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Hadrian's Library

Hadrian's Library (28)

Although it is currently closed to the public due to the gradual expansion of the archaeological finds, it wouldn't be right not to dedicate a few words to this complex, one of the largest buildings constructed by Emperor Hadrian in the city of Athens. 

If the idea of a library does not seem as spectacular as that of a temple, Emperor Hadrian certainly didn't share your opinion. In order to house his library collection and encourage study, he designed and built a large complex consisting of a rectangular building with a Corinthian portico entrance, a library, a study, a courtyard with a pond and a reading room in 132 AD. 

If you are interested in numbers, the complex measured 122 by 82 metres, and the courtyard was 82 by 60 metres. The galleries surrounding it had 100 columns, and it was accessed through a propylaea with four columns that have stood the test of time. 

The Heruli put an end to the beautiful and peaceful complex in 267 AD. It was rebuilt by the Romans and a church was built on the site of the pond in the 5th century. This was replaced in the 7th century and again in the 11th century. Some traces of this church, known as the Church of Megali Panagia, are still visible. 

Although it is not possible to enter the premises at the moment, if you are shrewd you can find out where to get a glimpse of the library. Behind the fence on Areos Street and Dexipou Street, there are privileged viewpoints from which archaeology fans can catch sight not only of the ruins, but of the workers meticulously salvaging every tiny stone.

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