Occupying a large square, the Ancient Agora of Athens was the center of the city’s social, political and economic life. Athenians would gather here every day to engage in a broad spectrum of activities: political contacts, religious ceremonies, commercial transactions, administrative duties, contests, trials and discussions of every imaginable type. Around this square, most of the public buildings were gradually constructed: the Bouleuterion (council house), the offices of institutions and officials, the public archives, the mint, courthouses. There were also a number of long stoas which, together with the trees in the area, provided shade for people wishing to walk or talk. Here and there stood shrines and altars of political significance, as well as works of art and monuments reminding Athenians of the city’s glory, magnificence and power.