Your exploration of the Ancient Agora begins at the Temple of Hephaestus. It was finished in 415 BC after 34 years of construction. Unlike many of the archeological sites in Athens, this structure is largely intact. The project was initiated by Pericles (495 – 429 BC), a leader of the Athenian democracy. He sponsored numerous buildings during the 5th century BC including the Parthenon. This Golden Age of Athens is also called the Age of Pericles. The temple is dedicated to Hephaestus. The son of Zeus and Hera was the Greek god of craftsmen, artisans and sculptors. He was also the blacksmith to the gods on Mount Olympus. Among his many consorts was his wife Aphrodite. She was the Greek goddess of love and beauty. The temple served as the Orthodox Church of Saint George Akamates from the 7th century AD until 1834. The ancient structure was a museum until 1934.