Heraion, Samos

The most important archaeological site in Samos, the Heraion (Ireo in modern Greek). This site was believed to be the birthplace of goddess Hera (Zeus’ wife). This place is also called “Kolonna”, because of the one standing column as you see in the photo below.

Heraion, Samos

Heraion, Samos

Telling you the truth, I did not see this site. I did visit it, but, it was Monday (it is easy to forget about days of week while we are on vacation, are not we?). As it was a day before my departure, I could not even return the day after. These two photos were taken from outside the fence.


Even so, I add some information about the site

The history of this site dates back to the Bronze Age; a late Mycenaean tholos tomb was found. The religious activity continued through the Dark Age, as is indicated by the altars and two temples constructed before the sixth century BCE. The oldest cult activities here, however, was not necessarily dedicated to Hera.

The first Great Temple of Hera was constructed between ca. 575 and 560 BCE, by a Samian artist called Rhoikos assisted by architect Theodoros. This Ionian temple was 97.5 meters long, and 49 metres wide, and was dipteros (surrounded by double row of columns).

The base of the building was not good enough, and the second temple replaced it. The work started in 530 BCE ca., under the tyrant Polykrates, but was soon interrupted probably because of his death, and did not restart until 500 BCE. The pronaos (to the east) has three rows of eight columns, and at the back were triple rows of 9 columns, and at both sides were double rows of 24 column. The construction was, however, again interrupted, and it was never completed, even though some works were done in the third century BCE.

The excavations of the Heraion have been conducted by the Germans, between 1910 and 14, then between 1925 and 39, and since 1952.


  • Robin Barber, Greece (Blue Guide), London/ A&C Black, 2001 (revised reprint of the 1995 sixth edition), pp. 688-89.

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