Temple of Athena Nike

Acropolis Area

The small but exquisitely proportioned Temple of Athena Nike sits at the southwest edge of the Acropolis, jutting in front and to the right of the Propylaia. Designed by Kallicrates, the temple was built of white Pentelic marble between 427 BC and 424 BC. The building is almost square, with four graceful Ionic columns at either end.

Only fragments remain of the frieze and relief sculptures, now replicas; the originals are in the Acropolis Museum. The frieze shows scenes from mythology, the Battle of Plataea (479 BC) and Athenians fighting Boeotians and Persians. An additional relief sculpture shows Athena Nike fastening her sandal. The temple housed a wooden statue of Athena.

The temple was dismantled in 1686, when the Turks used its stones to build a bastion against the Venetians. From 1836 to 1842, it was carefully reconstructed, but this and later interventions had to be corrected starting in 2003. The temple was once again dismantled, piece by piece, and painstakingly rebuilt without corrosive iron and using new marble from ancient quarries to fill in gaps; this gleams white in contrast with the old stones.

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