If you don't know the story, when Athens became a powerful city, Athena and Poseidon vied to be chosen as the patron diety of the city. Poseidon offered the gift of sea water and horses, and Athena the gift of the olive tree. The people chose Athena, naming their city after her, and dedicating many temples in her name. Yet they wanted to honor Poseidon for his gifts as well. The temple of Erechtheion is dedicated to both gods.
It is another amazing example of ancient Greek architecture that is a must see in Athens. The Porch of the Caryatids is very special. It is located on the south side of the building and has six draped ladies who serve as the column supports for the structure. Their hair is especially fascinating as they all have thick braids running down the back of their necks to thicken them and make their necks strong enough to support all of the weight over their heads.
Five of the original statues are now housed in the new Acropolis museum to protect them from the elements. The sixth lady was stolen by British Lord Elgin in 1801 (along with the north column of the east porch) to decorate his Scottish mansion. The new Acropolis museum has dedicated spaces for these lost treasures should they one day be returned to their rightful owner, Greece.
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