Ancient Agora of Athens, Athens

Ancient Agora of Athens, Athens (must see)

The ancient Agora, or marketplace, sits beneath the revered hill of the Acropolis. This sprawling site now contains the remnants of what was once a vast and intricate complex. In ancient times, the Agora served as the beating heart of public life in the city-state of Athens. Numerous administrative buildings, temples, altars, stoas (roofed arcades filled with shops), and fountain houses were constructed around the open square, which took its final shape in the 2nd century AD. Common citizens would gather to engage in political discussions and participate in the voting process for proposed laws. It was within the council buildings, law courts, and streets of the Agora that democracy took root and thrived.

In 507 BC, Athenian leader Cleisthenes introduced a system of political reforms he termed "demokratia", or "rule by the people", which consisted of three distinct institutions: the "ekklesia", a sovereign governing body responsible for drafting laws and shaping foreign policy; the "boule", a council comprising representatives from the ten Athenian tribes; and the "dikasteria", popular courts where citizens presented cases to a panel of randomly selected jurors. Although Athenian democracy endured for only two centuries, it stands as one of ancient Greece's most enduring legacies to the modern world.

Beyond its role as the city's political center, the Agora also served as a venue for religious ceremonies, commercial transactions, theatrical and musical performances, and even athletic competitions. Here too was the state prison where Socrates was charged and put to death in 399 BC, as well as the city mint responsible for minting Athens' silver currency.

Why You Should Visit:
The concept of democracy, one of ancient Greece's most significant contributions to the modern world, originated right here in this place. The site also features a beautiful temple, and it is well-marked, including the remains of the ancient drainage system.

Tips:
Admission to the on-site museum is included in the Agora ticket, and you can view some remarkable artifacts there. Water fountains and restrooms are conveniently located nearby.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Athens. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Ancient Agora of Athens on Map

Sight Name: Ancient Agora of Athens
Sight Location: Athens, Greece (See walking tours in Athens)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Athens, Greece

Create Your Own Walk in Athens

Create Your Own Walk in Athens

Creating your own self-guided walk in Athens is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Plaka Attractions Walking Tour

Plaka Attractions Walking Tour

In the shadow of the Acropolis stands Plaka, the most picturesque and oldest district of Athens, with continuous habitation from antiquity until today. The “neighborhood of the Gods”, as it is called, is like a romantic, atmospheric trip to old Athens adorned with antiquities, historic 19th-century buildings, museums and Byzantine churches.

From the vibrant Syntagma Square walking down...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 Km or 2.2 Miles
Walking Tour Around the Legendary Acropolis

Walking Tour Around the Legendary Acropolis

Also called "the sacred rock", the Acropolis was home to temples and sanctuaries throughout recorded history, and is a symbol of the city of Athens. Its religious importance was paramount to the ancient Greeks, and the buildings on the summit still capture the essence of their classical architecture. You can see the temples from most parts of the city, which adds to the feeling that this...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.0 Km or 0.6 Miles
Walking Around the National Garden

Walking Around the National Garden

The National Garden is an impressive, historic park in the center of Athens, complete with artificial streams and duck ponds. Formerly known as the Royal Garden, it was commissioned by King Otto’s queen, Amalia, in 1838, reason why it is located directly behind the Old Palace (currently the Greek Parliament building). Not only is it a welcome refuge from the swirl of traffic just outside the...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 Km or 2.1 Miles
Athens Introduction Walking Tour

Athens Introduction Walking Tour

Athens is one of the oldest European cities, widely regarded as the birthplace of Western Civilization. Its history begins in the Neolithic period between 4th and 3rd millennium BC. The first settlement on the site of Athens was situated on the rock of Acropolis which means “high city” in Greek.

According to the Greek mythology, the name “Athens” emerged from a competition between the...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.2 Km or 2.6 Miles
Athens Food Walking Tour

Athens Food Walking Tour

Traditional Greek cuisine is one of the healthiest in the world, and prices in all but the flashiest establishments afford excellent value. The prevalence of vegetable and dairy dishes makes eating out a delight for non-meat eaters. Carefully selected appetizers (tzatzíki, dolmádes, kalamarákia) can constitute a full meal. Greece’s most famous slow-cooked oven dish, however, is probably...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 Km or 1.4 Miles

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