Visiting Athens’ Grand Erechtheion Temple

An elegant temple constructed in the Ionic style, the Erechtheion lies on the northern side of the Acropolis. When visiting the Parthenon, we highly recommend you spend time viewing this stunning ancient building up close, as it’s one of the most striking historical buildings in all of Athens.

Insights Greece - Visiting Athens’ Grand Erechtheion Temple
Athens’ elegant temple

Dedicated to the Greek god Poseidon and the goddess Athena, the temple was built at the same time as the Parthenon and was designed by Classical Greek architect Mnesikles. It actually replaced the “Archaios Neos” (Ancient Temple) of Athena Polias, part of which had been destroyed by the Persians sixty years earlier.

The new temple was divided into two chambers: an eastern room dedicated to Athena and a lower western room that houses shrines of Poseidon-Erechtheus, Hephaistos, and Boutes, the brother of Erechtheus.

The Erechtheion’s unique form resulted from the architect’s need to accommodate all of these figures within one building, while also adapting its structure to the site’s uneven ground.

An Ionic frieze surrounded the Erechtheion’s main building and north porch, decorated with figures of gods, heroes and mortals. The figures were almost fully carved, and they were created from white Parian marble and attached with metal fasteners to slabs of grey Eleusinian limestone.

Notable features include the sacred olive tree to the south-west, the mark of Poseidon’s trident to the north marked by the saltwater well and this sacred site is also said to be the burial place of Kings Kekrops and Erechtheus.

Insights Greece - Visiting Athens’ Grand Erechtheion Temple
Set on the northern side of the Acropolis

The Erechtheion’s best-known feature by far is the south porch, whose roof, instead of being supported on columns, rested on the heads of six Korai statues – the famous Caryatids. Created by Alkamemes or Kallimachos, the statues were later named Caryatids after the young women from Karyes of Laconia who danced in honour of the goddess Artemis. Five of them are now found in the Acropolis Museum, displayed on a special balcony and visible from all sides, while the position of the sixth Kore, still held in the British Museum, has been left empty.

Tips and Information on Visiting the Erechtheion Temple

-If you really want to get to know all the history behind this sacred temple, we suggest a tour by a professional guide. In fact, a good tour will give you a nice overview of the entire Acropolis while also spending time on the history and architecture of the Erechtheion.

Insights Greece - Visiting Athens’ Grand Erechtheion Temple
See it up close when visiting the Parthenon

-The temple is open every day (excluding public holidays).

-The Acropolis Athens pass covers entry to The Erechtheion. This ticket is valid for 48 hours and covers entry to other archaeologically important sights as well.

-If you visit in summer, we recommend heading to the temple early morning or very late in the afternoon, this will ensure you avoid the heat and the crowds.

-Wear comfortable shoes with a good grip. The marble tends to be slippery.

– Make sure to visit the nearby Acropolis Museum to see the original Caryatids and a host of fascinating archaeological finds from the Acropolis site.

Visiting Athens’ Striking Stoa of Attalos 

The Stoa of Attalos is part of the historical Ancient Agora site in the centre of Athens, built around 150 BC by the king of Pergamon Attalos II, as a gift to the city. 

Stoa of Attalos is an impressively large building that spans over two levels and highlights Hellenistic architecture at its best. The ground level is inspired by the Doric style and the first floor is Ionic. The building features walls made of limestone, the facade was created using marble from Mount Penteli, and the roof is covered with tiles.  

Insights Greece - Visiting Athens’ Striking Stoa of Attalos 
Stoa of Attalos

This glorious building was once a cultural, social, and commercial hub, housing all kinds of shops leased by the State of Athens, and is described as an “ancient shopping centre,” and a busy spot where Athenians gathered socially to catch up with other locals while doing a spot of shopping.

The Stoa of Attalos is said to have been home to 21 shops (on each floor) lining the western wall. Visitors are able to get an idea of life during ancient Athens times through the vast collection of everyday objects which were unearthed during recent excavations. 

Facts About Stoa of Attalos 

-The Stoa’s dimensions are 115 by 20 meters wide (377 by 65 feet wide).

-There were five Stoas connected to the Agora and the Stoa of Attalos was named after King Attalos II of Pergamon who reigned from 159-138 BC. 

-A second Stoa, the Stoa of Eumenes II, was built by the brother of Attalos, on the southern side of the Acropolis. 

-The Stoa was open at either end on the ground floor, with a wall running along the western side on each floor with windows and doors leading to 21 small rooms.

Insights Greece - Visiting Athens’ Striking Stoa of Attalos 
Museum of Ancient Agora

The Museum Gallery 

The exhibition in the Museum gallery is home to archaeological finds from the excavations made by the American School of Classical Studies in the area and dates from the Neolithic to the Post-byzantine and Ottoman periods. The Museum exhibition is organised in chronological and thematic units that reveal aspects of the public and private life in ancient Athens. 

Here you will find an interesting collection of artifacts on display including marble statues, parts of columns, coins, ceramic vases, pottery, items of daily use, and there is an ancient ballot box and a ‘klepsydra’ which was a water clock used for timing public speakers in the courthouses.

Also look out for a giant statue of the god Apollo, a large statue of a female figure (goddess or queen), the tomb of a young girl that dates from the Geometric times, and a bronze Spartan shield that the Athenians took as a war prize in the Battle of Sfaktiria (425 BC).

Insights Greece - Visiting Athens’ Striking Stoa of Attalos 
Ancient Agora

Getting there

The Stoa of Attalos is situated below the Acropolis and within the Ancient Agora in the heart of Athens. The main entrance to the Stoa is Adrianou Street which is about 700 meters from Syntagma Square. There is a smaller entrance from Thisseion Square. The nearest Metro station is Thisseion or Monastiraki. 

A: Adrianou Street, 24, Thissio