The museum of the Ancient Agora, is one of the most visited museums in Athens. Housed in the reconstructed Stoa of Attalos, it gives an essential overview on the history and layout of the Agora area. Read on to find out more.
The Stoa of Attalos – Museum of the Ancient Agora
Before writing about the museum of the Ancient Agora in Athens, it is important to first mention the building in which it is housed. It is known as the Stoa of Attalos, and is a faithful reconstruction of the ancient stoa, which was destroyed by invading Heruli tribes in 267 AD.
“Attica 06-13 Athens 22 View from Acropolis Hill – Museum of Ancient Agora” by A.Savin. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.
Construction of the building we see today began in 1952, and was completed in 1956. I think the reconstructed Stoa of Attalos looks magnificent, and is very helpful in creating a mental image as to what the Ancient Agora looked like in the past. The Agora, by the way, was the market and trading area for the city. A place where goods were bought and sold, and also a place where people would talk about current affairs. It was the social, political, and cultural centre of ancient Athens.
The Museum of the Ancient Agora
On to the museum itself then. The museum is laid out in such a way, that it follows a chronological order. So, you start at one end of time (the Neolithic), and walk through history to the modern age. One of the most interesting things about that, was discovering that for a huge portion of time, the Ancient Agora was completely abandoned and forgotten about.
The museum of the Ancient Agora had many interesting artefacts and displays. This all helped to provide information on what life was like in the area in ancient times, and how the city developed. This part of Athens was at one point the heart, but at another point just part of a defending wall. Athens has seen many periods of growth and decline, which makes you wonder which period we are seeing now!
One part of the museum that made me laugh, was an exhibit describing how Ostracism worked. Hopefully, you can enlarge the photo and read for yourself. I think this is something they should bring back into every political system around the world!
All in all, the museum of the Ancient Agora takes about half an hour to walk around. I highly recommend that you visit the museum, before walking around the Agora itself. This way, you will get a better understanding of how the Agora area used to look, and its function.
The entrance fee is 4 euro if you just want to visit the museum of the Ancient Agora, and explore the Agora itself. There is also a combined ticket of 12 euros, which is terrific value for anybody visiting Athens for a few days. This combined ticket is valid for 5 days, and includes all the major sites in Athens.
Pro-Tip – The shade underneath the Stoa of Attalos is a nice place to escape the heat of a hot summer's day in Athens!
If you would like to find out more about the Agora itself, then you may find this article useful. >> Sightseeing Tips for Visiting the Ancient Agora.