Architecture Around the World

Tholos
Delphi, Greece


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The Tholos

This is a circular marble structure 13.5 m. in diameter, in the Doric order. The cella (pron. SELL a) walls - inner room for statue of the god - were surrounded by 20 columns, three of which have been restored with the architrave, triglyphs, metopes and part of the guttering of the roof. Some more metopes have survived and are on display in the museum. On these are depicted scenes from the Battle of the Amazons and the Battle of the Centaurs. The cella's interior was exquisitely decorated with 10 Corinthian half columns attached to the wall.

The Tholos was built at the beginning of the 4th century B.C. and is considered to be the work of Theodoros of Phokaia, who also wrote a book explicitly about it. Several suggestions have been made concerning the possible purpose of the building. The most probable being that it was consecrated to the cult of earth goddess deities.

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Photos and their arrangement © 2001 Chuck LaChiusa
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