This archaeological site is located near the northwest slope of the Acropolis and is known as the “agora” marketplace. Goods were not the only things that were sold here; prostitution was popular as well. Where else could you get a bushel of apples with a side of human flesh?
In its prime, this ancient site was a bustling place filled with the likes of great thinkers such as Socrates and Sophocles. Ordinary citizens could meet and voice their concerns on government issues and come up with solutions to the problems they were facing. What happened to that model of government…
Among the incredible buildings associated with the agora is the Temple of Hephaestus. It is the best-preserved of its kind in all of Greece. Built around 460 B.C. to honor both the god of metal workers, Hephaistos and the goddess of potters and craftsmen, Athena Ergane. In the 7th century, it was converted into the church of St. George and then changed again in the 19th century as a burial place for Protestants and lovers of Greece who died in the Greek War for Independence. It remained in use through 1834 and was the official welcome site for King Otto, the first king of the modern Greek state. It was shut down in the 1930s and used only as a museum since that time.
The Stoa of Attalos is an impressive structure. Picture a modern mall; Built-in 159 B.C., this structure was utilized as a place for people to meet and conduct business. It was destroyed in 267 A.D. when the Herulians invaded. The ruins were not touched until 1953 when John D. Rockefeller Jr. contributed financial support for its restoration. Excavation started and over 160,000 items were found dating anywhere from the Neolithic times to the 19th century. Today it’s a museum that houses a permanent exhibit of sculptures representing the late Classical, Hellenistic and Roman periods.
The only structure, other than the Temple of Hephaestus, to survive the centuries of war and ruin is the Byzantine Church of the Holy Apostles. It was originally constructed in the 11th century with modifications occurring throughout the years. It has an eight-sided dome and a floor plan in the shape of a cross.
Off the beaten path: Under the Acropolis is a beautiful collection of homes called Anafiotika. This area will make you feel like you are on a small island in the Cyclades instead of a large bustling city.
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