8. Athens: Ancient Agora of Athens Self-Guided Audio Tour
The Ancient Agora of Athens was once the political, commercial and social heart of the ancient city. Throughout the centuries, it’s been under threat. First, it faced destruction at the hands of the Herulians when they ransacked the city in 267 AD. As time went by and the city expanded, the area endured years of neglect, and was gradually abandoned. On this walking tour, I’ll sift through the layers of Agora’s history and, by sharing stories from its famous and lesser-known residents, return it to its former glory. Our tour starts at the entrance to this archaeological site, the ancient Agora. From there, you’ll walk through the relatively small open space on the Northern slopes of the Acropolis and hear how the area was once an indispensable part of Athenian life, and a place where democracy was upheld. As you stroll around Agora’s ruins, I’ll show you where the Temple of Ares, Odeon of Agrippa concert hall, and the marketplace once stood. The entire site was a melting pot where merchants, bankers, traders, craftsmen, butchers, scribes, architects and builders would meet and mingle. I’ll tell you about who these people were, from philosophers who would wander about surrounded by their students, to the gossiping merchants who attended chariot races. On this tour, you’ll have a chance to: • Stroll down Panathenaic Street, one of the most popular ancient streets in the city • Find out how democracy was practised in ancient Athens • Take in the remains of Athens State Prison • Listen to stories from the city’s glory days • Gaze at the Holy Church of the Holy Apostles of Solakis, one of the few medieval buildings not torn down by archaeologists in their pursuit to unearth even older buildings • Learn about Socrates’ noble death • See the best-preserved temple in Greece • View Stoa of Attalos, the only reconstructed building within the Agora • Hear legends that blend with history If you’d like to escape the hustle and bustle of Athens’ city centre for a while, this is the tour for you! This hour-long walk will introduce you to the city’s political history and the everyday life of the ancient Athenians. It’s a rather difficult site to explore by yourself so join me on this walk-through time where I’ll shed light on the turbulent history of one of the city’s most fascinating neighbourhoods.