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Hadrian's Arch

The Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Parthenon and Hadrian's Arch are one of the first ancient sites that visitors usually see on arrival to Athens.

Hadrian's Arch in Athens

The arch was erected the Athenians in 131 AD to triumph Hadrian, at the point where classical Athens and the Roman quarters met, with the new quarters built by Hadrian by the River Illissos.

On the sides of the arch are the two similar, but different inscriptions. On the Classical Athens side of the arch, the inscription reads ... “This Athens, the ancient city of Theseus”. On the other side, boarding the Roman city of Athens, it reads ... “This the City of Hadrian and not of Theseus”.

During the rule of Hadrian in the early part of the 2nd Century AD, the Athenians enjoyed a great period of prosperity, and the inscriptions on the arch mentioning Hadrian in the same light as their mythological hero, showed the acknowledgment for the noble visitor.

Today though, there are little if any signs of a Roman city in Athens, and the inscription on the arch could seem meaningless. However, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, to the south of the arch, built by Hadrian offers some understanding of the divide of the city in those ancient times.

Athens Hadrian's Arch

Also, during excavations in recent years, the remains of the Roman baths found in the sight of the Temple of Olympian Zeus, and also small housing quarters, suggests that the Zappeion area of Athens was occupied by a Roman city.

Today, one can also see the outlines of several small shrines to the River Illissos, as well as the Illissos excavation sight. However, these sites are not open to the public, but one can catch a glimpse of them from the outer gates circling around this hugely impressive ancient site.

Useful Information

Opening Hours:
The site of Harian's Arch is always viewable any time of the day.

Entrance Fee / Prices:
No Admission fee

Location:
Hadrian's Arch is located on Amalias Avenue, close to the Temple of Olympian Zeus.


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