The Erechtheion is an ancient Greek temple on the north side of the Acropolis of Athens, in Greece.
The temple takes its name from Poseidon Erechtheus, the mythical king of Attica, but it is actually the Temple of Athena Polias (guardian of the city) and it is also the place of worship of other very ancient deities of Athens.
The wooden statue of worship of Athena stood in one part of the cell; the other was divided into three areas and contained the altars of Poseidon and Erichthonios (the half-man, half-serpent son of Hephaistos and Mother Earth, who was protected by Athena), Hephaistos and the Attic hero Boutes.
In the small precinct devoted to the nymph Pandrosos, situated in another part of the temple, grew the olive tree sacred to Athena.
A stairway led from the precinct of Pandrosos to the tomb of Kekrops, the mythical king of Athens.
The temple, built in the last twenty years of the Vth century BC over the remains of two older temples has an unusual design compared to the usual design of Greek temples, since it is designed to house several cults, and it is also unusual for its position in a very craggy part of the Acropolis.
Photo credits by Carole Raddato, under Creative Commons BY-SA-2.0.
The central body consists of the cell, which is divided into two sectors and preceded by an Ionic colonnade consisting of six columns. Behind the cell is the precinct of Pandrosos.
On the north side there is a portico containing an altar. Here, according to tradition, Poseidon is supposed to have pointed his trident and made a fountain of pure water spring up, on the occasion of the contest with Athena for the possession of Attica.
On the east side is another portico, known as the Porch of the Caryatids: in place of the columns are six statues of girls, holding up the architrave.
Due to pollution, the statues have been replaced with plaster casts: the originals are kept in the Acropolis Museum, with the exception of one, which is in the British Museum in London.
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