Public Art Around The World

More Than Just The Plaque

Terrace of Lions

Terrace of Lions

Public Art: Terrace of Lions

Sculptors: Unknown

Description: The Terrace of Lions originally consisted of between 9 and 16 marble lions standing in a row, facing eastwards towards the Sacred Lake (birthplace of Apollo) and guarding the Sacred Way. Each lion is in the crouching position, atop a stone pedestal, with its tail between its legs and mouth ajar, as though ready to pounce. Today, only 6 of the originals remain, while an additional 3 are in varying stages of ruin. The 6th lion, which was originally headless, stands outside the Porta Magna in Venice, Italy.

Date: The Lions were carved just before 600BC and were dedicated to Apollo by the people of Naxos.

Location: The original Terrace of Lions were replaced by replicas in 1999 and moved to the Archaeological Museum of Delos due to the wind and sea air corrosion.

Trivia: One of the Delos lions can be found outside the Venetian Arsenal’s main gate, the Porta Magna, in Venice, Italy.  The gate was built in 1460 by Antonio Gambello from a design by Jacopo Bellini. The originally headless Delos lion was restored and placed there in 1716 to commemorate Venice’s reconquest of the island of Corfu. The other lions outside the gate are also Greek, but they were added in 1687.

The Sacred Lake has been emptied for hygienic reasons.

The lions were discovered between 1886 and 1906.

The Lions were considered the eternal guardians of the Sanctuary and they lined the avenue in a manner only encountered in the Orient and Egypt.

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