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The Ruins of Hadrian Library

The Hadrian Library isn’t hard to find. Once you get off at the Monastiraki station, you’re right on Monastiraki Square. Look around 360 degrees and you’ll find Athens at a glance. Stand in the middle of the square and you’ll see domes of old Byzantine churches.

The Ruins of Hadrian Library (Athens, Greece). Travel Blog Photo
The Ruins of Hadrian Library (Athens, Greece).

Look far ahead and the Acropolis with the stunning Parthenon is just within walking distance. The surrounding area is full of cheap shopping where you should buy your souvenirs. The smell of souvlaki evaporates into the air – and before you know it – you’re hungry!

The Ruins of Hadrian Library (Athens, Greece).  Travel Blog Photos
The Ruins of Hadrian Library (Athens, Greece).

Walk on the alley to the direction of the Parthenon. On your left, you’ll find this ancient domed architecture.

The Ruins of Hadrian Library (Athens, Greece).  Travel Blog Photo
The Ruins of Hadrian Library (Athens, Greece).

Right next to it, you’ll find the ruins of Hadrian Library. The library is, of course, named after Hadrian, a Roman Emperor from 117 – 138 AD.

The Ruins of Hadrian Library (Athens, Greece).  Travel Blog Photo
The Ruins of Hadrian Library (Athens, Greece).

The History of Hadrian Library

The building was constructed in 132-134 AD by Emperor Hadrian. It follows the “Roman Forum” architectural style and measures 122 x 82 m.

The Ruins of Hadrian Library (Athens, Greece).  Travel Blog Photo
The Ruins of Hadrian Library (Athens, Greece).

It had only one entrance with a propylon of the Corinthian order on the west, a high precinct wall with protruding niches at its long sides, an interior peristyle courtyard and a decorative oblong cistern in the middle.

Travel Blog Photo The Ruins of Hadrian Library (Athens, Greece).
The Ruins of Hadrian Library (Athens, Greece).

The library itself was located on the eastern side, where the “books” (rolls of papyrus) were hidden. Connecting halls were used as reading rooms and the ones at the corner sides as lecture halls.

The Ruins of Hadrian Library (Athens, Greece).  Travel Blog Photos
The Ruins of the Library of Hadrian (Athens, Greece).

The building was severely damaged by the Bardarian race of Herulians (AD 267) and was repaired by the Roman Prefect Herculius (407-414 AD).

The Ruins of Hadrian Library (Athens, Greece).  Travel Blog Photos
The Ruins of the Library of Hadrian (Athens, Greece).

Later on, three churches were built sequentially on the site of the cistern. There remains are preserved:
a. Tetraconch (during 5th century AD)
b. Three-aisled Basilica (during 7th century AD)
c. Domed church (at the end of 11th – early 12th century AD), the first cathedral of Athens, known as Megali Panaghia.

Travel Blog Photos The Ruins of Hadrian Library (Athens, Greece).
The Ruins of the Library of Hadrian (Athens, Greece).

During the same period, another church, “Agios Asomatos on the Stairs” was built up against the north section of the facade, which is neglected.

The Ruins of Hadrian Library (Athens, Greece).  Travel Blog Photos
The Ruins of the Library of Hadrian (Athens, Greece).

WHERE TO STAY IN ATHENS

If you want to stay in the heart of ancient Athens with a fantastic view of the Acropolis and the Parthenon from your room window, then, A for Athens Hotel in Monastiraki is your best bet. They also have a rooftop bar and restaurant with a breathtaking view of the ancient sites nearby. Remember that Monastiraki area is where you can walk to all the sights you want to see in Athens. If you’re a budget traveler, there are a couple of hostels in this area, too. Try City Circus Athens Hostel and Bedbox are nice hostels to stay in. You can book either of them via HostelWorld and Booking.com.

Enjoy the rest of the photos

Travel Blog The Ruins of the Library of Hadrian (Athens, Greece).
The Ruins of the Library of Hadrian (Athens, Greece).
Travel Blog Photos The Ruins of the Library of Hadrian (Athens, Greece).
The Ruins of the Library of Hadrian (Athens, Greece).

Travel Blog Photos The Ruins of the Library of Hadrian (Athens, Greece).
The Ruins of the Library of Hadrian (Athens, Greece).
Travel Blog Photos The Ruins of the Library of Hadrian (Athens, Greece).
The Ruins of the Library of Hadrian (Athens, Greece).
The Ruins of the Library of Hadrian (Athens, Greece).  Travel Blog Photos
The Ruins of the Library of Hadrian (Athens, Greece).

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