The ancient temple, located in the Rhodotopi of Ioannina, at the foot of the Gardiki hill, has been identified with the temple of Areios Dia of the ancient Passarona, capital of the Molossians, whose walled acropolis is preserved at the top of the hill. The temple was built around the end of the 4th century. BC In 167 BC the temple was set on fire by the Roman Aemilius Paulus, the conqueror of Macedonia, but it was repaired and continued to function, as evidenced by stone capitals from Roman times and a Roman statue. It is unknown when it was finally abandoned, however its abandonment is evidenced by the use of the site for burials already in antiquity. It is very likely that this temple was the official sanctuary of the Molossians, where the god of war, Areios Zeus, the most important god of the Dorian inhabitants of Epirus, was worshipped.
The church was of the Ionic style, with a pavilion, with a porch and a nave, and had dimensions of 19.30 x 11 m. From the monument, only the platform and part of the entablature have been preserved, while the vertebrae of the Ionic columns were found scattered in the surrounding area. It is believed that the wing of the temple had 6 x 11 columns, while the configuration of the pediment indicates that the temple must have been a vestibule with four columns.
Editor: Fotini Anastasopoulou