Tower of the Winds

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The Tower of the Winds

The Tower of the Winds or the Horologion of Andronikos Kyrrhestes is an octagonal Pentelic marble clocktower in the Roman Agora in Athens that functioned as a horologion or "timepiece". It is considered the world's first meteorological station. Unofficially, the monument is also called Aerides (Greek: Αέρηδες), which means Winds. The structure features a combination of sundials, a water clock, and a wind vane.[1] It was designed by Andronicus of Cyrrhus around 50 BC, but according to other sources, might have been constructed in the 2nd century BC before the rest of the forum. The Athens Ephorate of Antiquities performed restoration work, cleaning and conserving the structure, between 2014 and 2016.[2]


The Tower of the Winds is 12 metres (39 ft) tall and has a diameter of about 8 metres (26 ft). In antiquity it was topped by a weather vane-like Triton that indicated the wind direction.[3] Below the frieze depicting the eight wind deities—Boreas (N), Kaikias (NE), Apeliotes (E), Eurus (SE), Notus (S), Livas (SW), Zephyrus (W), and Skiron (NW)—there are eight sundials.[3] In its interior, time was determined by a water clock, driven by water coming down from the Acropolis. Research has shown that the considerable height of the tower was motivated by the intention to place the sundials and the wind-vane at a visible height on the Agora, effectively making it an early example of a clocktower.[4] According to the testimony of Vitruvius and Varro, Andronicus of Cyrrhus designed the structure.[5] The tower's columns bore capitals of a design now known as "Tower of the Winds Corinthian", although they lack the volutes ordinarily found in Corinthian capitals.[citation needed]

In early Christian times, the building was used as the bell-tower of an Eastern Orthodox church. Under Ottoman rule it became a tekke and was used by whirling dervishes. At that time it was buried up to half its height, and traces of this can be observed in the interior, where Turkish inscriptions may be found on the walls. It was fully excavated in the 19th century by the Archaeological Society of Athens.[citation needed]


The building became better known outside Greece when details were published in London in the first volume of The Antiquities of Athens (which also described four other ancient Greek buildings). It had been surveyed by James "Athenian" Stuart and Nicholas Revett on an expedition in 1751–54.

Several buildings are based on the design of the Towers of the Winds, including:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Noble & de Solla Price 1968, p. 345.
  2. ^ Tagaris, Karolina; Fronista, Phoebe. "Ancient Greece's restored tower of winds keeps its secrets". Kathimerini. Retrieved 20 May 2021.
  3. ^ a b Noble & de Solla Price 1968, p. 353.
  4. ^ Noble & de Solla Price 1968, p. 349.
  5. ^ Noble & de Solla Price 1968, p. 354.
  6. ^ "Mount Stewart". UK: National Trust. Retrieved 22 April 2016.


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Media related to Tower of the Winds at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 37°58′27″N 23°43′37″E / 37.974256°N 23.7270701°E / 37.974256; 23.7270701