrances provide access to the location. Acropoli is the nearest Metro stop. Since the Acropolis is a popular tourist destination, it is best to arrive early to avoid the busiest hours.

  • imageDuration Required
    4 hours

Address of Erechtheion

Acropolis, Athens 10558 Greece

Opening & Closing time of Erechtheion

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