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Hadrian's Library, Athens

3.4
#122 of 432 in Things to do in Athens
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Hadrian's Library was created by Roman Emperor Hadrian in AD 132 on the north side of the Acropolis of Athens.The building followed a typical Roman Forum architectural style, having only one entrance with a propylon of Corinthian order, a high surrounding wall with protruding niches at its long sides, an inner courtyard surrounded by columns and a decorative oblong pool in the middle. The library was on the eastern side where rolls of papyrus "books" were kept. Adjoining halls were used as reading rooms, and the corners served as lecture halls.The library was seriously damaged by the Herulian invasion of 267 and repaired by the prefect Herculius in AD 407-412. During Byzantine times, three churches were built at the site, the remains of which are preserved: a tetraconch (5th century AD)a three-aisled basilica (7th century), anda simple cathedral (12th century), which was the first cathedral of the city, known as Megali Panagia. Around the same period as the cathedral another church, Agios Asomatos sta Skalia, was built against the north facade, but it is not preserved.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
249 reviews
Google
4.4
  • This is located in the main area of the Monastaraki and is worth seeing if you have the combo ticket. The site isn't very large so it won't take long. It does have a statute of Nike and it is very lov...  more »
  • I was struck buy the remains of this library and the size of it when it was fulling standing. This is one of the sites you should visit when you are doing the Roman Agora, the Athenian Agora, the Temp...  more »
  • Is part of the Combo ticket but the day we went it was closed for some reason. A bit disappointed really!  more »
Google
  • Worth a very quick visit but if I'm honest it would not be near my top of list things to do in Athens. Very little remains of what would have been an amazing historical site... imagination is a must. 30 minutes is probably all you need in this site.
  • Massive Roman and Christian era archaeological site! It is steps from the Roman Agora (Forum) and has many different layers, including medieval church wall painting. The giant structure of the library itself can still be seen in the foundation. Whether you care for Roman era sites or not in Greece, it is worth visiting to see the breadth of the place.
  • It's the kind of place that if you are passing by, it's worth a look. But I won't go out of my way to visit. After viewing the Acoroplis and Pathenon, it's a bit of a let down.
  • Hardly anything to see. If you have been to the Acropolis Museum then best to skip this.
  • Ruins right in the middle of the market. great backdrop. Wife shopped while I go to fly back in time.

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Where to stay in Athens

If you come to Athens for its ancient history, stay in Plaka, a lively neighborhood located within walking distance of the city's major archaeological sites. Although relatively expensive, hotels in this part of town offer spacious rooms, private swimming pools, and rooftop cocktail bars. For less expensive but equally comfortable lodgings, consider boutique hotels and family-run inns in the quiet residential neighborhoods just a short drive south of Plaka. Good rooms fill up early in the season, so plan ahead and book in advance.
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