Pelopidou & Aeolou • Tel. (+30) 210.324.5220
Athenians in the late 1st century BC built a marketplace with donations from the wealthy Roman leaders Julius Caesar and Augustus. It consisted of a large rectangular area with an internal courtyard, surrounded by a colonnade (110 columns), shops and storage spaces. Of particular note are the Tower of the Winds, the Agoranomeion (the market inspector’s office and possibly the headquarters of the nobles who controlled the market), the “Vespasians” (public latrines) and the Fethiye Mosque or Mosque of the Conquest, built on the ruins of an Early Christian basilica in 1456 BC and dedicated to Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror.
Opening hours are daily from 08.00 – 15.00.
THE TOWER OF THE WINDS
Also known as “Horologion of Andronicus Cyrrhus”, it is believed to have been built in the 2nd century BC. It was an octagonal marble tower topped by a bronze Triton that turned with the wind to indicate one of the eight winds depicted on each of its sides. It also contained sundials, while, inside, the mechanism for a water clock was housed. It is hailed as the world’s first weather station. Why was it built at the Roman Agora and not the port of Piraeus to help captains plan their routes? The reason may be simple: As the prices of goods traded at the Agora were determined by the quantity of the product brought in by ships, as well as by other modes of transport, traders had a distinct advantage in knowing which winds were favorable and adjusted their prices accordingly. For the public who frequented the Agora, the tower served as a convenient way to check on the hour while shopping.