Beyond the Parthenon and near the north wall of the Acropolis stands the Erechtheum, this takes its name from Erechtheus, a hero and, according to some mythological genealogies, a king of Athens. This temple was dedicated to several deities, including Athena and Poseidon, and housed the Athenians’ most sacred statue, a wooden image of Athena Polias (Athena, goddess of the city). The Erechtheum, like the Propylaea, was probably designed by Mnesicles. Construction of it began in the 430s or 420s BC and ended in 405 BC.
The Erechtheum is one of the most elaborate buildings on the Acropolis. Its plan is irregular, probably because of the sloping site and the need to preserve earlier places of worship on the site or nearby. Porches project from three sides of the Erechtheum, but they are at different heights and are not centered on each side. Graceful Ionic columns support the porches on the eastern and northern sides. Elegant caryatids (columns carved in the shape of draped female figures) support the Porch of the Maidens on the south side of the Erechtheum.