The Temple of Hephaestus
On top of Agoraios Kolonos hill, once delimiting the Ancient Agora of Athens to the west, stands the Temple of Hephaestus (also known as the Hephaisteion). It is one of the best preserved ancient temples, partly because it was transformed into a Christian church. According to the traveler and geographer Pausanias, two deities were jointly worshipped in the temple: god Hephaestus, protector of all metallurgists, and goddess Athena Ergani, protecting all potters and the cottage industries. The temple was probably erected between 460 and 420 BC by a yet unknown architect, to whom, however, are attributed other temples of similar structure in the Attica region. In the seventh century AD, the temple was converted into a church dedicated to Hagios Georgios Akamas, and thus stayed in use until the liberation of Greece from the Turkish occupation. During the eighteenth century, many eminent Protestants, who died in Athens, were interred in the edifice, while in 1834 it hosted the ceremony of the first reception of king Otto. Hence the temple was used as an archaeological museum, until 1930, when the American School for Classical Studies in Athens started excavations in the Ancient Agora.