Erechtheion restoration history
The Erechtheion or Erechthon was a very ancient king of Athens, who also said he was a god.
They believed that the Erechtheus was defeated by god Posidon who killed him with his trident. They also believed that Zeus made him a thunderbolt. Although he was killed Erechtheus managed to somehow bring his name to this building.
A complex site
In fact there were some very ancient sanctuaries in this part of the Acropolis and the new building was designed to incorporate these sanctuaries and unite them. Builders find it complicated because they could not have chosen a more difficult place, as the structure is built on different levels.
The different sections
The patron goddess of Athens was Athena Polias, and a wooden cult statue of her resided in the eastern part of the temple. King Erechtheus had his tomb in the west section.
The first king of Athens, according to the legend, was King Cecrops, and his tomb is supposed to be on the south side under the veranda terrace.
Once upon a time
Athena and Poseidon claimed to be the deities of Athens. And so in order to decide which of the two would have this price, they organized a competition. They both wanted to show their strength, and Poseidon wanted to hit the Acropolis with his trident. Sea water flowed out, as you’d expect as he was god of the sea.
Legends in stone
Erechtheion’s architects deliberately left this area to show the path of Poseidon’s trident when it hit the Acropolis. Through an opening on the floor there are signs on the rock where the ancient Athenians believed that the trident left its mark.
A tank was here. Some marble lining remains. Pausanias claims that the reservoir contained the salt water from Poseidon, the Erechtheic, and shouted when there was a southern wind, like the real sea!
To the west of Erechtheion there is an olive tree. This was recently planted by Queen Sofia. The original was destroyed by the Persians when they fell to Athens in 480 BC. According to the ancient Greeks, it was eradicated the following day!
Do not forget to see the parts of the Erechtheion that have been restored, as marble is new and no attempt is made to look old. Also visit the New Acropolis Museum where you can see other ruins of the Erechtheion and the Caryatids.