On the western edge of the Ancient Agora, the Temple of Hephaistos, god of the forge, was surrounded by foundries and metalwork shops. It was one of the first buildings of Pericles' rebuilding program and is one of the best-preserved Doric temples in Greece.
Built in 449 BC by Iktinos, one of the architects of the Parthenon, it has 34 columns and a frieze on the eastern side depicting nine of the Twelve Labours of Hercules.
In AD 1300 it was converted into the Church of Agios Georgios. The last service held here was on 13 December 1834, in honour of King Otto's arrival in Athens.
In 1922 and 1923, it was a shelter for refugees from Asia Minor. Iconic photos from that period show families hanging laundry among the pillars, and white tents set up all along the temple's base.