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Bibliothèque d'Hadrien Athènes

Hadrian’s Library in Athens

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Let’s be clear from the start: Hadrian’s Library is not the most memorable archaeological site in Greece.

However, it’s worth visiting if you have some spare time, especially since it’s included in the combined ticket that grants access to the Acropolis. So why not check it out?

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A brief history of Hadrian’s Library in Athens

Located just a stone’s throw from the Roman Agora and the Ancient Agora (not to be confused!), Hadrian’s Library was once a vast building measuring about 122 meters by 82, and housing no less than 20,000 rolls of papyrus!

It owes its name to Roman emperor Hadrian, who financed its construction in 132 AD.

The library featured a large reading room, a garden, an inner courtyard, and many rooms where the rolls were stored. It served not only as a library but also as a gathering place for intellectuals of the time who met there to debate and discuss various topics.

The preserved manuscripts came from all corners of the Greek world and included works of philosophy, science, poetry, history, and literature.

Badly damaged during the Herulian invasion of Athens in 267 AD, Hadrian’s Library was rebuilt in the early 5th century, but it was short-lived, and the Visigoths destroyed it again a few years later.

During the Byzantine period, the library was transformed into a church and dedicated to the Archangel Michael. Over the centuries, the building underwent several renovations and served various purposes, including being used as a mosque during the Ottoman period.

The site was forgotten and remained undiscovered until 1885, when it was rediscovered by archaeologists.

Hadrian's library - corinthian columns

Visiting Hadrian’s Library

While Hadrian’s Library cannot compete with the grandeur of the Acropolis or the Ancient Agora, it’s still worth a visit if you have some time on your hands.

You can see some Corinthian columns, a large marble wall supported by columns, as well as the remains of three churches.

Practical Information

Getting to Hadrian’s Library

The Hadrian’s Library is located in the Monastiraki district, in the center of Athens, near the Ancient Agora. You can easily reach it by public transport:

  • 🚇 Metro: Take Line 1 (green) or Line 3 (blue) to Monastiraki
  • 🚌 Bus: Take Lines 025, 026, 027, 035, 227, 500 to Monastiraki

You can also reach the Hadrian’s Library on foot from the center of Athens.

Opening hours of Hadrian’s Library

The Hadrian’s Library is open every day of the week except Monday. The opening hours vary depending on the season.

  • In summer (from May to September): from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
  • In winter (from October to April): from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Admission fees for Hadrian’s Library

The full price is 6 euros, and the reduced price is 3 euros.

👉 If you plan to visit the library, the Captain recommends getting the combined ticket, which includes entry to the Acropolis + 6 archeological sites (the Ancient Agora, the Roman Agora, the Theater of Dionysus, Kerameikos, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Hadrian’s Library, and the Lyceum of Aristotle).

👉 Avoid waiting in line in Athens: book your tickets and tours in advance!

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Magalie L’Abbé | Tamal Mukhopadhyay

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