the greek doric temple


Temple of Zeus


~457 BCE

20.7 m in height, 29 m in breadth, 70.1 m in length

The temple was of peripteral form, with a frontal pronaos (porch), mirrored by a similar arrangement at the back of the building, the opisthodomos. The building sat on a crepidoma (platform) of three unequal steps, the exterior columns were positioned in a six by thirteen arrangement, two rows of seven columns divided the cella (interior) into three aisles. Although it lies in ruins today, an echo of the temple’s original appearance can be seen in the Second Temple of Hera at Paestum, which closely followed its form. The temple featured carved metopes and triglyph friezes, topped by pediments filled with sculptures in the Severe Style, now attributed to the “Olympia Master” and his studio. According to Pausanias, the temple’s height up to the pediment was 68 feet (20.7 m), its breadth was 95 feet (29.0 m), and its length 230 feet (70.1 m).[4] It was approached by a ramp on the east side. The main structure of the building was of a local limestone that was unattractive and of poor quality, and so it was coated with a thin layer of stucco to give it an appearance of marble to match the sculptural decoration. It was roofed with Pentelic marble cut into the shape of tiles. The marble was cut thinly enough to be translucent, so that on a summer’s day, “light comparable to a conventional 20-watt bulb would have shone through each of the 1,000 tiles.

Lincoln Memorial - Washington D.C, USA

Built to honor the 16th president of the United States of America, The Lincoln Memorial is located across from the Washington Monument. The building resembles a Greek Doric temple, and contains a large seated sculpture of Abraham Lincoln, which was designed by Daniel Chester French. 

The walls of the memorial feature inscriptions from two of Lincolns most famous speeches, “The Gettysburg Address”, and his second inaugural speech. The site itself has been the location for many famous speeches, such as Martin Luther King Jr’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech. 


The Temple of Hera II at Paestum, 460-450 BCE

The Temple of Hera II, also erroneously called the Temple of Neptune, is one of three well-preserved temple complexes constructed in the ancient Greek city of Paestum in Magnum Graecia (present-day Southern Italy). It was the second temple in the city to be dedicated to the goddess Hera, although archaeological evidence suggests that the god Zeus and a third unknown deity were also worshiped at the temple. 

The Temple of Hera II is one of the best preserved examples of the Doric order in the world. Ironically, it is also architecturally unorthodox. The temple has 6x14 columns instead of the 6x13 column proportion that was popular at this time in Classical period Greece. The capitals are also extremely squat and flared, and the column shafts have an extremely pronounced entasis. Similar architectural diversions from the canonical Doric order can be found in Greek temples throughout Magna Graecia, suggesting that the architects of this region had greater freedom to experiment than the architects in Greece. 


Temple of Apollo

Delphi, greece

330 BCE

21.6m x 58.2m

The ruins of the Temple of Delphi visible today date from the 4th century BC, and are of a peripteral Doric building. It was erected on the remains of an earlier temple, dated to the 6th century BC which itself was erected on the site of a 7th-century BC construction attributed to the architects Trophonios and Agamedes. 

The 6th-century BC temple was named the “Temple of Alcmonidae” in tribute to the Athenian family who funded its reconstruction following a fire, which had destroyed the original structure. The new building was a Doric hexastyle temple of 6 by 15 columns. This temple was destroyed in 375 BC by an earthquake. The pediment sculptures are a tribute to Praxias and Androsthenes of Athens. Of a similar proportion to the second temple it retained the 6 by 15 column pattern around the stylobate. Inside was the adyton, the centre of the Delphic oracle and seat of Pythia. The temple had the statement “Know thyself”, one of the Delphic maxims, carved into it (and some modern Greek writers say the rest were carved into it), and the maxims were attributed to Apollo and given through the oracle and/or the Seven Sages of Greece (“know thyself” perhaps also being attributed to other famous philosophers). The temple survived until AD 390, when the Roman emperor Theodosius I silenced the oracle by destroying the temple and most of the statues and works of art in the name of Christianity. The site was completely destroyed by zealous Christians in an attempt to remove all traces of Paganism


“Valley of the temples”, Agrigento, Italy.

The “Valley of the temples” is an archaeological site in Sicily (Italy): there are important Doric temples of the Hellenistic period.

Hellenistic period: from the death of Alexander the Great (323 BC) until the battle of Actium (31 BC).

The battle of Actium was a naval battle that ended the civil war between Octavian and Mark Antony.
Mark Antony was allied with the Ptolemaic kingdom of Egypt.


Remains of the Temple of Apollo at Syracuse, Sicily.

This Greek temple dates to about 590-580 BC, and is the oldest surviving Doric temple in Sicily. It belongs to the Greek temple’s so-called moment of “petrification”, where, at least up to the roof line, stone replaced wood in its construction. The columns are fairly squat, and tightly packed together.

There is an inscription on the stylobate of the east facade. We are unfortunately missing some text from the part of the inscription that informs us as to who built the temple. Kleomenes is deemed the most likely reconstruction, who was evidently rather proud of the columns:

Kleo[men]es, the son of Knidieidies, built it for Apollo; and he built the columns, beautiful things”.

Photos courtesy of Davide Simonetti.



Olympia, Greece

400 - 300 BCE

10.62 m x 20.67 m. 

Doric peripteral temple, 6 x 11 columns, with cella opening east onto a pronaos distyle in antis. It had a distyle in antis opisthodomos on the west. A colonnade of unknown order along the north and south cella walls.

Dedicated to the Mother of the Gods, sometimes called Cybele. The cult of the Mother of the Gods was displaced in Roman times by that of Augustus and Rome.


If you’re going to go up the Athenian Acropolis, I would highly recommend doing it as early in the morning as possible. For one thing, it is the best bet at beating at least some of the heat! That way you can visit the beautiful, new, airconditioned Acropolis Museum in the afternoon after a nice Greek 2-hour lunch.

But more importantly, the temple is oriented, like most conventional Greek doric temples, east-west. That means that when you ascend the monumental steps you get to see the sun rising over the Parthenon and the lighting is UNREAL. 

I think some of these photos capture how that feels, but you really have to see it in person!


Sanctuary of Athena Polias Nikephoros

Pergamon, Turkey

2nd Century BCE

12.72 x 21.77 m.

The Sanctuary of Athena Polias Nikephoros (Athena of the City, Bringer of Victory) was at the Pergamon Acropolis. The monumental gateway, which stood at the northeast corner of the sanctuary, was built by Eumenes II in the early 2nd century BC.

The two-storey building, had a porch of four Doric columns (tetrastyle) on the ground floor, above which was a dedicatory inscription by Eumenes to Athena Nikephoros. The upper storey was a balcony with four Ionic columns and fronted by a military frieze depicting armour and weapons. 

The Sanctuary of Athena Nikephoros, on the southwest corner of the walled citadel on the Acropolis, was one of Pergamon’s oldest religious centres, used for the worship of Athena and Nike.


Doric Temple - Segesta Sicila

I've always been in love with ancient Greece. Their culture, their philosophy, their art, Hellens gave us the cultural backbone of our western world. 

Greek temples, especially those that are in doric style, have always been my favorites. For me, perfection is achieved when you can no longer take away anything, when all that is left is mandatory. 

The doric temple of Segesta has never been achieved. Columns have never been carved, no roof was ever built. Yet, this unfinished temple stays in my mind as one of the most beautiful place I have ever seen. It’s unfinished, maybe, but it’s already a temple. And, what can I possibly say about the site ? Suspended on top of a cliff, above a dangerous ravine, the place lays between the mountain and the sea, between earth and heaven. 

I took these pictures in early april 2009, when Sicilia was still green. Of all mediterranean islands, Sicilia is undoubtedly the wonder. 

Photos personnelles