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Photo of the Temple of Olympian Zeus, with Christian stylite hut atop the ruins, taken in 1858.
1858 photo by Dimitris Konstantinou

 

“View of Athens from the river Ilissos” by Johann Michael Wittmer, 1833

It turns out that Christian ascetics known as stylites, or “pillar saints” are the explanation.

After Greek independence from the Ottoman Empire, efforts were made in the 19th century to strengthen the national identity by harking back to the greatness of the Hellenic past. So in the eyes of the Greek authorities, this Christian addition had to go.

When is a ruin “finished”?
Who does the ruin belong to?
Can a ruin be ruined?