The Agora is a flat area (square) that extends to the northwest foothills of the Acropolis hill and is closed by the hill of Areopagus to the south, and the hill of Agoraios Kolonos to the west. The first habitation of the area dates back to the Late Neolithic period, around 3000 B.C. Agora of Athens began to gradually acquire its character as a place of gathering during the 6th century. B.C., and took its final shape in the 2nd century. A.D.
The Athenian Agora was the place for social activities, trade, religious fairs, theatrical performances and sporting events. The course of the birth of democracy in Athens was inseparable from the development of the Agora as the city centre.
The Agora is crossed by the Panathenaic Way, and gradually the open space was flanked by public buildings, the most important of which are: Vasileios Stoa, Stoa of Zeus Eleftherios, Bouleuterion, the courts, the mint, Poikile Stoa, Stoa of Attalos, Library of Pantainos, Odeon of Agrippa etc.
On the hill of the Areopagus in the south was built, among others, the oldest court of Athens, while in the hill of Agoraios Kolonos to the west lies the temple dedicated to Athena Ergane and Hephaestus, widely known as “Thision”, the most well-preserved Doric temple in Greece, and with rich sculptural decoration too.
The Agora of Athens was destroyed several times by invaders and conquerors in both ancient and in later times. The first excavations were conducted in the 19th century by Greek and German archaeologists, however, systematic research has been undertaken since 1931 by the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.