One of the sites that is included when you buy the multi-ticket for the Acropolis in Athens, Greece, is the Roman Agora. There is also the Ancient Agora, also known as the Agora of Athens, but the Roman Agora is smaller, yet still interesting. An agora is an open space that is used for markets and public gatherings. The Roman Agora was originally built in the 1st century BC and contains several interesting structures.
One of the most interesting structures on the site is the Tower of the Winds, which is an ancient clock tower. There is a sun dial, wind vane, and water clock that have been excavated by archeologists and the structure is quite fascinating. It is unclear if the tower was built prior to the agora or was added afterwards. On the inside of the tower, you can see where the water entered, having traveled down from the Acropolis, making its way to the center of the tower to be used as a water clock. Wooden beams support the marble roof, which is adorned with classical figures on the exterior.
Another interesting feature of the Roman Agora is the Gate of Athena Archegetis. It is the first ruin that you see as you enter the complex and makes for a dramatic entranceway. The grounds of the agora have a variety of ancient columns and even pottery scattered along the walkways. The site itself is not very large and everything can be seen in about 30 minutes. There are a few outdoor restaurants that line the gates surrounding the Roman Agora and we stopped to have a refreshing drink and a few appetizers.
We truly enjoyed visiting the Roman Agora and it was very interesting. If we hadn’t bought the bundled ticket, we probably wouldn’t have paid the entrance fee to visit the site. You can see much of it just by walking around the gates and looking at the ruins, but it was definitely worth it to see inside of the Tower of the Winds. We highly recommend buying the multi-ticket when visiting the Acropolis, which gives you access to the Ancient Agora, the Acropolis, the Roman Agora, Hadrian’s Library, and more.
Obviously the highlight of any visit to Athens, Greece, probably starts with the Acropolis, but there is so much more to see in this wonderful city. For us, our second favorite location was the Agora of Athens with the Temple of Hephaestus. The agora was a gathering place for the people of ancient Greece and contains many different structures. It is truly a fascinating place to walk and imagine yourself discussing philosophy or the benefits of a democratic society. When you go to the Acropolis, you can buy a bundled ticket that includes other attractions, including the agora, which makes it well worth the extra money as it will save you money in the long run.
The Temple of Hephaestus, which sits high upon a hill looking over the agora, is one of the best preserved ancient temples in all of Greece. One of the reasons that it is so well preserved is that it had been in continual use for more than two thousand years, even serving as a Greek Orthodox church until the early 1800’s. Hephaestus was the god of metal working, craftsmanship, and fire, perhaps a fitting choice for it to have remained in almost its original condition.
There are so many fascinating ruins to see as you walk through the agora including several statues such as the remaining torso of a statue of Roman Emperor Hadrian. The ancient roads can still be detected as you walk among the ancient ruins. There is also the Museum of the Agora on the grounds, which displays some interesting pieces that have been unearthed during the excavation of the site.
Some people may feel that they have had their fill of ancient ruins and temples after visiting the Acropolis, but we feel that it is well worth taking the time to visit the other sights that Athens has to offer. At least during our visit, there were less tourists at places like the agora and it made walking among those ruins that much more enjoyable. We found the Agora of Athens to be an almost magical place with so much history and so many artifacts that it can a little overwhelming.