Discover the Tower of the Winds of Athens

Athens is one of the cities with the greatest historical heritage in the world. Therefore, among so many monuments, you may not know the Tower of the Winds. It is located in the Roman Agora and, in fact, it is one of the few buildings that remain standing in this area. At first glance, what will surprise you most will be the friezes in the upper part of the tower.

This is a long history construction. It dates from the 1st century BC. C. and has had various uses. Today it is another tourist point of Athens. It has been especially for a few years, since after a restoration it is possible to visit it.

We want to tell you the main features of this old building. We will also discover why they call it the Tower of the Winds. Do not miss it.

How is the Tower of the Winds

Frieze in the tower - Carole Raddato /

The Tower of the Winds of the Roman Agora of Athens It is 12 meters high and has a diameter of 8 meters. Each of its eight walls exceeds three meters. The structure is built on a base that has three steps.

The highest part of each of the sides has a figure represented on its marble walls. Each of them is one of the eight winds that exist, depending on the direction they have: Bores, Kaikias, Euro, Apeliotas, Noto, Lips, Zephyr and Skiron. It also has the name of each of them engraved.

The walls they had rods that made the time easier thanks to the sun. These elements are no longer there, since they were removed in the last major restoration that was carried out of the tower.

Water clock

The interior of the Tower of the Winds contained a water clock, known as clepsidra. This tool maintains a regulated flow of water that falls into another container and, in this way, measures the same time each time it is used.

It is a mechanism of Egyptian origin It was created to complement the sundials during the night. Later they would use it in Rome and Athens, where they were used to measure speakers' shifts.

History of the Tower of the Winds

Tower of the Winds - Paul Arps /

The Tower of the Winds is more than 21 centuries old, because as we have said, it was built in the 1st century. C. It was the Andronic astronomer of Cirro who devised it, although the main objective of its construction is not known for sure.

With the beginning of Christianity, the tower became a church. In fact, next to this structure a cemetery was created and the mortal remains that were resting there were previously veiled in the tower.

It is in the fifteenth century when it begins to receive the name of Tower of the Winds. It was Ancona Circus, the famous traveler, who spoke of 'temple of Eolo'. A tower that has had very different uses. For example, it was used as a meeting place for Sufi and Muslim brotherhoods. Specifically, it was used by the dervishes.

Later, in the 19th century, abandonment made the Tower of the Winds remain partly buried. In the middle of this century it was excavated and later fully restored. Thanks to this, it is possible to visit the interior for a few years.

The other Tower of the Winds

Gregorian Tower - Karelj / wikimedia Commons

There is another monument called Tower of the Winds. This is how the Gregorian Tower is also known, which is in the Vatican City. In this case, its construction was finished in 1580 and the shape of its base is round. It remains on the Maps gallery that connects Belvedere with the Apostolic Palace.

The objective of its construction was astronomical study. Therefore, there is more than the name that unites these constructions, since, as we have said, the tower of Athens was built thanks to an astronomer.

Since its inception He dedicated himself to the study of the Gregorian calendar, which spread two years after the inauguration of the tower. At present, this building continues with the function of serving the Vatican, as it is its observatory.

Video: 113. Roman Architecture. The Roman Agora and the Tower of the Winds (October 2019).