Arch of Hadrian

Athens, Greece

The Arch of Hadrian is a monumental gateway resembling – in some respects – a Roman triumphal arch. It spanned an ancient road from the center of Athens, to the complex of structures on the eastern side of the city that included the Temple of Olympian Zeus. It has been proposed that the arch was built to celebrate the adventus (arrival) of the Roman Emperor Hadrian and to honor him for his many benefactions to the city, on the occasion of the dedication of the nearby temple complex in 131 or 132 AD.

It is not certain who commissioned the arch, although it is probable that the citizens of Athens or another Greek group were responsible for its construction and design. There were two inscriptions on the arch, facing in opposite directions, naming both Theseus and Hadrian as founders of Athens. While it is clear that the inscriptions honor Hadrian, it is uncertain whether they refer to the city as a whole or to the city in two parts: one old and one new. The early idea, however, that the arch marked the line of the ancient city wall, and thus the division between the old and the new regions of the city, has been shown to be false by further excavation.




Your name


Founded: 131-132 AD
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Greece

More Information


4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Nahshon (2 months ago)
On its own, it is a little boring and doesn’t seem that well maintained. It is next to the heavy road side traffic as well, so not exactly the place you want to showcase such a great ruin piece. Luckily the Temple of Olympic Zeus is nearby, so you are not coming to this location just for this. Would help if there are some signs explaining the significance of this structure too.
Sue Vogt-Skard (3 months ago)
Wonderful piece of history in Athens, a must see. What I love most is this ancient piece of history sits right next to a huge modern busy road in Athens. This contrast is great. Emperor Hadrian had the west side inscribed “this is Athens, the ancient city of Theseus” and the east side “this is the city of Hadrian and not of Theseus” making it clear the cities of ancient legend and modern times.
Hans Solo (3 months ago)
Visiting the Hadrian's Arch in Athens was an unforgettable experience. This ancient monument, standing as a testament to the city's rich history, is a must-see for any traveler. The arch, constructed in honor of the Roman Emperor Hadrian, impressively marks the boundary between the old city of Athens and the Roman city built by Hadrian. Its grandeur and architectural detail are striking, offering a glimpse into the past. The location of the Hadrian's Arch is particularly convenient for tourists, as it is situated near other famous historical sites, including the Acropolis and the Temple of Olympian Zeus. This makes it easy to incorporate a visit to the arch into a day of sightseeing. The structure itself, with its inscriptions dedicating one side to Athens and the other to Hadrian, speaks volumes about the historical significance and cultural blending of the era. What I found most captivating was the contrast between the ancient arch and the modern cityscape surrounding it. Standing there, you're caught in a unique moment where history and contemporary life intersect. It's not just a monument; it's a symbol of the continuity of history, standing resilient through time. There is no entrance fee, making it accessible to everyone, and the proximity to other historical sites adds to its appeal. The Hadrian's Arch is not only a remarkable piece of ancient architecture but also a spot that offers a profound sense of connection to the history of Athens. I highly recommend taking the time to visit and appreciate this iconic landmark.
Shanny Foo (3 months ago)
A nice area for a stroll not far from the open market and souvenir shops. The lighting at night gives off a nice vibe and highlights the architectural beauty.
Bodilly Mill (4 months ago)
A nice free must see when visiting. Hadrian had this built when he visited Athens during his reign as he loved all things greek (literally!!). On one side of the arch, it says (sort of) welcome to Athens home of the Greeks... on the other side it says welcome to Athens Hadrians city (sort of). The old boy had a sense of humour!!
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Church of St Donatus

The Church of St Donatus name refers to Donatus of Zadar, who began construction on this church in the 9th century and ended it on the northeastern part of the Roman forum. It is the largest Pre-Romanesque building in Croatia.

The beginning of the building of the church was placed to the second half of the 8th century, and it is supposed to have been completed in the 9th century. The Zadar bishop and diplomat Donat (8th and 9th centuries) is credited with the building of the church. He led the representations of the Dalmatian cities to Constantinople and Charles the Great, which is why this church bears slight resemblance to Charlemagne"s court chapels, especially the one in Aachen, and also to the Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna. It belongs to the Pre-Romanesque architectural period.

The circular church, formerly domed, is 27 m high and is characterised by simplicity and technical primitivism.