Ancient Agora of Athens

Birthplace of Democracy, of Justice, of Equality of Speech, of Equality before the Law, of Freedom of Speech, and Debate, the Ancient Agora of Athens is a unifying monument for humanity and a great symbol for peace, progress and Freedom.

It was here that great philosophers like Socrates and Plato taught and expressed their views on issues of creation, morals, and aesthetics, while debating with the Sophists. Great rhetoricians like Demosthenes and Isocrates charmed the citizens with their elegance of rhetoric.

Ancient Agora of Athens. Reconstruction by Joseph Buhlmann Ancient Agora of Athens - hotelAthensGreece.com
Ancient Agora of Athens. Reconstruction by Joseph Buhlmann

In the Agora, great politicians like Pericles expressed their political views and led the people to glory. Important figures of the law passed down judgment, clerics worshiped the gods, and citizens had the power to meet, vote and directly choose their own destiny.

Today, the Agora lies at the central of the city of Athens. The “American School of Classical Studies at Athens” is responsible for its reconstruction and conservation

The soil of the Ancient Agora was occupied without interruption in all periods of the city’s history. A residential and burial area in the Late Neolithic period (3000 B.C.), in the 6th century B.C. the Agora became a public area.

The entrance to the square was located off the street leading from Kerameikos. The Agora originally occupied a larger area than the current archeological site. The modern metro line to Piraeus and the Adrianou Str. cut through the public area, which extended beneath what is now a built-up area, to the north of the modern road.

Ancient Agora of Athens: the metro in front of the Stoa of Attalus Ancient Agora of Athens - hotelAthensGreece.com
Ancient Agora of Athens: the metro in front of the Stoa of Attalus

The buildings of the Agora were destroyed in 480 BC by the invading Persians, only to be rebuilt again in the subsequent years of the 5th century BC when Athenian culture flourished into a superpower with immense cultural, political, and military influence.

It was again plundered in 86 BC by the Romans, and was slowly rebuilt by the same conquerors who added many new buildings like the Odeon which occupies the center of the excavated Agora.

In the next few centuries the place remained the center of activity in Athens and suffered several times at the hands of a multitude of invaders, until it was razed by the Slavs in 580 AD. It remained uninhabited until the middle of the 19th century when modern Greece won its independence from the Ottoman empire.

The Greek Archaeological Society had made the first excavation campaign in 1859-1912. It was followed by the one of the German Archaeological Institute at Athens in 1896-97.

In 1890-91, a deep trench cut for the Athens-Peiraeus Railway brought to light extensive remains of ancient buildings. In 1931 the American School of Classical Studies started the systematic excavations with the financial support of J. Rockefeller and continued until 1941.

West side of the Agora, May 25, 1931, the first day of excavations in the section. Credit: American School of Classical Studies at Athens. Ancient Agora of Athens - hotelAthensGreece.com
West side of the Agora, May 25, 1931, the first day of excavations in the section. Credit: American School of Classical Studies at Athens.

Work was resumed in 1945 and is still continuing. In order to uncover the whole area of the Agora it was necessary to demolish around 400 modern buildings covering a total area of ca. 12 hectares.

In the years 1953-56, the Stoa of Attalos was reconstructed to become a museum and in the same period the Byzantine church of Aghioi Apostoloi, built around A.D. 1000, was restored by the American School.

Plan with the major buildings and structures
of the Ancient Agora of Athens of the 5th century BCE.


Plan of the Ancient Agora of Athens - Ancient Agora of Athens - hotelAthensGreece.com
  1. Peristyle Court
  2. Mint
  3. Enneakrounos
  4. South Stoa I and South Stoa II
  5. Aiakeion
  6. Strategeion
  7. Agoraios Kolonos
  8. Tholos
  9. Agora stone
  10. Monument of the Eponymous Heroes
  11. Metroon (Old Bouleuterion)
  12. New Bouleuterion
  13. Temple of Hephaestus (Hephaestion)
  14. Temple of Apollo Patroos
  15. Stoa of Zeus
  16. Altar of the Twelve Gods
  17. Stoa Basileios (Royal stoa)
  18. Temple of Aphrodite Urania
  19. Stoa of Hermes
  20. Stoa Poikile

A virtual reconstruction of the Ancient Agora of Athens has been produced through a collaboration of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens and the Foundation of the Hellenic World.


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map of Plaka, Athens, Greece

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Visit Plaka the oldest and most attractive neighborhood of Athens. Stroll around the narrow streets and enjoy the neoclassical mansions, climb up the steps to Anafiotica and explore a hidden small village in the heart of Athens!

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