Library of Hadrian

The Library of Hadrian, built by the Roman emperor Hadrian, c. 131/132 A.D. The archaeological site is still under excavation and is being restored, so that it is not yet open to the general public. But you can get adequate views from the Areos Street on the west, Dexippou Street on the south, and Aeolou Street on the east. The complex originally consisted of a large rectangular area enclosed by tall walls. The main entrance was on the west (shown here). Inside the walls was an open-air courtyard, surrounded by columns of marble imported from Turkey. In the center of this peristyle court was a long pool and probably a garden. At the far eastern end, there were several rooms that formed the "library" proper. Although this monument has been called the "Library of Hadrian" since the early 19th century A.D., that is a modern nickname: it is really a type of imperial Roman forum (modelled after the Forum of Peace built by the emperor Vespasian in Rome).

This photo shows part of the western entrance and forecourt, as seen from the south. In the background is the Tzami Tzistaraki or Mosque of the Lower Pazari (18th century A.D.). To the right of the mosque you can see 7 columns of gray marble (from Karystos in southern Euboia) standing in front of the exterior wall of the Library. To the south (right) of these columns is part of the main propylon (entrance) into the Library. The propylon was made of white, Pentelic marble. Visible in this photo is 1 of 4 orginal prostyle columns of the propylon. Behind it (to the right) is an engaged Corinthian pilaster, also of Pentelic marble. The wooden boards in the photo are covering the steps of the propylon. View from the south.