Hadrian’s Library | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Hadrian’s Library

Attica, Attica, Greece

About Hadrian’s Library

The ruins of Hadrian’s Library in Athens are all that remain of this important centre of ancient learning, which was built by the Roman Emperor Hadrian between 125 and 132 AD.

Hadrian was a great admirer of Greek culture and constructed a number of significant buildings in Athens, including this grand library. In its heyday, it would have housed over 17,000 books, scrolls, documents and papyri.

Destroyed by the Herulae in 267 AD it was later repaired before being damaged again during the later barbarian invasions. During the Byzantine era a series of churches were built on the site and further renovation was carried out in the Ottoman period. After suffering this continual series of damage, reconstruction and alteration, the site was excavated, studied and opened to the public in 2004.

The most impressive of the ruins are the great Corinthian columns on the well-preserved outer wall, and the impressive portico which served as the entrance to the courtyard.