The Horologion of Andronikos or best known as the Tower of the Winds is an octagonal tower built from Pentelic marble by the architect and astronomer Andronicus of Cyrrhus in
. It stands near the eastern Propylon on the Roman Agora and dates from Hellenistic times, probably from the 2nd century BC (although some are inclined to date it to around 50 BC). Macedonia
It is one of those buildings that proves – if proof is needed – the highly developed knowledge about wind and water in antiquity.
The Tower of the Winds has just been cleaned and restored (2016) and is truly worth the visit. The tower is
12 meters high and measures eight meters in diameter. The top of its conical roof that is still in place was topped in antiquity by a bronze weather vane like we know from our own church steeples. Each of the eight sides of the tower faces a specific wind direction that is illustrated with appropriate friezes: Boreas for the North, Kaikias for the Northeast, Eurus for the East (but according to some it is the god of the southeastern winds), Apeliotes for the Southeast (although he is the god of the rising sun and thus East), Notus for the South, Lips for the Southwest, Zephyrus for the West, and finally Skiron for the Northwest. Underneath each relief is a sundial, eight in total, making it the first clock tower in history.
Inside the tower, a mechanism powered a water clock or clepsydra driven by the water coming down from the Acropolis. The mechanism has recently been compared to that of Anticythera. It functioned thanks to water pressure created by the interior of a cylindrical space situated on the south side of the monument. The water channels are clearly visible in the tower’s pavement.
The construction has been preserved over the centuries as the tower was converted into a Byzantine church and during Ottoman rule, it was used by the whirling dervishes. It is hard to imagine that by then the tower had sunk into dust and dirt, meaning that only the upper half was still visible.