Tower of winds

On the Roman Agora overlooked by the acropolis and the parthenon stands the octagonal marble edifice of the Horologion of Andronicos which was erected by the Macedonian astronomer Andronicos around 50 BCE.

Pentelic marble

Pentelic marble is quarried from Mount Pentelicus just north of Athens and has a mesmerizing white crystalline surface. It looks delicate as… →

This Tower of winds was build with pentelic marble and stands over 12 metres high, originally topped by a revolving bronze weather vane depicting Triton

A pointed wand in his hand indicated the direction from which the wind was blowing.

To the ancients, the winds had divine powers and on the frieze of each side below the conical rooftop there is a sculpted figure of one of the Anemoi or a wind deity ruling the compass point to which it faces.

The term Horologion also acknowledges the other features of the tower that Andronicos incorporated: sundials and a complicated internal water clock with a supply from the Acropolis above.

Tower of Winds
Roman Agora
Wind deities
Wind ­direction Wind ­deity Sculpted Character
North Boreas Man wearing a heavy cloak, blowing through a twisted shell
North East Kaikias Man carrying & emptying a shield of small round objects
East Apeliotes Young man holding a cloak full of fruit and grain
South East Euros Old man wrapped tightly in a cloak against the elements
South Notos Man emptying an urn and producing a shower of water
South West Lips Boy pushing the stern of a ship, promising a good sailing wind
West Zephyros Youth carrying flowers into the air
North West Skiron Bearded man with a bronze pot full of hot ashes and charcoal

In the early Christian period, the Tower of the Winds was converted into a church. Later on, it became covered with the earth and debris that had accumulated over the centuries, but was excavated by the Greek Archaeological Society around 1837 – 1845. Modern restorations took place during WO I, as well as in 1976. Recent restoration work was completed in August 2016.