Positioned near the gateway to the Acropolis, the Temple of Athena Nike, the goddess of victory, is an elegant small structure, just to the side of the main path, built on a sheer rampart topping a rocky outcrop that looks down over the hill. This little temple outside the gates has had a checkered history.
A temple dedicated to Athena was first built on the spot in the 6th century BC, but destroyed by the Persians. Rebuilt in the 5th century during the wars against Sparta, it must have been intended to attract the favor of the goddess of victory. The temple remained standing until the Turkish rulers of Athens demolished it in 1686 to build defenses from the stones. It was restored in the 19th and 20th centuries to its original graceful appearance.
From the wars between Athens and Sparta, through the Greek war of independence, to the Second World... Read more