Agora and Other Archeological Sites, Athens

The various archeological sites in Athens have ruins; some are just scattered stones which roughly etched the shapes of the foundations of old buildings and rooms. The Agora as it was known was one of the most important part of the ancient city of Athens. If you are here with a blank mind it can be quite confusing and frustrating. And if you are not with any guided tours it is best you read up about the place so that you can understand and correlate the sites and sights.

I had referred to some books. There are plenty of informative boards that describe the place. One has to use a lot of imagination. For me the very act of stepping on sites of ‘150BC and beyond’ made me ancient! My school history textbook characters Aristotle, Socrates, Plato more seem to come to life, walking around this same site discussing philosophy, science, medicine. What I could and how far I could stretch my imagination seemed to make more meaning than what I could actually see!

The Agora of Athens was teeming with life in the BCs! A tour through the museum in Agora gives a good idea of their clothes, footwear, and head gears worn by them then. Ancient Agora, this is the same place where Socrates taught. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine and its Hippocratic Oath, and Pythagoras, a mathematician who developed the geometric theory of a triangle’s sides, were both highly public figures who taught and shared ideas in their own hometown agoras.

You can read more here if you are interested in Socrates. The Agora.

Roman Agora is very close within walking distance from Greek Agora. This was built by funds provided by Julius Caesar and Augustus in 1st century BC. There is a huge gate at the entrance, the Gate of Athena Archegetis. The huge space inside the enclosure has ruins and several columns still standing tall and strong. I have this strange weakness for these columns and have taken plenty of pictures of them against the blue sky and selfies with column in the background. The Tower of Winds was shut to tourists that day.

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The Library of Hadrian is very close to Roman Agora and it is possible to cover both these sites in an hour. The Library of Hadrian provided the people of Athens with a new, multi-purpose, public square and cultural center that contained a garden, works of art, a library, and lecture halls. Just imagine how advanced they were then! This complex too has a huge open area inside; earlier plans reveal a central pool and garden, surrounded by columns made from marble.

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Kerameikos, in the northwest of Acropolis in fact the farthest has the cemetery and the “demosion sema” (public burial monument) where Perikles delivered his funeral oration in 431 B.C. (It is close to the metro station.) There is a good museum here with excellent display. This complex is huge and it can easily take 2 hours to cover the ground and the museum, better time yourself if you wish to visit this place.

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SkyWatch Friday 

Change of Guard in Syntagma Square Athens, Greece
Temple of Hephaestus, Athens

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