Sanctuary of Athena Pronaia! (Delphi)

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The tholos of the sanctuary of Athena Pronaia, clearly visible from above, is perhaps the most characteristic monument at Delphi and the most important building of this small sanctuary. Located between the later temple of Athena and the Treasury of Massalia, this circular building of unknown purpose is a masterpiece of Classical architecture. It is thought to have been connected with chthonic cults, although Pausanians, who saw its ruins in the second century AD, does not refer to it as a temple.

According to Vitruvius, this impressive building was raised in 380 BC on plans by the architect Theodoros of Phocea or Phocis, who even wrote a book about the way it was built. The tholos is a synthesis of most styles of Classical architecture. It rests on a three-stepped podium and the twenty Doric columns of the outer peristyle supported a Doric frieze of triglyphs and metopes with relief decoration. Inside the cella were ten engaged Corinthian columns. A variety of materials were used in order to achieve a multi-coloured effect: Parian and Pentelic marble, and blue Eleusinian limestone for the structural details, the base of the cella wall, and the floor. The marble ceiling comprised lozenge-shaped coffers, of which several are preserved. The probable conical roof was decorated with acroteria in the shape of women, in a dance-like pose; its reconstruction remains problematic, particularly after the recent discovery of two rows of water-spouts. The building's relief decoration was disfigured by Christians in later years.

The tholos was partially restored in 1938. Several architectural members and the surviving sculptures were restored and are now on display in the Delphi Archaeological Museum. Author Dr E. Partida, archaeologist

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Comments (236)

Catherine A on April 2, 2014

good work. YSL. Best regards, Catherine.

Haggs on April 5, 2014

Very lovely capture of the ruins Like

arno18 ☮ on April 15, 2014

Beautiful photo! Well done! ♥ & ☼✰ Best regards, Arno✿ܓ

Marin Stanisic on April 17, 2014

Excellent capture, nice colours - YSL. Best regards, Marin

Omar Gobbi on April 21, 2014

Gorgeous photo , great place, LIKE & FAV , best regards. " Omar "

Haris A. on June 1, 2014

Excellent photo…nice place.


Greetings from Sarajevo


Olympia Voyiatzi - Ο… on June 18, 2014

Υπέροχη λήψη σ εναν εξαιρετικό αρχαιολογικό τόπο

EdwardTurJ on June 20, 2014

Greetings, Makis!
Amazing image!
Best wishes from Chernivtsi in Ukraine, Edward

Paweł Klasa © on July 3, 2014


vahidn on July 7, 2014

very nice

GyurIca on July 22, 2014

Excellent photo and guide!


Friendly greetings,


Lucia Mameli on July 24, 2014

Una grande foto per un luogo pieno di storia, di cultura, di leggenda: un posto "divino". F + L.Lucia.

dinuveronica on September 3, 2014

What did say oracle? YsL

All the best! Veronica

Heiner F. on September 6, 2014

Great view!


Best wishes, Heiner

Elena Omelchenko on September 27, 2014

I know, very soon I will be standing right there!

Argenna on August 22, 2015

Very beautiful image! L+F.

Greetings, Argenna.

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on February 23, 2014
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    by makis-GREECE ®