Athens Arch of Hadrian

Location: Syntagma

The Arch of Hadrian in Athens, Attica: The Arch of Hadrian is a triumphal arch which lies in a walking distance from Syntagma square, right between the rock of the Acropolis and the temple of Olympian Zeus. On the northwest, this monument faces the Monument of Lycicrates in Plaka. The construction of this temple started in 131 BC to celebrate the arrival of the Roman Emperor Hadrian and to thank him for his benefactions for the city. It is not known exactly who built this arch, whether it was the Athenians or citizens from another town. Symbolically the location of the arch was to mark the line between the ancient part of Athens and Hadrian's new city.

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Made of fine Pentelic marble, this arch is 18 m high, 12,5 m wide and 2,3 m in depth. Its architecture resembles a lot to similar Roman arches and it is crowned by pilasters of Corinthian rhythm. The design is fully symmetrical. The monument has two layers, at the center of the lower layer there is an arched gate through which people could pass. Also, there were two columns, which do not exist anymore and connected by architraves between the two layers.

Two inscriptions are carved in the architrave, one on each side: the first on the side towards the Acropolis reads "This is Athens, the ancient city of Theseus", the second on the other side, facing the new city reads "This is the city of Hadrian and not of Theseus". It is obvious that the ancient city formed new districts due to the expansion that was made by the Emperor.

In the 18th century, the Arch of Hadrian served as one of the seven gates in the defensive wall that the Turks built around the city against the attack of the Albanians raiders. Given that the monument was never fully protected, it has survived time in extraordinary condition. Unfortunately, in recent decades, pollution has caused extensive discoloration of the original material and degradation of the inscriptions.

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How to get there

There are many ways to reach the Arch of Hadrian, from any location in Athens.

Tours: Discover the Arch of Hadrian with an organized tour, starting from 61.20 euros.

Private transfers: We recommend using an online pre-booked Athens transfer service, which provides transfer by taxi, minibus or private VIP car and arranging a pickup directly from the port, airport or your hotel. Alternatively, there’s the option of arranging a pickup by a local driver directly at the following numbers: 0030 693 881 8288, 0030 694 597 2090, 0030 690 943 9292 or book your taxi online.

On foot: As the Arch of Hadrian is located in a central area of Athens, it can be easily reached on foot from Syntagma metro station, in approximately 10 minutes.

By metro: The closest metro station is “Acropolis” on line 2. Note that the Arch of Hadrian is located within a 5-minute walking distance from the metro. Get a map of the metro here.

By bus/trolleybus: Since the Arch of Hadrian is located in one of the most central regions in Athens, there are many bus stops nearby. Check the routes and the official timetables on OASA Telematics.

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