The Temple of Zeus in the center of the Altis was the work of the architect Libon. Standing on a platform, the temple is in the Doric peripteral style (six columns by thirteen columns), with impressively decorated pediments. The temple was built between 470 BC and 456 BC and was paid for from the spoils of war won by the Eleians from Pisa.

A ramp, still extant, led into the prodomos. It was at this entrance that the winners of the games were crowned with laurel wreaths. The entrance of the prodomos had two Doric columns, supporting a frieze of trigylphs and metopes depicting the labors of Herakles. The opisthodomos, seperated from the cella by a wall, also had two Doric columns and also supported metopes of the labors of Herakles. From the rostrum of the opisthodomos, many famous speeches were made.

The cella was lined with two colonnades of seven Doric columns, which supported a second tier, forming a gallery from which pilgrims could get a better view of the great statue of Zeus. The chryselephantine statue of Zeus stood at the far end of the cella. A square area at its base held oil which kept the wood of the statue from expanding and cracking the ivory. The temple was burned in 426 AD by Theodosius II and later badly struck by earthquakes in the 6th century AD.

Temple of Zeus, East Ramp Temple of Zeus Temple of Zeus, West Front