Soak up history in the place where fashionable Greeks came to shop, gossip and discuss the big issues of the day.
The agora was the centre of Greek life in ancient times, and the Roman Agora in Athens has its roots in the 1st century, when it was built with donations from the Roman emperors Caesar and Augustus. Athenians would come here to shop and trade, gossip with friends and family, or discuss wider issues of politics, religion and philosophy. It was the heart of the city’s social life and its main commercial centre. No wonder the vibrant atmosphere of ancient times can still be felt among its ruined colonnades, peopled with the ghosts of men and women in traditional Greek dress going about their daily rounds.
The Roman Agora is situated inside the Acropolis complex to the north west. Still visible are remnants of shops, fountains and temples enclosing a large courtyard surrounded by elegant white marble columns. One of the best-preserved structures is a 1st-century latrine, and you can also see the remains of an ancient drainage system.
The Gate of Athena Archegetis is one of the most photographed buildings in the Agora, with its exquisite Doric columns framing the perfect shot. The site is also famous for the magnificent Fethiye Djami mosque, dating from the period of the Ottoman Empire.
Refreshments may be purchased in the park outside the Acropolis, while there are shops nearby selling reasonably priced food and drink to carry along with you. Entry is included in the price of admission to the Acropolis, and guided tours or souvenir guidebooks are available for an additional cost from the ticket kiosk. The site is open daily but it’s a good idea to get there early to avoid the crowds and the summer heat.