HERAION OF SAMOS |
It is believed that, at some periods of time, Samos' inhabitants worshiped both deities of the East and the twelve gods of the Greeks. The most worshiped deity of the island was by far goddess Hera. 7 kilometers to the northwest of the city you can find the temple of Hera. It is one of the most significant monuments of ancient Greece, Because of the great distance between the temple and the city, the people of Samos had to make a road. It is said that this Hiera Odos (Holy Road) was decorated with many statues and votive offerings. Every spring, there was a march of believers going to the temple for a feast that lasted for 3 days.
The temple was built near the mouth of the river Imvrasos because the area was connected with the worship of the goddess even though the ground isn't so stable.
The Heraion was for centuries the main ground of worship on the island. Before the temple was built there was a small altar on that location dated from the second millennium BC. Rituals of animal sacrifices were performed on that altar that also had a wooden statue of the goddess. The 'ekatompedos' temple of Hera was primary built in the 8th century BC and then again in the 7th, when a stone podium and a wooden fencing are added.
In the beginning of the 6th century, under the supervision of the architect Roikos and the artist Theodoros, the great temple of Hera is built with monumental extent (52.5m x 105.8 m) which was demolished by an earthquake.
During the reign of Polykrates works for the building of a new even greater temple started (55.16m x 108.63m) with 155 columns and 20 meters of height. Unfortunately, this temple was never completed because of the political and economical collapse of the state, shortly after Polykrates' death.
Most of the votive offerings given to the temple in the 3rd and 2nd century were stolen by the Romans in the 1st century BC. The most significant of them were the Hellenistic statues. The emperor Octavian Augustus gave the people of Samos the right to become Roman citizens. During his era a marble temple was built and the ancient altar was renovated.
In the 1st and 2nd century AD, many temples devoted to several gods were built and during the 2nd and 3rd the Hiera Odos was re-tiled. A settlement started to develop around the temple which was abandoned because of the great earthquake of 262 BC.
During the 4th century BC there was some constructive action in the area but later in that century some of the buildings were destroyed and sold as materials.
In the 5th century BC an early-Christian basilica was built to continue the sanctity of the area.
Schedule: Tuesday - Sunday: 08:30 to 15:00, Mondays: closed
Tickets: Euros, Reduced: 2 Euros
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HERAION OF SAMOS IMAGE GALLERY