Hera Sanctuary (Heraion) was a sanc
Ancient Heraion was a sanctuary to the goddess Hera and was in use from the Greek Dark Ages in the 8th Century BC until the late Hellenistic period. The sanctuary belonged to the powerful ancient city of Corinth (Korinthos) for most of its time, and fell into disuse after the Romans sacked Corinth in 146 BC. The sanctuary was built on two levels, with temples to Hera on each level. The upper level temple was dedicated to Hera Limenaia and the lower temple, by the beach, was dedicated to Hera Akraia. The sanctuary slowly developed over the years to become one of the richest rural sanctuary’s in the whole of Greece, and its location in a small cove with a sandy beach must have made the sanctuary complex look ‘heavenly’ to its ancient visitors. According to legend and Euripides, Medea, who was married to Jason (of the Argonaughts fame) murdered and buried their two children at Heraion, whilst fleeing from Corinth.
Originally excavated during the 1930’s, under the direction of Humfry G. Payne, archaeological excavations are still ongoing and have uncovered temples, altars, large cisterns, aquaducts, a sacred pool, dining areas, an L-shaped 2-storied stoa and a Hellenistic agora. The excavations at Heraion have thrown up some unusual and interesting ancient building techniques, the 3-aisled temple of Hera Akraia is unique, and the 2-storey Stoa had a colonade of Doric columns on the lower floor level with Ionic columns on the upper level. On the Southern beach-side of the temple of Hera Akraia a large limekiln was discovered. This limekiln was used to reduce the marble of the sanctuary and temples into lime for the construction of the Hexamilion wall across the Isthmus of Corinth in the 5th Century AD.
Things to do: Take a wonderful refreshing swim from the sanctuary beach, or do some ‘cliff-jumping’ from the surrounding rocks for the more adventurous, as the sea in the sanctuary cove is both deep and clear.