Cultural Corridors of South East Europe

South East Europe / Western Trans-Balkan Road

Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae

Info Sections
Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae

About the site

Corridor: Western Trans-Balkan Road
Country: Greece, Messenia, Arcadia, and Ilia
Type: Ancient Site
Epoch: Antiquity
Theme: Antiquity
World Heritage: Cultural Heritage
AntiquityAntiquityAncient SiteCultural Heritage

This famous temple to the god of healing and the sun was built towards the middle of the 5th century BC in the lonely heights of the Arcadian mountains. The temple, which has the oldest Corinthian capital yet found, combines the Archaic style and the serenity of the Doric style with some daring architectural features.


It is the first nearly complete temple still surving, with for the the first time, all three architectural styles: Doric, Ionian and Corinthian. The temple was erected on a raised area, 1,131m, called the 'Bassai', meaning little vale in the rocks.
It is a Doric peripteral temple made from local limestone, and consists of a prodome and a cella. It is orientated north to south. In the cella there was a column with a corinthian capital, which is the oldest known example of its kind.

The temple was decorated with a marble sculpted frieze depicting the battles between the Amazons and the Centaurs. The frieze's marbles have been looted by the British and can now be found in the British Museum.
The temple, work of Ictinos architect of the Parthenon, is dated at ca. 420 BC. It was built over an older temple, by the inhabitants of Figalos in honour of Epicurean Apollo, gratitude for saving them from a plague. The name Epicuros was given to Apollo ca. 650 BC, during the wars against the Spartans.

In 1902, the 1st Archaeological society of Athens began systematic archaeological research of the area, under the direction of K.Kourouniotis, with the assistance of K.Romaios and P.Kavvadias. It was continued in 1959, 1970 and from 1975-1979, under the direction of N.Gialouris.
Small scale restorations have been carried out by the civil engineer N.Balanos and professor H.Bouras. More recently, research has been completed, by the Committee of the Temple of Epicurean Apollo, for the restoration of the temple.
At the present time conservation work on the temple is being done under the supervision of the Committee of the Epicurean Apollo, which is based in Athens.

Expert network

Read more about Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae at the Unesco World Heritage List.