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25/10/2007

The sanctuary of Athena Poliouchos, or Chalkioikos

Prefectural Administration of Lakonia

This was a large sanctuary located on the peak of the acropolis hill of ancient Sparta, above the theatre. From very early on there was a temple with an altar. In the 6th century BC a small temple was built to house the statue of Athena Poliouchos, dressed with bronze sheeting with relief representations inside. From this dressing, Athena took the name “Chalkioikos” (bronze house). In the forecourt of the temple was a stoa with a couple of small buildings. The sanctuary of Athena Poliouchos or Chalkioikos was the most important temple in ancient Sparta, where public meetings, processions and equestrian contests were held. It was to here that Lycourgus, Pausanias, and Ages IV fled, seeking asylum. The temple of Artemis grew in importance in the Roman period. In the 4th century AD houses started to be constructed within its forecourt. In the 7th century BC, a large basilica of Christ the Saviour was built to its east.

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