Breathe the atmosphere of a bygone age in the historic commercial and social heart of Athens.
The Ancient Agora was the place where people came to shop, socialise, trade, hold meetings and discuss the burning issues of the day. This site to the north west of the Acropolis is one of the best surviving examples of a typical Greek agora, or market, dating from the 6th century.
Today, you can wander around the ruins and get a feel for what life was like for affluent Athenians during Greece’s Golden Age. Although many of the buildings are roped off in order to prevent further deterioration to their delicate limestone and marble columns and facades, the surviving friezes depicting gods and mythological figures can still be admired from a safe distance.
Of the nine churches in the original Agora, only one now remains. However the nearby Temple of Hephaestus on the hill of Kolonos Agoraios is one of the best-preserved examples of Doric temple architecture in Greece. Its dedication to the patron god of metal working and craftsmanship would have been particularly relevant to the tradespeople of the Agora.
The landscaped grounds provide a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of nearby modern Athens. Here you will find many ancient plants such as almond trees, myrtle bushes and pomegranates. Explore the dense undergrowth of the hillside for traces of ancient archaeological monuments, then head for the centre of the Agora to admire the splendour of the Acropolis towering above you.
It’s easy to get carried away by a strong sense of history and heritage as you explore the Agora. This is the place where Socrates held lessons with his students, in the workshop of Simon the shoemaker, although its exact location is unknown. It’s also the site of important political meetings and military activities, as well as the commercial heart of the ancient city, where shopkeepers touted their wares and residents came to bargain and gossip.
Entry to the Ancient Agora is included in the Acropolis admission price and the site is open daily.