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.
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