Tower of the Winds

Tower of the Winds

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<Location> Roman Agora, Athens, Attika, Greece

<Also Known As> Horologion of Andronikos Kyrrhestes

A building with functions of sundial, water clock, and wind observer. It used to be attributed to the first century BCE, but now it is generally supposed to be constructed between 150 and 125 BCE, i.e. before the construction of the Roman Agora. It has octagonal plan and each side is decorated with relief of personified wind. Under the reliefs, there are sundials. It is about 14 m high and made of Pentelikon marble. It is preserved almost perfectly and even the marble roofs are original.

It was constructed by an astronomer from Kyrrhos (of Macedonia or of Syria), or according to his planning. In Antiquity, it was known as Horologion (Horologeion) of Andronikos Kyrrhestes. He is also known to have made a sofisticated sundial found in the island of Tenos (IG XII5 891). We don't know who commissioned this building, but he might be one of the Ptolemaic kings.

Tower of the Winds
There is a water clock inside the tower, and there is an attached water tank (left). The clock face should have been in metal, but is not extant.

At the left in the photo below, there is a metal stick placed on the tower; it is the clock arm for the sun dial.

Tower of the Winds

Wind Gods
The personified winds of each side are Boreas (north wind), Skiron (north west), Zephyros (west), Lips (south west), Notos (south), Euros (south east), Apeliotes (east), and Kaikias (north east). Each of the "winds" is depicted with suitable attributes.

According to Vitruvius (I, 6, 4), there was a triton that indicated the direction of wind, but it has been lost.

Under the Ottoman Turks, the darvishes used this building.

Tower of Winds in Restoration
The Tower in restoration in 2014.

Tower of the Winds

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