Temple of Apollo in Syracuse

Temple of Apollo in Syracuse

Allie_Caulfield - CC2.0


 Largo XXV Luglio - Siracusa (SR)

The Temple of Apollo of Syracuse is the Doric stone temple the oldest in all of Sicily .
The temple dates back to the 6th century BC. and has a history that has been rather troubled: it became a Byzantine church, an Arab mosque, a Norman basilica and finally incorporated into a Spanish barracks, at the time of Charles V. The religious building was brought to light, by chance, around the middle of the 1800s. < br> The temple was built by Cleomenes, tyrant of Syracuse and was built by the architect Epicles. The original structure is a very elongated building oriented to the east as was the practice for all Greek temples, which rests on massive stepped substructures built with sandstone blocks. The original project included six front and 17 side columns with an archaic plan and the columns obtained directly from large monolithic blocks. A second row of columns on the eastern facade preceded the room in front of the cell, the pronaos, characterized by the presence of two other columns between the ends of the perimeter walls. The cell was divided into three naves by two rows of 7 columns, arranged on two floors. Behind the cell, in a symmetrical position with respect to the pronaos, was the adyton, a compartment closed to the outside.
On the top step of the eastern side an inscription on the stone is engraved, contemporary with the construction of the temple and about 8 m long: "Kleomene made for Apollo, the son of Knidieidas, and raised the colonnades, beautiful works ". The inscription makes it possible to ascertain the divinity to whom the sanctuary was dedicated and, very rare, to know the name of the architect.
Fragments of the splendid polychrome terracotta coatings that decorated the outside part top of the temple covering the wooden elements are kept in the Paolo Orsi Regional Archaeological Museum .
The south and west sides preserve the remains of the enclosure wall of the sanctuary, the temenos. The remains of a wall and a tower, leaning against the temple, on the west side belong to a fortification wall from the Byzantine period.

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