About Roman Agora of Athens
The Roman Agora of Athens – also known as the Roman Forum of Athens – was founded in the late first century BC/early first century AD. Its construction was funded by Julius Caesar and the Emperor Augustus.
History of Roman Agora of Athens
The Roman Agora of Athens is located on the northern side of the Acropolis. By a paved path, it is connected to the Ancient Agora in Thissio, which was a place for political gatherings for the Athenians. The Roman Agora, however, was a marketplace.
It would have originally consisted of a large, open-air courtyard surrounded by colonnades on all four sides. On the eastern side was a series of shops, and on the southern, a fountain.
Probably the most impressive historic site at the Roman Agora of Athens is what is known as the Tower of the Winds. A clock, weather vane, sundial, and compass all in one, the octagonal monument is generally thought to date to the first century BC and is very well-preserved. On each of the sides are eight friezes which depict the eight winds of Greek mythology.
During Hadrian’s reign, paved slabs were added to the Roman Agora, and the famous Library of Hadrian was constructed. After the invasion of Herulae in 267 AD, the Roman Agora became the administrative and commercial centre of Athens.
In centuries past, invasion from the Venetians and the Ottomans meant that much of the area was destroyed and replaced with houses, workshops, churches, and mosques. Indeed, the Fethiye Mosque still exists next to the Roman Agora.
The Roman Agora of Athens is also home to the Gate of Athena Archegetis (circa 11BC) as well as the remains of some ancient public toilets.
Roman Agora of Athens Today
Today, the Roman Agora is a popular attraction for visitors and locals alike. A pass to access all of the historic sites in the area such as the Acropolis and Ancient Agora costs 30 euro, and includes this site. It takes around an hour to walk around, and at night is lit up by well-placed lights which makes for stunning viewing.
It is also recommended to have a tour guide by your side when visiting all of the ruins.
Getting to Roman Agora of Athens
From the centre of Athens, the forum is reachable in around 15 minutes by car via Stadiou. There are also a number of buses which depart every 8 minutes or so from the centre and take around 5 minutes to reach the site. By foot, the site is reachable in around 15 minutes via Athinas.
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