December 11, 2007

Heraion of Samos

The Heraion of Samos was a sanctuary on the Southern region of Samos. Many construction phases are known, the first dating to the 8th century BCE. The first temple was roughly 100 feet long and consisted of three walls and an interior central line of columns to support a roof structure. A much larger temple was built by the architects Rhoikos and Theodoros in 540 BC. The temple stood opposite the cult altar of Hera in her sanctuary. The temple was designated a joint UNESCO World Heritage Site along with the nearby Pythagoreion in 1992. It was a dipteral temple, that is with a portico of columns two deep, which surrounded it entirely. It had a deep square-roofed Pronaos in front of a closed Cella. Cella and Pronaos were divided into three equal aisles by two rows of columns that marched down the Pronaos and through the Temple. The result was that Hera was worshipped in a Temple fitted within a stylized grove of columns, eight across and twenty-one deep. The columns stood on unusual bases that were horizontally fluted. The Heraion of Samos was the first of the gigantic Ionic temples. Unfortunately it stood for only about a decade before it was destroyed, probably by an earthquake. After the destruction of the "Rhoikos temple", an even larger one was built approximately 40m to the West. This temple has the largest known floor plan of any Greek temple and is known as the "Polykrates Temple", named after a tyrant of Samos. One of the giant statues from the Heraion survives in the Samos Archaeological Museum.

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Pythagoreion and Heraion of Samos*
UNESCO World Heritage Site

Heraion in Samos, Greece
State Party Flag of Greece Greece
Type Cultural
Criteria ii, iii
Reference 595
Region Europe and North America
Inscription History
Inscription 1992 (16th Session)
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List.
Region as classified by UNESCO.

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