Hadrian's Library

Athens, Greece

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 (oikoiexedrae) 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) and a simple cathedral (12th century), which was the first cathedral of the city.

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Address

Areos 3, Athens, Greece
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Details

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

Rating

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

anguis solitary (18 months ago)
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 (oikoi, exedrae) 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), and a 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.
Bernd Pulawski (2 years ago)
Ancient ruins close to Hard Rock Cafe. Also included within the multi pass (30€).
Robert Dziadek (2 years ago)
Located just outside the northern corner of the Roman Agora, the library was built on the site of Late Hellenistic and Early Roman housing. Becoming the largest library in Athens it was built to house not only books but also as a repository for the officia state archives. Several important schools of learning and philosophy also occupied the building. Libraries in antiquity were not generally used as lending libraries but rather as places of study and storage. Documents were usually in the form of papyrus scrolls which were kept in partitioned wooden cupboards (armaria) set in niches in the walls of the room. Libraries were also a place to hear lectures and orators, and discuss intellectual matters with fellow visitors in the tranquility of the library garden. The Library of Hadrian was famously described by Pausanias as "the building with 100 columns of Phrygian marble, with halls with painted ceilings, alabaster walls, and niches with statues, in which books were kept" (Attica). During the invasion by the Heruli in 267 century CE, the library suffered notable damage and in 277 CE, when the city sought to better protect itself, the library was made part of a fortification wall. The library was renovated by Herculius (407-12 century CE), the Prefectus (Eparch) of the Illyricum, and a statue of him was erected at the building’s entrance. The inscription related to this statue is still visible on the left side of the entrance. It is possible that at the same time an early Christian church was built in the central garden space, although this four-apse structure may have been built in the mid-5th century CE. This Christian church, Athens’ first in fact, was destroyed in the 6th century CE and so replaced by a large three-aisled basilica.
Nasir Masud (2 years ago)
People who are interested in visiting antique places would love it. Good for photography and film making. Not as much hyped place as others like this but it is said to be situated in the heart of modern day plaka markets. Fees for entry is more than affordable. It is really very cheap. Historically speaking, it is a very beautiful place. It is also said to be one of the most unbelievable places.
Michelle Warmerdam (2 years ago)
If you have the €30 ticket, it’s worth it. It’s not worth buying a single ticket. Location is good. It’s nice to walk through it for a little bit, not that exciting though
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