The three temples
Paestum, known as Posidonia by the Greeks, is an ancient city of Magna Graecia on the Tyrrhenian Sea coast in Campania, Italy (7th century BC – 9th century AD), later conquered by the Romans. The archaeological park includes three Doric order temples that are among the best-preserved in the world. The site is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The city was abandoned after the fall of the Roman Empire, and the area became swampy. The temples were discovered during the construction of roads many centuries later, but the site was only re-evaluated in the last century.
Facts & Trivia
The Temple of Hera is the oldest (550 BC) and is also called the Basilica because archaeologists believed it was a building used for business and justice. It has all 50 columns but lacks the upper part. The second temple (460 BC), erroneously attributed to the cult of Neptune or Poseidon, is divided into three aisles and is the best-preserved one. It is considered a perfect example of Doric temple architecture in Italy. Some attribute it to the cult of Apollo, but it may also be dedicated to Hera.
The third temple, dedicated to Athena (around 500 BC), once believed to be for Ceres, was built on the ashes of an old temple and therefore in a higher position than the others. It has a very high pediment and a unique Doric frieze composed of limestone blocks.
The temples are located in the area of the Sanctuary of Hera, with two temples dedicated to the goddess and one to Athena. Hera was the wife of Zeus, the goddess of fertility. Athena was the goddess of craftsmanship and warfare.