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Emperor Hadrian's Library

Hadrian's Library

<Location> Od. Areos (entrance), Athens, Greece

The site had long been closed, but finally opened to public since 2004. It used to be free entrance, but at the moment of writing (summer 2008), it is €2 (if you buy €12 set ticket of Athenian archaeological sites, it is included).

Hadrian's Library
Eastern Wall

The Library, built by the Roman Emperor Hadrian in 132 CE, is a complex consists in library, porticus, garden, pond etc. The area is almost as vast as the Roman Forum to the south. The concept resembles that of the temple of Pax, constructed by Vespasian in Rome, although the temple is replaced with the library.

In the photo is the west façade facing to the Areos Street, made of wall of white Pentelic marble and Corinthian columns of green Karystos marble (called cipollino) from Euboia).

The libray seems to be situated at the East end of the building. The two rooms at the both side of the library must have been lecture rooms or reading rooms. There was a pond at the centre of the courtyard surrounded by the row of columns. Pausanias recorded how sumptious was this building (1.18.9)B

The Library was devastated by the Heruli in 267, and then it was incorporated into the post-Herulian Wall. Between 425 and 450 a building with four apses was constructed at the center of the courtyard. It must have been a church, maybe the oldest one in Athens.