Athens is one of the oldest cities in the world and has many historical sights to see. Of course, the most famous and probably the most important is the Acropolis of Athens. But there are also some other places that you should not skip. The Agora of Athens is one of them.
The Agora of Athens (also known as Classical Agora, Athenian Agora, or Forum of Athens) is the greatest example of an ancient Greek agora there is. The Agora of Athens was built around the 6th century BC and excavated starting 1931.
For those who don’t know, the word “agora” translates as a “gathering place”. The Agora was a center of public life including things like spiritual, business, art, politics and more. The Agora was a place where citizens would gather to hear government announcements. It also became a popular place for markets. People would set their stalls and workshops in the center of agora.
To get to the Agora of Athens you will have to buy a ticket that costs 10€ or a card that works for 5 days and gives you access to many historical sights including the Agora of Athens for 30€. Sometimes they also have promotional days and the entrance to Agora is free. And I know this for sure, because that is how I got in. I guess I was lucky enough to be in Athens on that special day (I have been in Athens twice, each time just for only one whole day).
The Agora of Athens is not just one building as you might think. There are usually a few temples dedicated to different gods, a market place, a court, some offices, and many other buildings. Unfortunately many of which are destroyed.
At the Agora of Athens there are three main spots that you must visit. Among the piles of broken white marble stones and pillars, and damaged bases of the buildings, you can highlight three locations that are well preserved or restavrated. I am speaking, of course, about the Temple of Hephaestus, Church of The Holy Apostles, and The Stoa of Attalos.
The temple of Hephaestus is located on the right site from the entrance. It is the most preserved sight in the Agora of Athens. That might be due to the fact that between the 7th century AD and the middle of the 19th century this temple was used as a Greek Orthodox church of Saint George Akamates.
As I said before, the temples were dedicated to different gods. Hephaestus was a god – the patron of metalworking and fire. Around the temple, archeologists found the remains of a few pottery and metal workshops.
Nowadays you can’t go inside the temple of Hephaestus, but you can come really close and still see some details on the temple’s ceiling and walls.
The Church of the Holy Apostles, as you probably guessed, was built way later than everything else in the Agora of Athens. It can be dated to the 10th century AD. Archeologists also say that the church was built over nymphaion (a monument dedicated to nymphs) from the 2nd century.
The church is open for tourists. So you can freely enter it and have a closer look at the old frescoes that were preserved. You of course should not touch anything, but apparently you can take pictures inside the church, at least I didn’t find a sign that says otherwise.
Stoa Attalos is the only building in the Agora of Athens that was fully reconstructed. You will notice right away that this building is quite different from the others (models), and it’s not because it looks new. The stoa has two stories rather than one like all the others in Agora of Athens.
After the restoration, the Stoa Attalos has become an office building for archeologists and a museum. Tourists are allowed on both floors. And to visit the museum on the first floor you don’t need to pay any additional charges.
Name: “Agora of Athens”/”Athenian Agora”/”Forum of Athens”;
Highlights: Temple of Hephaestus, Church of Holy Apostles, Stoa Attalos;
Ticket price: 10€ per person, 5€ reduced price. This sight is also included in the 30€ tourist card.
Hours: from 8 AM to 6 PM, but hours might change in winter time.
Location: Adrianou 24, Athina 105 55;
Duration time of the visit: 30 minutes to an hour.
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