Following an exhausting climb from the Parthenon, we decided to explore the Ancient Agora which is located at the northwest slope of the Acropolis. We ignored our legs painful protest to trek over this large square. The Agora was the heart of the ancient city where theatric performances, religious ceremonies, and athletic contests were held. Furthermore, it was the center of commercial and political activity in antiquity. It dates back to approximately the 6th century BC and was destroyed and pillaged numerous times, from the Persians in 480 BC and many others up until the Greek War of Independence in 1826-1827.
The most striking building in the Agora is the temple of Hephaestus. At first glance it seems like a smaller version of the Parthenon, however, the differences are in the details. The temple of Hephaestus was the best preserved structure from antiquity that we had seen. It pillars and general structure were almost perfectly intact, demonstrating an architectural miracle. It survived through thousands of years of erosions, wars, and disasters. Most of its surrounding area was remnants of ancient buildings which were little more than rocks piled on top of each other in an orderly fashion. The Agora has been undergoing excavation by the American School of Classical Studies since 1931 and continues to this day.
After this long day of visiting the Parthenon, Acropolis, and Agora, we realized why much of Greece seems empty during the daytime hours. The scorching heat can be unbearable and we should have been fully prepared. Barring the heat, the site is definitely worth a visit, especially considering it is walking distance from the Parthenon.