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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Peristyle Court
- South Stoa I and South Stoa II
- Agoraios Kolonos
- Agora stone
- Monument of the Eponymous Heroes
- Metroon (Old Bouleuterion)
- New Bouleuterion
- Temple of Hephaestus (Hephaestion)
- Temple of Apollo Patroos
- Stoa of Zeus
- Altar of the Twelve Gods
- Stoa Basileios (Royal stoa)
- Temple of Aphrodite Urania
- Stoa of Hermes
- 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.