The Agora was the heart of ancient Athens, acting as a focal point for commercial, political and social activity.

TravelCurious Tip

A great place to go to escape the crowds.

The ancient Athenian agora was more than just a market. Literally translating as “place of gathering”, it provided a space for merchants to peddle, businessmen to wrangle, citizens to worship, magistrates to pass judgement, intellectuals to debate and politicians to legislate. It is one of very few places in Athens that has been continuously used and occupied since the city was founded.

Getting the Sack

It was in the 6th century BC that the agora began to assume its role as a public forum. As one of the centrepieces of a major Mediterranean power, it was sacked extensively at least three times, by the Persians, Romans and Herulae respectively. In some ways, this is evident as you walk through the agora today. Where once you could have passed the Temple of Ares or felt small beneath the Odeon of Agrippa, there is now little more than trees, foundations and some telltale dust at your feet. It does make for a peaceful stroll, however, something which can be hard to come by in the centre of Athens.

Standing Firm

One notable exception to the general atmosphere of elegant ruin is the impressive temple of Hephaestus, the god of metal working and fire, which can be found on the north-west side of the agora. At over 30m long, it is in remarkably good condition. It owes this good fortune to its history of varied and continuous use as, among other things, a Christian church, a burial place, and a museum.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Athens
Pandrossou street
The busy market on the narrow Pandrossou Street has nearly one hundred shops with vendors offer almost anything.
Hadrian's Library
See the remains of the largest structure erected by Hadrian in the 2nd century AD, which held not just a library but also music and lecture rooms.
Tower of the Winds
An octagonal Pentelic marble clocktower in the Roman Agora considered the world's first meteorological station.
Pandroseion temple
Temple dedicated to Pandrosus, one of the daughters of Cecrops I, the first king of Attica.
Stoa of Attalos
It was the first and largest shopping center of antiquity with 21 shops between the two floors.
A healthy Greek cucumber yogurt dip or sauce you can serve with chicken, veggies, pita chips, gyros, and more.

Related Tours

The Greek Essentials - Full Day Highlights of Athens
If you only have a short amount of time in Athens and want to see as much as possible in one day, then this highlight tour is the one for you. On your all-inclusive, private full-day tour of Athens you will:

  • Enjoy personalised attention from your licensed guide on this private tour. 
  • Start the tour with ease and skip the line tickets to the Acropolis. 
  • Admire the Parthenon’s remarkable design, learn about the uses of Acropolis Hill over the centuries, and cross through Acropolis propylaea gate, as the ancients would have done in procession centuries ago.
  • Enjoy a comprehensive tour of Greece's most iconic archaeological site, including the Odeon of Herodes Atticus and the Theatre of Dionysus, where classical works by the most famous Greek poets were first performed in the 5th Century B.C. 
  • Walk through the charming Plaka district, with its famed white staircases, cafes and terraces and see the Lysicrates Monument. 
  • Admire the Tower of the Winds and Roman Agora and marvel at Hadrian's Library.
  • Skip the line into the Greek Agora to explore Ancient Greece's economic and political centre.
  • Admire the Temple of Hephaestus, known to be the best-preserved ancient Greek temple in the world, and is even older than the Parthenon. 
  • See the Stoa of Attalos, the beautifully reconstructed Ancient Greek Portico, once an ancient shopping mall.
  • Enjoy free time for lunch (not included in price) at a place recommended by your guide, which will be off the main tourist drag. 
  • Skip the line and tour the air-conditioned New Acropolis Museum during the heat of the day!
  • See the Parthenon Marbles up close on the Museum's top floor, as you admire breathtaking views over the monument itself.
  • End the tour at the famed Olympic Stadium (Panathenaic Stadium), the only stadium in the world built entirely of marble and home to the first modern games in 1896. 
  • This tour includes the "combo ticket" that will give you skip the line access to the Roman Agora, Kerameikos site & Museum, Lykeion Gymnasium, Hadrian's Library and the Temple of Olympian Zeus during in the 4 days following your tour. 

With your expert guide, you will discover the city’s most important cultural sites, including the colossal remains of the Temple of Zeus and the Acropolis, a UNESCO world heritage site. On the plateau of the Acropolis, you will find the awe-inspiring heights of the Parthenon pillars, gaze on the beautiful female forms of the Caryatid columns, discover some of the earliest theatres known to man and enjoy panoramic views over the city. Y

our guide will explain the central role these monuments, and more, played in classical society and immerse you in the myths and legends of Ancient Greece. You will also wander through the Agora, the heart of classical Athens. Once a bustling marketplace, in these now peaceful ruins you’ll walk in Socrates’ footsteps amongst classic temples and Byzantine churches, learning how Athens became the birthplace of democracy.

On your way to lunch at a place recommended by your local guide, explore bustling Plaka, the oldest district in the city. Sometimes called “the neighbourhood of the gods”, Plaka is known for its winding alleyways and scenic shopping. 

After finishing lunch, escape the heat of the day with a visit to the spectacular (and air-conditioned) New Acropolis Museum. Here you will learn firsthand the artistic wonders that once adorned the monuments of the Acropolis. Finally, you will also visit the stunningly marbled Panathenaic Stadium. Constructed for the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, this immense structure is a strong reminder of the continuing legacy of ancient Athens in the modern day. 
Private Walking Tour of Athens, including Changing of the Guard, Monastiraki, and Plaka
In Athens - one of the world’s finest preserved ancient cities - venturing off the tourist drag is near impossible to perfect without a local guide, and worth every moment of serenity.  On your private walking tour of Athens, you will:

  • Get yourself oriented in the city with the help of a private guide, including helping you navigate the famed Monastiraki area shops and restaurants. 
  • See the highlights of the historical center in a matter of hours, including Athens Cathedral 
  • Enjoy personalised attention from your expert guide, who will be able to answer any of your questions from the city and country’s history to where to enjoy the best dinners
  • See the Greek Changing of the Guard in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier 
  • Enjoy a coffee and traditional Greek pastry at a local bakery.
  • See some of Ancient Greece's most iconic sites, including Hadrian's Library, Arch and the Roman Agora. 
  • Walk through the charming Plaka district, with its white staircases, cafe's and terraces.
  • End your tour by the Acropolis Museum, which you are free to explore at your own pace. 
Greece’s capital ranks amongst the world’s oldest cities, with history spanning over 3,400 years, and human settlements believed to date back to the 11th millennium BC. Today, the city packs a heady punch of absorbing ancient history and hip, gritty neighbourhoods overlooked by the Acropolis even in Athen’s furthest reaches. 

Enjoy meaningful insights from a local Athenian as you wander the historic centre with a local. As you explore the famed shopping street, Pandrossou street, your guide will give you invaluable recommendations for the artisanal shops which are hidden in plain sight. 

On your walking tour you’ll see several of the major attractions, including: Hadrian’s Library, the Roman Agora, Tower of he Winds, and Lysicrates Monument, all of which your guide will give you the history of. Your guide will take you to one of the oldest bakeries in Athens, where you can enjoy a coffee and a traditional Greek pastry, while jotting down more expert recommendations. Your tour ends in front of the Acropolis, which you are welcome to explore at your own pace. 

Private Half Day Walking Tour: Acropolis, Plaka and Ancient Greek Agora
Your half-day guided tour of Athens is the best way to check everything off your to-do list, while enjoying the undivided attention of a private guide, who will be sure to tailor the experience to your interests. On your private half-day tour of Ancient Athens, you will:

  • Enjoy skip-the-line entrance to the Acropolis, with tickets included in the tour price. 
  • See the Acropolis and Parthenon without the crowds, if you opt for the earliest tour start time.
  • Have a comprehensive Private tour of Greece's most iconic archaeological site, including the Parthenon and the Theatre of Dionysus, where classical works by the most famous Greek poets were first performed in the 5th Century B.C. 
  • Learn about all the ways Acropolis Hill has been used over the centuries.
  • See firsthand the famed Erechtheion temple – the most complex building on the Acropolis.
  • Walkthrough the charming Plaka district, with its white staircases, cafe and terraces and see the Lysicrates Monument
  • Enjoy skip-the-line entrance into the Greek Agora to explore Ancient Greece's economic and political centre.
  • Admire the Temple of Hephaestus, known to be the best-preserved ancient Greek temple in the world, and is even older than the Parthenon.
  • Finish your tour in the Greek Agora, where you will be free to continue exploring at your own pace. 
  • Your tour includes the "combination ticket", which will give you skip-the-line access to the Roman Agora, Temple of Olympian Zeus, Hadrian's Library, Archeological site and Museum of Kerameikos, Lykeion Gymnasium during the 4 days following your tour. 

On your private half-day tour, you will start by exploring the three temples from the Acropolis complex, the Parthenon, the Erechtheum and the temple dedicated to Athena Parthenos (Athena the Virgin). Today, the Acropolis (meaning “hill city'') is Athens’ crowning glory: a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the world’s most important cultural monuments as the celebrated birthplace of democracy. Incredible human endeavour built The Acropolis 2,500 years ago as thousands of tons of marble, quarried at Mount Pentelicus 10 miles northeast of the city, were lugged up steep steps to the Attica plateau by vast legions of manual labour. Hand-hewn using mallets, foundations were built using great blocks of limestone dating back to the Late Cretaceous period. 

Next, wander through the city’s historic centre, Plaka, where your guide will give you recommendations for finding the best real local fare and artisanal shops for you to return to during your trip. After exploring Plaka, you will visit the Greek Agora, where you can see the Temple of Hephaestus, believed to be the best-preserved ancient Greek temple in the world –older even than the Parthenon. Your tour will end in the agora, where you can continue to explore at your own leisure. 



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