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Greek Gods and Goddesses at Home

The best temple sites to visit in Greece

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columns at temple of Artemis at Vravrona

Columns at the Temple of Artemis at Vravrona (Brauron) in Attica, Greece.

deTraci Regula
Want to drop by and say "Hi!" to the "homes" of the ancient divinities? Here's a quick guide to the homes of the 'stars' of Greek mythology.

Apollo

This solar god renowned for his lyre playing also enjoyed a popular sideline underwriting oracles. Of these, one of the most visited is the Temple of Apollo Delphinus at Delphi. Dramatic, primitive, it's a guy's temple, but the romantic restaurants and great shopping make Delphi a pilgrimage spot for everyone.

Aphrodite

Aphrodite had temples, sure, but she was a natural girl, loving beaches, coves, and spots of dramatic natural beauty which still came in second -or twenty-second- to her own beautiful charms. The island nation of Cyprus has reinstated a festival named in her honor, and the Greek island of Kythira was also sacred to Aphrodite. You can also visit the spot where the Venus de Milo - actually Aphrodite - was dug up on the island of Milos, a lovely place to visit.

Artemis

Independent forest-roving goddess who preferred the company of her maiden priestesses, a lovely temple complex at Brauron (Vravrona) still holds a convent-like air of tranquility. Plus, you can see Iphigenia's tomb. Rumored slaughtered by her father Agamemnon to assure fair winds, the inside story here is that she ran away and spent her life at Vravrona, founding the worship of man-indifferent Artemis. With a Dad like Agamemnon, is it any wonder?

Athena

Grey-eyed goddess of wisdom, daughter of Zeus, she has achieved enduring fame with the survival of her architecturally-perfect temple, the Parthenon on the Acropolis in Athens. Its current condition is less than perfect, but it still inspires everyone who scrambles over the slick marble.

Demeter

Greek mamma goddess of grain whose daughter Persephone was kidnapped by Hades, creating an early soap-opera story line of dramtic proportions. Eventually Demeter, Hades, and Zeus worked out a time-share program on Persephone, which she seemed to find amenable. Demeter's followers founded mysteries retelling the tale which were regularly celebrated at Eleusis. The site, though fascinating, is surrounded all too closely by industrial development. Darn that Hades and his spewing infernos!

Hera

Zeus's long-suffering wife, she preferred high places so she could keep an eye on Zeus, or try to track down the frequent nymphs-in-trouble that seemed to multiply in the wake of her husband. Her honeymoon island hideaway Samos, kept Zeus content for three hundred years - what other couple can claim that?

Persephone

Eleusis is definitely Mom's territory, so try seeing what Persephone found fascinating in Goth Hades (aka Pluto) by visiting the moody, dark, and unnerving Nekromanteion, a rumored mouth of the River Styx running through the underworld.

Hephaestus

Lesser-known, slightly lame god who made a big marriage splash - he got Aphrodite. And, his temple along the Acropolis is actually the best-preserved in Greece.

Zeus

Zeus loved high places which were good vantage points for spotting lithe young maidens, either in his human, eagle, or shower-of-gold forms. However, one of his most dramatic remaining temples is in downtown Athens, where colossal columns still stand.

Poseidon

The high sea-cliffs at Cape Sounion fill the bill perfectly for this god of the sea, and the remaining temple is dramatic. Even antiquity-jaded Athenians make the drive out to Sounion for the sunset.

Mount Olympus - Convention Center of the Gods

This is the fabled mountain where the chief twelve gods and goddesses, plus a few servants, demigods, and other divine spirits would gather and generally hang out. Zeus is undeniably the CEO of this corporate clique which consisted of Zeus, Ares, Athena, Apollo, Aphrodite, Hermes, Artemis, Poseidon, Hades, Hestia, Hera, and Hephaestus. The newly-excavated city of Dion, on the slopes of the mountain, is well worth a visit with extensive ruins to explore.

More Fast Facts on Greek Gods and Goddesses:

More Fast Facts on Greek Gods and Goddesses:

The 12 Olympians - Gods and Goddesses - Greek Gods and Goddesses - Temple Sites - The Titans - Aphrodite - Apollo - Ares - Artemis - Atalanta - Athena - Centaurs - Cyclopes - Demeter- Dionysos - Eros - Gaia - Hades - Helios - Hephaestus - Hera - Hercules - Hermes - Kronos - Medusa - Nike - Pan- Pandora - Pegasus - Persephone - Poseidon - Rhea - Selene - Zeus.

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