© Ministry of Culture and Sports
View of ancient temple remains. At the background, Lycabetus hill is sighted
The earliest temple to Athena Polias on the Acropolis, called 'the Old temple' in ancient literary sources, was located between the Erechtheion and the Parthenon. It was probably built in the third quarter of the sixth century BC, on the site of an earlier, Geometric temple and of the even earlier Mycenaean palace. The Old temple was damaged by the Persians in 480 BC, but was repaired soon after; parts of its entablature were incorporated in the Acropolis fortification wall. The temple was damaged again in 406 BC after the completion of the Erechtheion and was never rebuilt. Traces of the temple's altar to Athena are visible on the bedrock, east of the building.

The Old temple was a Doric, peripteral structure with six columns on the short sides and twelve on the long sides. The interior arrangement was quite unusual. The east part of the temple consisted of a distyle pronaos with antae and a naos divided into three naves by two rows of columns. Inside the naos was the wooden cult statue (xoanon) of the goddess Athena. The east part of the temple consisted of three rooms, each dedicated to the worship of Poseidon-Erechtheus, Hephaistus and Boutes. The marble pediments of the Gigantomachy, displayed in the Acropolis Museum, and a sime with lion and ram's heads probably belonged to this temple. The metopes, cornices and roof tiles were also of marble, while the rest of the temple was built of limestone.

The temple was unearthed in 1885 and W. D?rpfeld was the first to identify it. Only the foundations of its south side, towards the Erechtheion, are visible today, along with two stone column bases from the Geometric temple.
Ioanna Venieri, archaeologist