Interior of Temple

Interior of Temple

View looking west, into the meager foundation remains of the once magnificent Temple of Zeus.  This structure, its altar, and the statue of Zeus, was the focal point of the festival at Olympia, and pilgrimage to it gave rise to the Olympic Games.

Six Doric columns graced each of its ends, while 13 were placed on each side.  Inside of the temple was the 44 ft. [13.5 m.] high statue of Zeus.  This statue, designed and built by Phidias in his nearby workshop, was composed of bronze, gold, ivory, and precious stones and was considered to have been one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.  The statue was constructed from 430 to 420 B.C.  Phidias was the one who had designed the statue of Athena for the Parthenon in Athens.

It was eventually taken to Constantinople (modern Istanbul) where it was destroyed in a fire in A.D. 475.

Remnants of its famous pediments and other architectural fragments are on display in the museum at Olympia.

For a description of Olympia and a map Click Here.