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Hadrian's Library, Athens

3.4
#120 of 425 in Things to do in Athens
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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  • August 17, 2017
    The library was built by the Roman emperor Hadrian between 132-134 ad, in the late Hellenistic-Roman period. It was a rectangular structure with interior courtyard of 122 m 82 m). Had only one entry in your Western side, with four Corinthian columns of marble. Its marble facade was adorned on each wing for seven Corinthian columns, the interior courtyard surrounded by porticoes with 100 columns; The Centre was an oblong cistern with semi-circular ends. The Papyrus scrolls were kept in a large two-story central building. There were three niches in the North and South sides of the building. The library suffered severe damage during the Herulian invasion in 266 DC and was later repaired by Herculius, the Prefect of Illyricum (DC 407-412).. In the early 5th century, an impressive church with lobby was built on the West side, which was destroyed in the 6th century AD, in the second half of the century 7 DC in a Basilica of three arches. On top of its ruins, was built a Byzantine Church known as the Church of Megali Panaghia, which was demolished in 1885. In the 12 century a.d., the Chalkokondylis family built a small church dedicated to Archangel Michael, you have to pay admission (children, students and seniors pay half price) but with a combined ticket, you buy at the entrance for 30 euros per person, you can visit also other various attractions, or are: Athens, Acropolis and Slopes, Ancient Now (and the Museum of the Stoa of Attalos) Roman Agora, the Library of Hadrian, Olympieion, Kerameikos (and the local Museum) and Lykeion of Aristotle. It's worth it. Get out much cheaper than buying the tickets separately to each of the attractions.
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  • August 16, 2017
    Along the way to the Parthenon we stumbled across these ruins that give a taste of what was to be the ancient Greek civilization. Best to enter having the time, but also from the outside you can see much of the remains and understand what was supposed to be great.
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  • August 9, 2017
    A worthwhile stop if you've purchased the combo ticket. The ruins are compact but there's quite a bit to look at.  more »
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  • June 2, 2017
    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.
  • June 6, 2017
    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.
  • June 6, 2017
    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.
  • June 17, 2017
    Hardly anything to see. If you have been to the Acropolis Museum then best to skip this.
  • March 17, 2017
    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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