The temple was built to celebrate the peace with Persia, Nike meaning "victory."
The cella is nearly square and has an Ionic portico. The cella originally housed
a wooden statue of Athena, holding a pomegranate in one hand and a helmet in the
other, the former standing for peace, the other for war. A frieze, badly weathered,
runs around the exterior of the building. Headless gods are on the east front.
Among them can be discerned Nike and possibly Zeus. Peitho, Aprhodite, and Eros
adorn the south corner. Twenty two figures in all can be distinguished with the
majority being female. Scenes of the battle of Plataea, of Athenians fighting Persians
and Boeotians are on the other sides. The temple stands on a platform, paved
with marble and surrounded by parapet on which were originally mounted slabs
with reliefs of winged victories carved. (More on reliefs)