Temple of Olympian Zeus

The Temple of Zeus in the city of Olympia is one of the wonders of the world. It was built in one of the most ancient cities in Greece – the city of Olympia, where in 776 BC. the first Olympic Games were held. The construction of the temple took 7 centuries. It was started during the time of the tyrant Pisistratus, in the 5th century BC. and lasted until the 2nd century AD. Shortly after the laying of the first stones of the temple, work on it stopped due to the drastic changes that occurred in the government of the state. After the establishment of democracy, the temple was considered a symbol of tyranny and therefore abandoned. Work was resumed only in 175 BC. during the reign of King Antiochus IV, who even hired a Roman architect to create the design. Soon after, however, King Antiochus died and the work was halted once more. In 132 BC Emperor Hadrian visited Athens and decided to complete the temple and place it in the center of a new area called Hadrianopolis.

Description: Temple of Olympian Zeus /picture source: Shutterstock.com/’; 

Only 15 of the 104 massive columns that once supported this majestic temple survive to this day. There was another column, but it was knocked down as a result of a stormy wind in 1852. and is left where it fell. Each of the columns has a diameter of 2 meters and is made of Pentelic marble. It is believed that the temple housed two statues sculpted by Phidias – one of Hadrian and one of Zeus. The statue of Olympian Zeus is one of the ancient seven wonders of the world. it was as high as 12 meters. The body of the god was made of wood covered with ivory and his clothes with gold. In one hand he held a scepter, and in the other a 5-meter statue of the goddess of victory, Nike. The statue was later moved to Constantinople. Although Christianity was already the official religion of the Byzantine Empire, no one dared to destroy the magnificent work of Phidias. However, this was caused by a fire that broke out in the palace of Theodosius II in the 5th century.

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