The temple can be dated to the beginning of the 6th century BC, being considered the oldest Doric temple in Sicily.
Over time, the temple underwent several transformations. In the first half of the first millennium of our era, it was a Byzantine church, of which the frontal staircase and parts of a central portal are still preserved, and then it became an Islamic mosque.
Subsequently, the Norman Church of the Savior was built on its place, which was later incorporated into a 16th-century Spanish barracks, while some architectural elements remained visible.
These successive transformations seriously damaged the building, which was rediscovered around 1860 inside the Spanish barracks, and was brought to light thanks to the excavations carried out by Paolo Orsi between 1938 and 1942.
The temple has a lenght of 55.36 meters and a width of 21.47 meters. It is one of the first Greek temples made of stone, marking the transition from the ancient wooden structures.
The building has a hexastyle front and a continuous colonnade around the perimeter which surrounds the pronaos. The naos was divided into three aisles by two internal colonnades of more slender columns.
The temple, with forty-two monolithic columns, probably transported by sea, must have seemed incredible to its builder. An unusual inscription on the last step of the eastern facade shows the builder’s enthusiasm, who celebrates the construction of the building with an emphasis on its pioneering character.
Some terracotta elements belonging to the structure are preserved in the Regional Archaeological Museum Paolo Orsi of Syracuse.
HOW TO GET THERE
The Temple of Apollo is located about 1.1 kilometers away from the Syracuse railway station. To find the temple on foot, use the map below.