Athen’s Temple of Olympian Zeus is a colossal temple in the city’s centre that took 700 years to build and was dedicated to Zeus, King of the Gods. With its 56’ high columns and 315’ length it was even larger than the famed Parthenon!
HISTORY: Begun in the 6th Century BC by Peisistratus, work was stopped either because of a lack of money or because Peisistratus's son, Hippias, was overthrown in 510 BC.
During the years of Greek democracy, the Temple was left unfinished, apparently because the Greeks of this classical period thought it anti-democratic to build on such a scale. Aristotle cited the Temple as an example of how tyrannies engaged the populace in great works for the state and left them no time, energy, or means to rebel. The Temple was not finished until the Emperor Hadrian completed it in 131 AD, seven hundred years later.
The Temple's glory was short-lived, however, as it fell into disuse after being pillaged in a barbarian invasion in the 3rd century AD. It was probably never repaired and was reduced to ruins thereafter. In the centuries after the fall of the Roman Empire, the Temple was extensively quarried for building materials to supply building projects elsewhere in the city. Despite this, you will have a wonderful time being dwarfed by its former glory. The substantial remains are a major attraction in Athens.