The Agora is the central square, the heart of public life in ancient Athens. Here gathered the citizens for their commercial transactions and their political conflicts. It was the seat of administration, justice, and decision making of the city, but also the bustling centre of the intellectual and religious life. Some of the main buildings of the Agora as listed on the mapare described here: 

                    Image courtesy of Hydria Virtual Museum
Plan of the Ancient Agora: 1. Temple of Hephaistos; 2. Stoa of Zeus Eleutherios; 3. Bouleutirion (House of Parliament, old and new); 4. Tholos; 5. Altar of the 12 Gods.

Hydria Virtual Museum

Temple of the God Hephaistos: standing at the highest point of the Agora, this is the best preserved example of a Doric order temple in Greece and can be visited today.

Stoa of Zeus Eleutherios: built in the 5th century BC was a favourite place of leisure, where Athenians could sit, talk with friends and enjoy the wonderful paintings of gods, legendary heroes and victories, etc., displayed here. Only ruins survive today.

Bouleutirion: (House of Council / Parliament). Initially the members of the Boule, the council members (or prytaneis) used to gather in open air. The Old Bouleutirion was constructed to accommodate their meetings (early 5th century BC) and later a new building was erected (late 5th century BC) after the old one was destroyed by the Persians. In classical times, there were 500 members in each session, 50 for each of the 10 tribes of Athens who were selected by lot for one year term of service. Only ruins of the old and the new Bouleutirion survive today. The 50 prytaneis of the 10 tribes of Athens held the executive office of the Bouleutirion in turn, for 1/10 of the year (35 or 36 days).

Tholos: Round building that was used mainly as a dining-hall and was also the seat of those 50 Prytaneis of the Athenian tribe who held the executive office at the time (by rotation, each of the 10 tribes, for 1/10 of the year).

Altar of the twelve Gods: this was situated at the junction of the main communication lines of Athens and served as an asylum (place of refuge) and as a starting-point for the measurement of road distances.

Panathenaic Way: Central road of Ancient Athens crossing the square of the Agora diagonally, starting from Kerameikos and terminating at the entrance of the Acropolis. This is the street used for the Panathinaean Festival procession, held every four years.

Southwest Fountain House: It was constructed in the mid 4th century BC, a period when Athens suffered from drought and extensive works were carried out in the Agora. Its location in a prominent spot and its size both reveal that in the Hellenistic Period it was probably at some point the most important fountain house in the Agora square. Only ruins survive today.  

Heliaia (Courthouse): the most important court of justice in the State of ancient Athens, dating from the mid-6th century BC.

South Stoa: The South Stoa was a large rectangular building with 15 rooms constructed around 430 BC, to accommodate symposiums and later, in the Hellenistic period, it was used for commercial purposes. The building was demolished in the mid-2nd century BC, to make room for the more luxurious South Stoa ΙΙ.

Enneakrounos (nine spouted) or SouthEeast Fountain House: This is the best-preserved structure in the south side of the Agora. It is an oblong square measuring 6.8 Χ 18.2m, dated in 520-530 BC. 

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