The Temple of Apollo

It's impossible to miss the Temple of Apollo. It dominates the whole area of archaeology which is ancient Corinth.  With new lighting since January 2013 you can now be awed after dark as well.

 

The remains of the temple lie on a terrace which is on the highest part of the city. From here there are wonderful views, extending as far as the Gulf of Corinth. It's a favourite spot from which to take photos, and to get an overall view of the extent of the ancient city of Corinth.

 

temple of apollo corinth
The Temple of Apollo

When was the temple built?

From bits of pottery found among the chippings left by the masons, the temple has been dated to around 540 BC. It was built to replace an earlier temple from the 7th C BC.

Before the excavations began which revealed the extent of the ancient city, the columns of the temple of Apollo were all that were visible. This was the only indication archaeologists had of other finds which might be discovered.

The temple style and features

The temple was built in the Doric style. It had 6 columns at each end, and 15 along each side. It was 53m (174 feet) long and 21m (70 feet) wide.

The Doric columns are monolithic, that is, made from single pieces of stone. The stone used was limestone, and had a surface of white marble stucco applied to it. Each of the columns is over 7m (23 feet) high, and at the base has a diameter of 1.7m (5 feet 8 inches). Seven of these columns remain standing, with a section of the entablature intact resting on the tops of the columns.

plan of temple apollo

One interesting feature is that the floor beneath each colonnade rises in a convex curve. This is the earliest know occurrence of this refinement. This feature was used later in the Parthenon at Athens.

The inner building comprised two rooms or cellas, placed back to back. Each of these cellas was entered by a porch, each with two columns in front of them. Inside the cellas were two rows of smaller columns.

According to the Greek traveler PausaniasA Greek traveler and geographer of the 2nd century AD. He wrote 'Description of Greece', a detailed account of his observations of ancient Greece. (who probably wrote his descriptions between 155 and 180 AD), there was a bronze statue of Apollo in the Temple. In the Greek period large steps to the east of the temple led down to the Lechaion Way and to the entrance to the agora.

(Go to corinth history to see an interactive plan of ancient Corinth.)

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