May 9, 2013
The Ancient Agora of Athens Greece: secret paths & Tower of the winds: a highlight
May 9, 2013
When you visit Athens, you must go to Plaka and especially to Aerides to experience old Athens.
"Agora" in Greek literally means "a place of gathering" and the Agora of Athens was the heart of Athenian life in Ancient times.
The agora in ancient times was the centre of political and public life in Athens. It was an open place that was surrounded by building. The agora was utilized for commerce, political, religious and military activity. Meetings were held in ancient agora four times per month to enact legislation, to hear embassies, and deal with defense of the city-state.
Athens’ ancient marketplace was founded in the 6th century BC and was the heart of the city for thousand years. This is the place where Socrates addressed his public, where democracy was born and where St Paul preached. Agora is a place to keep yourself wandering, imagining the era and the lively bustle that filled this historic centre that years.
Taking an Athens walking tour around the ruins of the Agora you can't escape from the weight of history that hovers about the place, and the form of the landscape that reflects none of the splendor of magnificent buildings.
The Tower of the Winds, (timepiece), is an octagonal Pentelic marble clocktower on the Roman agora in Athens. The structure features a combination of sundials, a water clock and a wind vane and is till today in remarkably good condition considering its age -more than 2000 years-.
There are still iron rods sticking out the sides to indicate the time of day (shadows caused by the sun) and the wind god statues are still prevalent on the outside walls, beneath the roof. Unfortunately you can't see or go inside but there was a water clock inside the Tower of the Winds - a technological marvel in its day - to determine the time when the sky was cloudy.
In the early Christian period, the Tower of the Winds, which is also known as the Horologion of Kyrrhestos, was used as a church, and in the 18th century it was a Dervish Monastery. Now it stands as a masterpiece of ancient architecture. On the east and north side of the tower, holes let in the brickwork let light into the tower.
Don’t miss the above if you’re going to Athens. For your convenience, an organized Athens tour to one or more of these places is the best way to experience them to the full.