In the immediate vicinity of Monastiraki Square are the ruins of Hadrian's Library.
This ancient temple of knowledge is one of the city's top attractions.
In this complete guide to Hadrian's Library in Athens, you'll learn all about the historic site, its history, and helpful information about how to get there and tickets.
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What Can I Do at Hadrian's Library?
In the middle of Athens, you will come across the impressive Hadrian's Library, which was built at the behest of the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a cultural center for the Athenians.
The ancient complex, also called the University of Athens, consists of a rectangular courtyard surrounded on all sides by 100 colonnades and the library rooms, which consist of a library hall and several lecture and lecture halls.
You can see the ruins of the largest library in ancient Athens. The large portico at the entrance, part of the west facade and several of the imposing Corinthian columns still dominate the site today. Several panels provide information about the monument in English and Greek.
Sometimes you can also discover depressions in which scrolls were once kept. Remains of the complex's Byzantine churches can also be discovered, with some etchings of icons still visible on one of the walls.
Since the Hadrian's Library is located on the site of the Agora, a visit to the two historical sites can be easily combined.
- For more about the sights in the Agora, see our guide to the Agora.
Admission, Tickets and Guided Tours
How Do I Get to Hadrian's Library?
Hadrian's Library is north of the Roman Agora, right next to lively Monastiraki Square and Tzistarakis Mosque.
As the ruins are only a 2 minute walk from the Monastiraki metro station, you can easily reach them by public transport. Take metro line 1 or 3. Alternatively, you can also take the hop on hop off bus tour to station A 14 "Monastiraki/Thession" and walk the few meters to Hadrian's Library.
Visitors arriving from the Piraeus cruise port can go to the nearby Piraeus Metro Station and board the M1 line. A single ticket is sufficient for the 16-minute journey to Monastiraki Station.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Admission to Hadrian's Library costs 6 euros.
Hadrian's Library is located in central Athens, next to lively Monastiraki Square and north of the Roman Agora. The full address is: Areos 3 & Adrianou, 10555 Monastiraki Athens, Greece
Since Hadrian's Library is only a few meters away from Monastiraki Square and the Monastiraki Metro Station, the easiest way to reach it is by metro line 1 or 3. Alternatively, you can also take the Hop on Hop off bus tour to station A 14 "Monastiraki/Thession" and walk the few meters to Hadrian's Library.
Visitors arriving from the Piraeus cruise port can go to the nearby Piraeus Metro Station and board the M1 line. A single ticket is sufficient for the 16-minute journey to Monastiraki station.
History of Hadrian's Library
Hadrian's Library was established in 132 AD. Emperor Hadrian, after whom the library is named, was the benefactor of the sprawling complex. The Roman emperor wanted to create a cultural center as part of the urban renewal of Athens, with Athens as the spiritual center of his empire.
To this end, he had Hadrian's library equipped with a library hall, lecture halls, several adjoining rooms, a garden and an odeon. In ancient Athens, the complex was a public space where scrolls containing literary and administrative writings were kept, as well as where lectures were held. In addition, philosophical schools and an archive were housed here.
After the library was massively damaged by the Germanic tribe of Heruli in 267 AD, it took 150 years for the site to be rebuilt under the Roman governor. In the same century, an early Christian church was built on the site, later replacing a basilica and most recently the Megali Panagia church.
In 1835 the complex was used as barracks under King Otto. During Ottoman rule, the complex served as the seat of the Ottoman governor as well as a bazaar.
Excavation work began in the late 19th century, uncovering much of the extensive site.
August 3, 2023