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Vasse (or Bassae) is an archaeological site in the northeastern part of Messinia Prefecture that was a part of Arcadia in ancient times. It is famous for the well-preserved mid-to late 5th century BC Temple of Apollo Epicurius. Although this temple is geographically remote from major polities of ancient Greece, it is one of the most studied ancient Greek temples because of its multitude of unusual features. Bassae was the first Greek site to be inscribed on the World Heritage List (1986). Its construction is placed between 450 BCE and 400 BCE.

SITE MONUMENTS

  • TEMPLE OF APOLLO EPIKOURIOS: one of the most important and most imposing temples of antiquity, stands in the bare and rocky landscape of Vasse. It is unique in the history of ancient Greek architecture because it combines a variety of novel ideas both in its external appearance and in its internal arrangements. Indeed, Pausanias considered it to be among the finest temples of the Peloponnese in terms of sheer beauty and harmony, second only to that of Tegea. The building is dated to 420-400 BC and is believed to be the work of Iktinos, who succeeded in combining masterfully several Archaic features imposed by the conservative tradition of the Arcadians with the characteristics of the new Classical style. The surviving temple is not the first one to have been constructed on the site. The earliest temple of Apollo erected in the late seventh century BC, possibly at the same location, was rebuilt at least twice in approximately 600 and 500 BC. Many architectural features from these two phases survive, including a large terracotta acroterion with ornate painted decoration, roof-tiles and antefixes.
  • TEMPLE OF ARTEMIS ORTHASIA
  • TEMPLE OF APHRODITE: is situated at Kotilon, at an altitude of 1230 metres on the highest peak of Mt. Kotilion northeast of the temple of Apollo Epikourios. It is generally identified as the temple of Aphrodite mentioned by Pausanias. The temple was built in the Archaic period along with another dedicated to Artemis Orthasia, possibly by poor Phigaleians who settled at Bassae.

USEFUL INFORMATION

Telephone: +30 26240 22.529
Ticket: Full: €3, Reduced: €2
Open: from the 1st of November until the 31 of March: 8:30-15:00.

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Temple of Epikourios Apollo