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Temple of Athena Nike

Next to the Propylaea lies the Acropolis' earliest Ionic temple, built for the goddess of victory and restored after its destruction in 1686.

TravelCurious Tip

It may not be the star of the show, but the Temple of Athena Nike still draws a large crowd - try to arrive early to avoid the rush.

Prominently located on a steep clifftop at the south-west corner of the Acropolis, the Temple of Athena Nike is a superb example of classic Greek architecture in the Ionic style. At just 9m long, 6m wide and 7m high, it is very modestly proportioned when compared to the nearby monoliths of the Parthenon and the Propylaea, but still manages to impress through the beauty of its design.


Just Do It

It is a "tetrastyle" structure, meaning that each of the two porticos on its east and west sides are supported by four columns. Like many of the structures on the acropolis, the temple is built predominantly from white Pentelic marble, which gleams radiantly in the sun from its position above the city. If you are outraged at the apparent hijacking of an ancient temple by a modern sports brand, fear not - "Nike" is a greek work for victory, and it was in this form that the ancient greeks often worshipped Athena, as the goddess of victory in war. There is a famous frieze of her adjusting her sandal which was originally located in the temple, but has since been removed to the Acropolis museum.


Built and Rebuilt

The Temple has had a turbulent history, even by the standards of the Acropolis. In 1686 it was entirely demolished by the Ottoman Turks so that they could place a large cannon on its foundations, and was not reassembled for another 150 years. At the beginning of the 21st century it was was again dismantled so that repairs could be made to its foundations, but finally it stands proudly today as a shining example of Greek craftsmanship.


Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Athens
Acropolis
An ancient citadel high above the city, this group of stunning ruins are among the most important cultural icons of Western civilisation.
Parthenon
Crowning the Acropolis hill, the sublime marble columns of the Parthenon form the most recognisable monument in Athens.
Erechtheion
This temple across from the Parthenon is famous for its Caryatids, the six larger-than-life female columns which support its roof.
Propylaea
This stunning monumental gateway leads onto the plateau of the Acropolis.
Odeon of Herodes Atticus
Built on the Acropolis' southwest slope in memory of the beloved wife of magnate Atticus, this 2nd century theatre is still used today as a venue for live performances.
Areopagus Hill
Also known as the Rock of Ares, this outcrop is famed as the location of Paul's sermon to the Athenians.

Related Tours

The Acropolis of Athens Live Virtual Tour
Discover the ancient archaeological site of the Acropolis of Athens on a live virtual tour from the birthplace of democracy and philosophy, and the home of Plato, Sophocles and Thucydides.

You will virtually walk uphill on the Acropolis Sacred Rock and stop above the Herodion, a roman age amphitheatre built in the 2nd century AD which has amazing acoustics and it's one of the most celebrated theatres in Greece. 

The next stop will be in front of the Propylaia (the Monumental Gateway) to admire the impressive 2500 years old Doric columns. 

Looking towards the left side you will find the Temple of Athena Nike, a shrine dedicated to Victorious Athena. Athena and Nike were both worshipped there. 

Across the Acropolis, you will see:
  • the Hill of Pnyx, the place where the citizen's popular assembly met to vote when the first democracy was established; 
  • the Hill of the Nymphs with the National Observatory on its top; 
  • the Hill of Ares (Hill of Mars) where Apostle Paul preached Christianity many centuries later,
  • the Agora of Athens, the market, and the heart of democracy and philosophy as Socrates and Plato taught their ideas.
Walking through the Monumental Gateway you will discover the Erechteion, famous for its Caryatids porch with the 6 lady statues, and after looking at the elegant sculptures you will find the sacred olive tree of Goddess Athena. This tree was a gift to the people of Athens, and you will hear the story behind its appearance.

Your final stop will be the Parthenon, the symbol of democratic Athens, and although all the lines of the temple appear to be straight, the structure is in fact curved.  Join this virtual tour and your tour guide will tell you why!


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