The Ancient Agora of Classical Athens is the best-known example of an ancient Greek agora, located to the northwest of the Acropolis and bounded on the south by the hill of the Areopagus and on the west by the hill known as the Kolonus Agoraios, also called Market Hill.
The agora was probably laid out in the center of the city as a public space in the 6th century BC, though Laurence Baurain-Rebillard has suggested that it dates to the 7th century. Earlier, a more primitive agora may have existed elsewhere in Athens. The final site was located at the intersection of three existing roads with the Panathenaic Way, the main road in Athens. It was organized by Peisistratus, who removed private houses from the agora, closed wells, and made it the center of Athenian government. He also built a drainage system, fountains and a temple to the Olympian gods. In the 5th and 4th century BC there were temples constructed to Hephaestus, Zeus and Apollo.
Starting in 480 BC, the Second Persian invasion of Greece caused many Athenians to flee the city, leaving it largely abandoned. The city was almost completely destroyed, but the Athenians returned following the defeat of the Persians in 478, and the Agora was rebuilt. There were no more major changes until the 2nd century BC when the east and south sides of the square were remodeled by wealthy foreign rulers.
After an unsuccessful alliance with King Mithridates VI of Pontus in 86 BC, the fortified walls of Athens were heavily damaged. They were never rebuilt to their full previous strength. The Agora remained the center of Athens until 267 AD, when it was once again sacked, this time by invading Heruli; the weakened perimeter wall was not a sufficient defense. After fighting had ravaged much of the city, the Athenians quickly reconstructed the wall, but enclosed a much smaller area. The agora and the acropolis were left on the outside of the wall and were susceptible to further damage. This reconstructed wall is of great archaeological importance because it contains pieces of ruined buildings including Hadrian's Library and the Stoa of Attalos. This event is documented by Dexippus, a historian and statesman from Athens. In 529, Pagan philosophical schools were closed by Justinian. After centuries of periodic barbarian invasion, the agora was abandoned after the Slavic invasion of the 6th century.
Buildings and structures of the classical agora :
4.South Stoa I and South Stoa II
10.Monument of the Eponymous Heroes
11.Metroon (Old Bouleuterion)
13.Temple of Hephaestus (Hephaestion)
14.Temple of Apollo Patroos
15.Stoa of Zeus
16.Altar of the Twelve Gods
17.Stoa Basileios (Royal stoa)
18.Temple of Aphrodite Urania
19.Stoa of Hermes
The part of the agora near the train-station in Monastiraki is better known as Roman forum. The Roman Agora at Athens is located to the north of the Acropolis and to the east of the Ancient Agora.
The original Agora was encroached upon and obstructed by a series of Roman buildings, beginning with the imperial family's gift to the Athenians of a large odeion (concert hall). The Odeion of Agrippa was built by him in around 15 BC, and measured 51.4 by 43.2 metres, rose several stories in height, and – being sited just north of the Middle Stoa – obstructed the old agora. In return for the odeion, the Athenians built a statue to Agrippa at the site of the previous agora; they based it on a plinth recycled from an earlier statue by covering the old inscription with a new one.
Buildings and structures :
Tower of the Winds
Gate of Athena Archegetis
North of the odeion was a new temple to Ares, which completed the repurposing of the old agora. The functions of the old agora were transferred to the Roman Agora, which was built around 100 metres east of the original agora. The Roman Agora has not today been fully excavated, but is known to have been a peristyle open space. To its south was a fountain. To its east, behind a marble colonnade, were shops and an Ionic propylaeum (entrance). To its west was a Doric propylaeum.