Temple of Athena Nike, Athens

Temple of Athena Nike, Athens (must see)

Measuring a mere 11 feet (3.3 meters) in height, this small, jewelbox-like temple often escapes notice amid the grandeur of the Acropolis. Positioned atop the rock wall to the right of the Propylaea Gate, it comes into view as you enter the Acropolis site from the upper right.

Despite being destroyed twice in its history, it has been meticulously reconstructed since the turn of the millennium, using original masonry fragments. As a result, you can now appreciate its immaculate symmetrical design, featuring four Ionic columns at each end, much as it appeared in 420 BC when Athenians gathered here to commemorate their victories over the Persians (the temple's frieze showcases scenes from the Battle of Plataea in 479 BC).

Designed by Kallikrates, the temple served dual roles as an observation point and an ancient shrine dedicated to the goddess of Victory, Athena Nike. A remarkable sculpture of Athena Nike graces the balustrade of the temple. Unlike typical statues, which usually depict the goddess with wings, this one at the temple is wingless, symbolizing that victory would never desert the city.

Legend has it that the temple's location marks the spot where King Aegeus awaited his son, Theseus, upon his return from his mission to Crete to vanquish the Minotaur. Theseus had promised to swap his ships' black sails for white upon his return but forgot his pledge. When the king saw the black sails, he assumed his son was dead and plunged into the sea, which now bears his name—the Aegean Sea.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Athens. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Temple of Athena Nike on Map

Sight Name: Temple of Athena Nike
Sight Location: Athens, Greece (See walking tours in Athens)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Athens, Greece

Create Your Own Walk in Athens

Create Your Own Walk in Athens

Creating your own self-guided walk in Athens is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Athens Food Walking Tour

Athens Food Walking Tour

Traditional Greek cuisine is one of the healthiest in the world, and prices in all but the flashiest establishments afford excellent value. The prevalence of vegetable and dairy dishes makes eating out a delight for non-meat eaters. Carefully selected appetizers (tzatzíki, dolmádes, kalamarákia) can constitute a full meal. Greece’s most famous slow-cooked oven dish, however, is probably...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 Km or 1.4 Miles
Walking Around the National Garden

Walking Around the National Garden

The National Garden is an impressive, historic park in the center of Athens, complete with artificial streams and duck ponds. Formerly known as the Royal Garden, it was commissioned by King Otto’s queen, Amalia, in 1838, reason why it is located directly behind the Old Palace (currently the Greek Parliament building). Not only is it a welcome refuge from the swirl of traffic just outside the...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 Km or 2.1 Miles
Athens Introduction Walking Tour

Athens Introduction Walking Tour

Athens is one of the oldest European cities, widely regarded as the birthplace of Western Civilization. Its history begins in the Neolithic period between 4th and 3rd millennium BC. The first settlement on the site of Athens was situated on the rock of Acropolis which means “high city” in Greek.

According to the Greek mythology, the name “Athens” emerged from a competition between the...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.2 Km or 2.6 Miles
Plaka Attractions Walking Tour

Plaka Attractions Walking Tour

In the shadow of the Acropolis stands Plaka, the most picturesque and oldest district of Athens, with continuous habitation from antiquity until today. The “neighborhood of the Gods”, as it is called, is like a romantic, atmospheric trip to old Athens adorned with antiquities, historic 19th-century buildings, museums and Byzantine churches.

From the vibrant Syntagma Square walking down...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 Km or 2.2 Miles
Walking Tour Around the Legendary Acropolis

Walking Tour Around the Legendary Acropolis

Also called "the sacred rock", the Acropolis was home to temples and sanctuaries throughout recorded history, and is a symbol of the city of Athens. Its religious importance was paramount to the ancient Greeks, and the buildings on the summit still capture the essence of their classical architecture. You can see the temples from most parts of the city, which adds to the feeling that this...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.0 Km or 0.6 Miles

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