The Temple of Olympian Zeu, also known as the Olympieion or Columns of the Olympian Zeus, is a colossal ruined temple in the center of the Greek capital Athens that was dedicated to Zeus, king of the Olympian gods.

 

“The temple was excavated in 1889-1896 by Francis Penrose of the British School in Athens (who also played a leading role in the restoration of the Parthenon), in 1922 by the German archaeologist Gabriel Welter and in the 1960s by Greek archaeologists led by Ioannes Travlos.”

Above: A group of visitors sheltering from the heat beneath parasols at the Temple of Olympian Zeus
IMAGE: SCHOOL OF ARCHAEOLOGY, OXFORD UNIVERSITY

 

Construction began in the 6th century BC during the rule of the Athenian tyrants, who envisaged building the greatest temple in the ancient world, but it was not completed until the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century AD some 638 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.

Above: A group of visitors sheltering from the heat beneath parasols at the Temple of Olympian Zeus
IMAGE: SCHOOL OF ARCHAEOLOGY, OXFORD UNIVERSITY