The Tower of the Winds, also known as Aeres or Aereides, is an iconic and impressive structure located in the Roman Agora of Athens, between the districts of Plaka and Monastiraki. Built in fine Pendellean marble by the Greek astronomer Andronikos of Cyrrus around 50 BC, this 12-meter-high tower has an octagonal shape and is one of the most famous sights of Athens.
The Tower of the Winds served many purposes in antiquity. Its original purpose was as a clock to estimate the time based on the position of the sun. It was also used to forecast and indicate the weather, with a combination of sundials, a water clock, and a wind indicator. Its frieze depicts the eight wind deities according to their direction, and inside there was a water clock that operated with water coming down from the rock of the Acropolis.
During early Christian times, the tower was used as a bell tower for a church, and during the Ottoman occupation, it was used as a tepee, a place of spiritual retreat and character formation.
The Tower of the Winds’ architectural design has influenced many other structures worldwide, including the 18th-century Radcliffe Observatory in Oxford, UK, the 15th-century Torre del Marzocco in Livorno, Italy, the Temple of the Winds in Mount Stewart, Northern Ireland, and a similar tower in Sevastopol, Ukraine, built in 1849.
Overall, the Tower of the Winds is a remarkable historical and architectural site that any history or architecture enthusiast should visit. Its historical significance as a clock, weather forecaster, and bell tower, coupled with its striking design, makes it a must-see attraction in Athens.
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