The Roman Agora and the Tower of the Winds

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Overview

The Roman Agora (Market of Caesar and Augustus) and the Tower of the Winds located on the north side of the Acropolis, and a short distance to the east of the Greek Agora, with which it was connected by a paved street.
An inscription (IG II2 3174) on the architrave of the monumental Gate of Athena Archegetis (“Athena the Leader”) tells us that Julius Caesar and Augustus provided the funds for its construction in the 1st century B.C. The Roman Agora consists of a large, open-air courtyard surrounded by colonnades on all four sides. On the eastern side, there were also a series of shops. On the southern side was a fountain. The main entrance was on the west (Gate of Athena Archegetis), and there was a second entrance (or propylon) on the east, leading up to a public latrine and the “Tower of the Winds.” The Roman Agora apparently became the main market of the city, taking over many of the commerical functions of the Greek Agora, which had become something of a museum (or archaeological park) by that time.

The Roman Agora is located on the northern side of the Acropolis and very close to the metro station at Monastiraki. In fact, through a paved path, it is connected to the Ancient Agora in Thissio. Although the Ancient Agora was the place of political gatherings for the Athenians, the Roman Agora was actually a marketplace, an open market.
According to archaeologists, it was constructed in the 1st century BC and an inscription informs us that it was constructed with the funds of Julius Ceasar and Augustus. The Roman Agora consisted of a large, open-air courtyard surrounded by colonnades on all four sides. On the eastern side, there was a series of shops and on the southern side, there was a fountain. The main entrance was at the west, but there was also another entrance that led to the Tower of the Winds, an octagonal building used to tell the time and predict the weather.
During the reign of Hadrian, the Roman Agora was paved with slabs and a library was built in close distance, the famous Library of Hadrian. After the invasion of Herulae in 267 AD, the Roman Agora became the commercial and administrative center of Athens. Along centuries, the invasions of the Venetians and the Ottomans destroyed the site and gradually the area was covered with houses, workshops, churches, and mosques. Such a mosque exists even today next to the Roman Agora, the Fethiye Mosque.

Located to the East of the Ancient Agora, the Roman Agora was built much later and encroached on the site of the older one. The entrance to it was through the still standing Gate of Athena Archegetis. The 17th century Fethiye Mosque is located in the Northern end of the agora.
The agora is also home to the 12-meter tall Horologion of Andronikos Kyrrhestes, also known as the Tower of the Winds, which was probably the first meteorological station in the world. Also called Areides, the tower features a water clock, different sundials, and once also included a Triton weather-vane.

Country

Greece

Approx. Duration

1-2 Hours Tour

Accessibility Level

Flights & Accommodations

Local Currency

Euro

Price Level

Min. Price

From: 4 Euros


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General Info

Address

Tower of the Winds, Aiolou, Athens 105 55, Greece

Estimated Duration

Less than an hour

Spoken Languages

Greek (formal), English

Electricity

230V, 50Hz

Local Currency

Euro

Recommended Age Groups

Babies, Kids, Teens, Adults, Seniors

Price

4 Euros

Get a combo ticket to Acropolis, Ancient Agora, Roman Agora, Theatre of Dionysus, Kerameikos, Temple of Olympian Zeus, Hadrian’s Library.) or city pass.


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