Tower of the Winds
It is an octagonal building, made of white marble from the quarries of Mt. Penteli, 12-meter (36 ft. approx) tall, without columns and a diameter of approx. 8 meters. Each of the 8 faces is 2,80 meter long. The building rests on a base of three steps and has two entrances, to the NW and to the NE. The pediments of the two doors are ruined but the door case of the NW is intact.
The roof forms a low octagonal pyramid composed of 24 slabs of marble held together by a round keystone. It was originally topped by a weathervane-like bronze Triton, which, turning by the wind was pointing to the section that corresponded to the wind direction.
In its interior, almost 7 meters broad, there was a hydraulic (water) clock (or clepsydra), driven by water coming down from the Acropolis, to indicate time at night and on days with inadequate sunlight.
The Tower of the Winds, later called School or The Tomb of Socrates, was used in early Christian times as the bell-tower of a Byzantine church. Restoration work during the Summer of 2015 uncovered parts of a wall painting with a Christian subject matter, testifying to this continuous use of the Tower. Under Turkish occupation it became a "tekke" used by whirling dervishes. It was fully excavated in the 19th century by the Archaeological Society of Athens.
Research has shown that the considerable, height of the tower intended to make the sundials and the wind-vane visible throughout the Agora, effectively making it into an early example of a clock-tower. This monument is considered to be the oldest meteorological station known to man.
For a page with Basic Architectural Terminology, including terms used in the description of the ancient Greek temples, click here!
In the vicinity of the Tower of the Winds we recommend Emporikon Hotel, on Aghias Eirinis Square, a fully renovated 19th c. historic building with a designer vibe. All air-conditioned rooms are fitted with a flat-screen TV, a minibar, free toiletries. Some units open to a balcony with Acropolis or Lycabettus Hill views, or offer an open-plan or separate seating area. Facilities include a 24-hour front desk and a ticket service. Bicycle and car rental services are provided. Several café bars and restaurants can be reached within a short walk.
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