The Agora Museum – Athens - History and Facts | History Hit

The Agora Museum – Athens

Attica, Attica, Greece

The Agora Museum displays artefacts from the Ancient Agora of Athens and is housed within the reconstructed Stoa of Attalos.

Peta Stamper

06 May 2021

About The Agora Museum – Athens

The Agora Museum displays finds and artefacts from the site of the Ancient Agora of Athens, in Greece. The museum is also located within the reconstructed ancient Stoa of Attalos. Originally constructed in the mid-2nd century BC, the Stoa of Attalos – once a popular shopping precinct and meeting place – is named after the king who built it, Attalos II of Pergamum.

For those visiting the Ancient Agora of Athens, the Agora Museum is a good starting point to make sense of the ruins with models of how the site would once have looked.

The Agora Museum – Athens history

The Hellenistic Stoa of Atallos was rebuilt between 1952 and 1956 by the American School of Classical Studies from the ground up in order to house the artefacts found at the Agora excavations. The Stoa of Atallos was originally a covered walkway or portico within the Agora of Athens, built between 159 and 138 BC under the rule of King Attalos II of Pergamum.

Typical of Hellenistic building, the stoa was elaborate and larger than other ancient Athenian buildings, featuring 2 rather than a single storey. The stoa was a gift to Athens as a site for education and was used from around 150 BC onwards. The wooden parts of the building were destroyed by the Heruli in 267 AD and the ruins became part of a fortified wall.

In 1948, Homer Thompson of the Agora excavations in the 1940s, proposed the stoa be reconstructed and used for the museum. Enough of the stoa remained to fully reconstruct it to its original height, and as much of the original building’s design and materials were used as possible – the most ambitious reconstruction of a freestanding ancient Athenian building of the time.

As well as opening as a museum in 1957, the Agora Museum has since been the location of the 2003 Treaty of Accession for 10 countries to the European Union, and was refurbished in 2012.

The Agora Museum – Athens today

Today, enter the ground floor Agora Museum through columns that have stood for several millennia. Museum highlights include some of the artwork dating back to the stone age, as well as every-day objects such as beaker jugs from 1400 to 1375 BC and artefacts linked to the Athenian democratic period. Beside every exhibit are large information boards with reproduction drawings to gain a fuller picture of times and their uses.

A small museum which can get busy during peak daytime hours, the ancient stoa would have been an equally bustling site full of merchants bartering. Today, you can take shelter from the hot Athenian sun and pause among ancient Greco-Roman statues that include an early 4th century Aphrodite and a Nymph holding a water jar dating to the 2nd century AD.

Getting to The Agora Museum – Athens

The iconic Greek ruins are easily found on foot near the Temple of Hephaestus and Monastiraki Square. The nearest metro stop is Monastiraki on the blue and green lines. Otherwise, buses 025, 026, 027, 035, 227 and 500 all stop at Monasteraki, a couple of minutes walk from the Agora Museum.

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