ATHENS: Tower of the Winds

Tower of the WInds
Tower of the WInds

Situated within the crumbling walls of Athens ancient Roman Agora is the sumptuous eight sided Tower of the Winds. Built around 50 BC by Syrian astronomer Andronikos Kyrrhestas, this stunning feature was created to combine the functions of a sundial, weather vane and water clock. In the process Kyrrhestas managed to design a building unlike any other in the ancient world.

Tower of the WInds
Tower of the WInds
Also known as the 'Horologion of Kyrrhestos' the Tower of the Winds is an octagonal tower made from Pentelic marble, standing on a base of three steps.

The tower comprises of a conical roof, a cylindrical annex on the south side and two propyl.

There would have originally been an bronze weather vane on the roof, but this has not survived the ravages of time.

However, the personifications of the winds which it would have indicated are still carved in relief at the top of each of the eight sides.

Tower of the WInds
Tower of the WInds
Their names are inscribed beneath the cornice:


The rays of the sundials are carved on each of the sides, beneath the scenes of the winds.

Inside the tower are the remains of the water clock - no longer working - which was operated by spring waters running down from the Acropolis.

Tower of the WInds
Tower of the WInds
In the early Christian period the Tower of the Winds - also known as the Horologion of Kyrrhestos - was used as a church, and in the 18th century it was a Dervish Monastery.

Now it stands as a masterpiece of ancient architecture.

For related articles click onto the following links:
ATHENS: The Caryatids
ATHENS: The Temple of Zeus
ATHENS: Tower of the Winds

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