Tucked away in the Plaka district, the Roman Agora holds a prominent position on the list of Athens’ must-see archaeological sites.
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A Brief History of Athens’ Roman Agora
In the 1st century AD, the Ancient Agora served as the center of political, social, and commercial life in Athens for nearly seven centuries.
However, following the Roman conquest of Greece in 146 BC, the Greek capital became a Roman protectorate. The new rulers of the city aimed to create a more modern, spacious, and functional public space compared to the old Greek agora. As a result, Emperor Augustus initiated the construction of the Roman Agora.
Over time, the Roman Agora underwent several modifications and expansions. It sustained significant damage during the barbarian invasions of the 3rd century AD before being restored by Emperor Constantine in the 4th century AD.
In the subsequent centuries, the Roman Agora was gradually abandoned and eventually transformed into an ordinary residential area.
Rediscovered in the 19th century, the Roman Agora is now one of the most iconic archaeological sites in Athens.
⚠️ A Word of Caution ⚠️
Be careful not to confuse the Roman Agora, constructed by the Romans in the 1st century AD, with the much older Ancient Agora, which dates back to the 6th century BC.
Exploring the Roman Agora of Athens
Located in the heart of the capital, the Roman Agora of Athens is an expansive area, stretching roughly 130 meters from east to west and about 170 meters from north to south.
The site is encircled by colonnades and the remains of ancient structures, some of which have managed to withstand the passage of time, arriving to us (almost) intact!
> The Gate of Athena
The Gate of Athena Archegetis is a majestic portico built in the 2nd century AD under Roman Emperor Hadrian in honor of the goddess Athena.
The portico features a large central arch, flanked by columns, reaching a height of 18 meters and crowned with an ornately decorated pediment.
The name of the monument, the Gate of Athena Archegetis, translates to “the gate of Athena the leader-guide,” highlighting the goddess’s role in the city’s life. The monument likely functioned as a meeting point for citizens and visitors alike.
Over the centuries, the Gate of Athena has been repaired and reconstructed multiple times. Today, it stands as a remarkable example of Roman architecture and remains one of the most iconic landmarks within the Roman Agora of Athens.
> The Tower of the Winds
Constructed around 50 BC by the astronomer Andronicus of Cyrrhus, the Tower of the Winds is an octagonal marble tower, nearly 12 meters high and 8.40 meters in diameter. In ancient times, it served as both a sundial and a weather station.
The tower is adorned with reliefs depicting the eight winds, each portrayed as a bearded man blowing in a distinct direction. The reliefs encircle the tower, with an image of the wind god Aeolus at the peak.
> The Fethiye Mosque
Constructed between 1668 and 1670, the Fethiye Mosque (meaning “mosque of conquest”) occupies the site of an ancient Byzantine basilica.
Following Greek independence in the late 1820s, the mosque was repurposed for various uses before undergoing restoration in the 2010s and being transformed into an exhibition space.
The mosque showcases a quatrefoil layout, complete with a square prayer hall, four columns supporting the central dome, four side semi-domes, and four smaller corner domes.
Reaching the Roman Agora of Athens
The Roman Agora is situated in the heart of Athens, within the Plaka district, just a brief walk from Thissio metro station on Line 1 (green line).
Roman Agora of Athens Opening Hours
The Roman Agora of Athens’ opening hours vary by season.
In general, the site is open:
- from 8 am to 3 pm from November 1st to March 31st
- from 8 am to 8 pm from April 1st to October 31st
Please note, however, that it is advised to verify the exact opening hours prior to your visit, as they may be subject to change due to events or renovation work.
Athens’ Roman Agora Admission Fees
Entrance fees for the Roman Agora are as follows:
- 12 euros for full price
- 6 euros for reduced price (non-EU students, non-EU seniors over 65)
- Free entry for children under 18 and European Union students.
💡 Insider tip 💡: Captain Ulysses highly suggests considering a combined ticket, which grants access to the Roman Agora along with 6 other archaeological sites in Athens (including the Acropolis, Ancient Agora, and Temple of Olympian Zeus). )