Temple of Apollo
Top Sites to See in Syracuse

Remnants of the oldest Doric temple in the world - Syracusan Temple of Apollo are testimony of one of the greatest Mediterranean civilizations...

        The Temple of Apollo was one of the most important Doric structures in Ortigia. 

        Located in front of the Piazza Pancali right after crossing the bridge Umbertino it was erected in early 6th century BC. It was the first monumental structure of such dimensions erected in Syracuse and one of the first in Ancient Greek’s World made completely out of stone (only roof’s structure  was still based on wood).  The scale of difficulties faced during this pioneering works is underlined by the original inscriptions on the temple’s steps praising the exceptional beauty of the temple and titanic efforts of builders and architect....

The massive structure was “built to last” and to feed imagination.... It turned true given the fact that during the following millenia the temple was converted to the Orthodox church during early years of “Bizantine” Christianity , then to the Islamic mosque during occupation of Sicily by Saracens and then back to Christian church during Norman control of the Island. 

Apollo Temple: It was built to last, unfortunately humans took matters in their own hands bringing it to for long forgotten ruins

Ruins of the Temple of Apollo

          Sadly in 16th century Spaniards broke this cycle converting this magnificent structure designed for glorification of God(s) into military barracks and then private housing. And with each “conversion” the spectacular temple was loosing its original mystical appearance finally turning into ruins....

Today only few Doric columns, long set of stairs with inscription at the base and fragments of walls can be seen on the vast area claimed by the nature of which only gracious palm trees can match the “nobility” of the place. And that is thanks to the excavation efforts undertaken in the mid-20th century by the team of archeologists lead by Paolo Orsi. Fragments of the original colorful terracotta covering some external elements of the temple are displayed in the Archeological Museum in Syracuse. 

     Despite that only so little was brought back to the light, the visible footprints of the temple conceived some 2600 years ago by Greek colonizers are still impressive.

The size of the original structure measuring some 190 x 70 feet (58 x 24 meters) is a living testimony of  imagination, engineering skills and devotion to gods of ancient inhabitants of Syracuse. It’s monumental size was highlighted by huge monolithic columns arranged in configuration of 6 rows with 17 columns each.

It was an "Engineering Marvel" erected more than two and half millennia ago and it still deserves this name even today....

Reconstruction of the Temple of Apollo (wooden work of Antonio Randazzo)

The truth is that when you are looking at the desolate remnants of the Temple of Apollo in Ortigia (the oldest Doric temple in the World), you are looking at the traces of one of the greatest civilizations in the history of the world....

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