The Ancient Agora
Situated to the north-west of the Acropolis, the Ancient Agora of Athens was originally established as the administrative and trade centre of the city – hence its name, the ‘trade marketplace’. The Agora witnessed the Panathenaic Procession, the greatest celebration in the ancient city of Athens, memorialising the unification of Attica under King Theseus.
Inhabited since prehistoric times, the Agora became the city centre by 5 BC, and was home to secular and sacred activities that were practised in a multitude of public buildings – many of which still stand in ruins. Throughout its turbulent history, the Agora survived multiple sacks, suffering its most serious damage by the Persians in 480 BC, the Romans under Syllas in 86 BC, and the Heruli in 267 AC.
Finally abandoned in the sixth century, the area eventually became covered by houses and churches. The ruins of the Ancient Agora remained buried and forgotten for 1,400 years, until extensive excavations in the 19th and 20th centuries revealed its archaeological treasures.