The agora in Athens had private housing, until it was reorganized by Peisistratus in the 6th century BC. Although he may have lived on the agora himself, he removed the other houses, closed wells, and made it the centre of Athenian government. He also built a drainage system, mountains and a temple to the Olympian gods. Cimon later improved the agora by constructing new buildings and planting trees. In the 5th century BC there were temples constructed to Hephaestus, Zeus and Apollo
The only standing Byzantine monument in the Agora is the Church of the Holy Apostles (XI century)
The Ancient Agora of Athens was the centre of the religious, commercial and public life of the city. Originally it was an open space, which was flanked gradually by public buildings and commercial arcades, temples and altars dedicated to the gods, as well as statues of prominent citizens and foreign benefactors. One of the most outstanding edifices in the Agora is the Stoa of Attalos, which was built in about 150 BC through the donation of Attalus II, king of Pergamon. In the 1950s the Stoa was reconstructed by the American School of Classical Studies and today it houses the Museum of the Ancient Agora.
The Roman Agora was completed in 11 BC thanks to funds donated first by Julius Caesar and then by Octavian Augustus. Survivals of this typical agora include its monumental gate, dedicated to Athena Archegetis, its central courtyard, which had an Ionian peristyle, the Horologion of Andronikos or Tower of the Winds, which operated simultaneously as weather vane, water clock and sundial and which was converted during the Ottoman period into the tekke of the Dervishes, the public latrines (Vespasianae) and the facade, dedicated to the Theoi Sebastoi.
The Ancient Agora in Athens is the city's most popular agora.
In addition to being a place where people gathered to buy and sell all kinds of commodities, it was also a place where people assembled to discuss all kinds of topics: business, politics, current events, or the nature of the universe and the divine.Here, where ancient Greek democracy came to life, you get a wonderful opportunity to have an idea of the commercial, political, religious, and cultural life of one of the great cities of the ancient world.
Metro stop: monastiraki.
One of my favourite monuments on the Roman agora is the Tower of the Winds.
We use to call it just “Aerides”(winds) but it is also known as “Horologion(timepiece) of Andronicos” (the Macedonian astronomer that build it around 50BC). The tower was excavated by the Greek Archaeological Society in 1845. Before that time it was partly buried in the ground and in early Christian times was used as the bell tower of a church!
The octagonal tower is made by pentelic marble, its high is 12m, it has a diameter of 8m, with a Doric interior, Corinthian exterior and originally was topped by a revolving bronze weather vane depicting Triton that had a wand in his hand indicated the direction from which the wind was blowing! What’s more, there was a water clock(that’s why it’s also called horologion) in the interior of the tower supplied by water coming from the Acropolis.
In each side you can see a sculpted figure of the eight winds (in ancient Greece the winds were Gods that had divine powers):
Borias (N, He blows the cold north wind through a large shell),
Kaikias (NE, He throws a basket of hailstones),
Evrus (E, An old man with beard is wrapped in a cloak),
Apeliotis (SE, A man bringing fruits and grain),
Notos (S, Bearer of rain, he empties a pot of water),
Lips (SW, He holds the stern of a ship, promising a good sailing wind),
Zephyros (W, A young man scattering flowers),
Skiron (NW, He scatters glowing ashes from a bronze vessel)
Just below Acropolis, Ancient Agora was the central place and market of the ancient city, the place where daily life was happening. In our days you wont see Socrates among the people that walk up and down but visitors of the museum that is there (interesting, don’t miss it too).
Pisistratos built set in the area a lot of new building like fountains, a temple etc and at the same time he removed some houses to Agora to be the centre of the government. Later, at Agora almost every public meeting was taking place here, social and cultural activities and also the law courts, religious manifestations etc
At the easter edge of Agora you can see Stoa of Attalus built by King Attalus II the king of Pergamon. Part of the building was used for stores those times. Like many other building around its also made of Pentelic marble and it is 115m wide and 20m deep. Doric order was used at the exterior colonmade while Ionic at the interior one (typical combination those times).
What you can see now is the reconstruction of the stoa made in the 50s and turned the stoa into Ancient Agora Museum. In fact the building it’s a replica of the original stoa. And please, don’t try to put your head on the headless statues to have a funny photo! The guards will run after you anyway… :)
While visiting the Ancient Agora it is important to visit the superb museum. Located in the reconstructed Stoa of Attalus II, it houses a strong collection of artifacts that have been found on the Agora itself. The original building was built in the 2nd century B.C. It sort of a market where merchants sold food stuffs. Eventually the Stoa became the centre of political and intellectual life in Athens.
The museum is open when the rest of the Agora is. Entrance is included with the price of admission to the Agora.
The Tower of the Winds is an octagonal marble tower on the Roman agora. It was supposedly built around 50 BC. The 12 m tall structure has a diameter of about 8 m and was topped in antiquity by a weathervane-like Triton that indicated the wind direction.
Below the frieze depicting the eight wind deities — Boreas (N), Kaikias (NE), Eurus (E), Apeliotes (SE), Notus (S), Lips (SW), Zephyrus (W), and Skiron (NW) — there are nine sundials.
You may watch my high resolution photo of Athens on the Google Earth according to the following coordinates 37º 58' 26.26" N 23º 43' 36.67" E or on my Google Earth Panoramio Tower of the Winds .
The agora in Athens again became a residential area during Roman and Byzantine times.
You may find here the following sights:
Peristylar Court, Mint, Enneacrounos, South stoa, Heliaea, Strategeion, Colonos Agoraios, Tholos, 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.
You may watch my high resolution photo of Athens on the Google Earth according to the following coordinates 37º 58' 20.25" N 23º 43' 34.14" E or on my Google Earth Panoramio Ancient Agora .
The Temple of Hephaestus ('Theseion') is very well-preserved externally. Its construction considered to begin in 449 BC. It was converted into a church by the Byzantine Greeks. The plan has a distinctive arrangement the east porch being aligned with the third columns on the flanks. As in the Parthenon over the porch the Doric frieze is replaced by a continuous Ionic frieze.
You may watch my high resolution photo of Athens on the Google Earth according to the following coordinates 37º 58' 20.25" N 23º 43' 34.14" E or on my Google Earth Panoramio Naos Hefaistou .
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