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Ancient Agora

Ancient Agora
Ancient Agora
#About the Market Area and the Political Center of Ancient Athens

The Ancient Agora was a market, and the main political center of ancient Athens. Here were the main merchant stores in Athens, and here big events in history occurred.

In the Agora, the center of social, cultural and political life of the city, where the schools of the biggest philosophers. One of them was lead by Socrates, and where Paul the Apostle lectured about Christianity in 49 BC. Here the famous Athens democracy was born, and nearby were theaters where the Greek tragedies evolved, the parents and grandparents of plays and movies, up to this day.

One of the main locations in the Agora, north of the Acropolis and west of Plaka, is the Hephaisteion Temple, dedicated to the Greek god of blacksmiths. This temple was built in 449 BC and is the best-preserved temple in Athens.

Not far, you can see the Stoa of Attalos, and the Church of the Holy Apostles, built in the 11th century, in dedication to Paul the Apostle.

In the museum in the Ancient Agora you can see many findings from the market throughout the years.



#What is the Greek Agora?

The Agora in Ancient Greece was a place where the locals gathered, and those from elsewhere, like all main cities of the time, to shop, tour, gossip, and hear the news.

In the Greek Agora, between shopping and conversations, assemblies and preaching, ideas were always being starts, fights, and makeups. Here was the center of town, and the main place where you can reach interesting people.




#Tips

The entrance ticket into the Acropolis, beyond entrance into all the sites at the location, also a few other sites in the area, like the Acropolis, the Museum of Archeology of Karamissos, and more.

Entrance is free on the first Sunday of each month. During the tourist season (July-September), entrance is actually free on the second Sunday of each month. Additionally, between November 1st and March 31st, the entrance is free on every Sunday of the month.



A Visit:

https://youtu.be/dPTs2Yu8k_k



An Explanation in English:

https://youtu.be/swVFXvplfDA
Temple of Hephaistos
Temple of Hephaistos
#About Athens' Most Preserved Temple

The Temple of Hephaistos is also called Hephaisteion, is one of the local sites in the Ancient Agora of Athens. It was built in 449 BC, two years before the construction of the Parthenon, on the hill of Kolonos Agoraios, that overlooks the Ancient Agora.

It is uncertain to which Greek god this temple is dedicated. There is an assumption that it is to the god Hephaestus, god of volcanos and blacksmithing in Greek Mythology, and the one who created the armor for Achilles in the epic poem 'The Iliad." Sculptures of worship of him were found in the temple, and it is important to mention that sculptures of Athena were also found, the goddess of pottery and crafts.

On the other hand, it is completely possible that the temple was dedicated to the hero Theseus. Metopes were found here, a kind of rectangular slates, containing reliefs that told his stories.

Its building, by the way, was led by the legendary Athens leader, Pericles, and it was the first temple built in Athens of marble. In the 7th century, this temple was converted to the St. George Akamas Church, with a surrounding wall. In the 19th century, protestant soldiers were buried here, who died in the Greek Independence War of 1821. In 1834 it became a museum, and at the start of the 21st century, it was restored back to its original design as a Greek temple.

Either way, Hephaisteion is considered the best-preserved temple in Athens in consideration of its old age, about 2,500 years, its condition is still completely in one piece, that enables visitors a glimpse into the past.




#The Temple's Architecture

This temple is smaller than the Parthenon, that was built two years afterward, and is very similar.

The Temple of Hephaistos is elevated around the Ancient Agora, and is in a rectangular shape, closed off on three sides. The fourth and open side lets the sunrays into the structure, straight into the temple.

The inner space of the temple is surrounded by Doric pillars on four sides. In the temple are 34 of these Doris pillars, who support the roof that has partially survived. Notice that wooden roof, with ceramic tiles above the temple.

You can see at the entrance to the temple the horizontal decorations from stone, that adorn the tops of the pillars following the entrance into the temple's hall. Notice the plaques that describe the events of the heroes of Athens, Theseus and Herakles.




A Closer Look at the Temple of Hephasitos:

https://youtu.be/qJD1EIFnOv0
Stoa of Attalos
Stoa of Attalos
#About the Ancient Market Renovated in the Agora

The Stoa of Attalos is a sort of ancient Greek market, that was recreated in the 1950's. Today, in contrast to the ruins around, the Stoa of Attalos looks like a completely modern place. One needs to try hard to remember that this area was actually a big market in the height of the Greek Empire, in the times of Athens' Ancient Agora.

The lobby with its beautiful columns, today's building contains a museum and temple. Around it is a large archeological dig, where you can see remains of ruins of the Ancient Agora in Athens.

The Stoa of Attalos has a large significance in the teaching of classical architecture. This is because it was reconstructed exactly, bit by bit, exactly as the experts estimate that it looked in ancient times.


#What is the Stoa?

The Stoa, plural called Stoai, is a large and impressive building that was used in ancient Greece for public uses, and many similar buildings were built around all of Greece.

In ancient Greek architecture, a Stoa, is a building that contained a lobby, like a covered walkway, on one side there are columns that open up to the outside, while the other side has a wall with openings. The Stoai were used back then as public places, like for Agoras and markets, stores and galleries. The Stoai evolved to have to sides with columns, and some even had second floors.

At the beginning of the Stoai's history, it was built like a three or two-sided square, and held the inner space. The old Stoai were all built in the Dori style. Later, the Stoai were opened to new styles of design. Throughout history, when Stoai began including passages and two rows of columns, more and more Stoai included an ionic order in one row of columns and a row of columns in the Dori style.



#History of the Stoa

Attalos's Stoa is considered the most impressive Stoa among the five that exist in the Agora in Athens, built in the year 150 BC, by order of King Attalos II of Pergamon. He ruled from 159 BC to 138 BC. The same Attalos gave the Stoa to the city of Athens as a present, a move that won him glory in commemorating the event on an inscription in the Stoic architrave.

During those days, on each of the two floors were 21 stores, and especially stood out the passage with the covered columns along the exterior of these stores.

In the year 267 BC part of the building was destroyed, after the invasion of the Herulim, an ancient German tribe, in the 3rd century.

Over the years, the remains of the Stoa were incorporated in a wall that was built in the city, a fact that will make its identification and rehabilitation in the modern era easier and faster.

Indeed, in 1950 the Greek government began the restoration of the Stoa, while excavating many artifacts, including toys, kitchen utensils, ancient coins and toys from ancient Greece, as well as architectural elements from ancient times, which are now displayed at the Stoa Museum.

This is how the Stoa was reconstructed in the 20th century and became the "Museum of Athens' Agora." Today many see it as the building that best exemplifies the Hellenistic period in Greece.



#Architecture of the Stoa of Attalos

The Stoa structure of Attalos is found in the Agora of Athens. It is larger and more ornate than Stoai built during that period, the classical era of Athens. The size of the Stoa and its supporting columns demonstrate and emphasize the impression it creates.

The Stoa is 115 by 20 meters. It has two floors, with two porches on each floor. The Stoa's columns are designed in two classical arches: the front pillars are of the Dorian order and the inner columns are in fine order.

Each floor of the Stoa has 21 rooms, with openings to the lobby and windows on the back.

We assume that the current structure is a fairly accurate reconstruction of the original structure and this in itself is very impressive. A small part of the original remains are incorporated in the reconstruction. The knowledge of the reconstruction itself comes from studies by expert archaeologists who have studied the original structure from 138 BC.



A Visit to the Stoa of Attalos:

https://youtu.be/PePyeRp5KO8?t=1m55s



The Museum and Some of the Findings Here:

https://youtu.be/zCRUf6KmQgs


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