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Epikurios Apollon

The temple of Epikurios Apollo stands at a height of 1130m on mount Kotilio, 14km south of Andritsaina.

At this site, which was called Vassai (little valleys) in antiquity, the inhabitants of nearby Phigaleia founded a sanctuary of Apollo Bassitas in the 7thc BC, where they worshipped the god with the epithet Epikourios- supporter in war or illness.

The temple of Apollo in the sanctuary at Vassai is one of the best-preserved monuments of the ancient Classical world.

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It was built from 420 to 400 BC on the site of an earlier Archaic temple.

It is believed that the temple was built in honor of Epikurios Apollo, as gratitude for saving their town from a plague.

The traveler Pausanias, who visited and admired the monument in the middle of the 2nd C. AD, states that its architect was Iktinos who was also the architect of the Parthenon in Athens.

The temple is the first nearly complete temple still surviving that combines all three architectural styles: Doric, Ionian and Corinthian.

It is a Doric peripteral temple made from local limestone, and consists of a prodome and a cella. It is orientated north to south.

The great originality of the monument lies in its internal design.

In the cella, there is a suggestion of a colonnade on three of the four sides, as in the Parthenon and the temple of Hephaestus (the Theseion) in Athens, but the columns on the longer sides are not free-standing.

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At the end of the cella, opposite the entrance, the free standing column (and perhaps also the two and half columns aligned with it) carried the first Corinthian capital in the history of architecture.

The colonnade supported an Ionic entablature with a relief frieze encircling the inside of the cella on all four sides. It was 31m long and consisted of 23 slabs, with scenes of Amazonomachy and a Centauromachy, have been in the British Museum since 1814. Behind the free standing Corinthian column, in the position occupied in other temples by the closed adytum, there was a small room which, while it communicated freely with the cella, nonetheless "faced" east for religious reasons, with a door opening on to the east peripteron.

The temple is now  being restored, and will be re-erected on the same location but on a new base that will allow it to withstand the earth-tremors and soil-shifting that occur in the area. For further information or details concerning the temple please call: Tel: +3-06260-22254

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You can view our portfolio of photos at www.panoramio.com/user/45649/tags/Vassae

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