Days of Future Past (Part 6)
Two pictures, one from 1870, taken by the historical photographer Petros Moraitis and a second, contemporary one, of the same site. The pictures depict the Arch of Hadrian, a monumental gate resembling a Roman triumphal arch located at walking distance from the neighbouring areas of Plaka, Koukaki, Syntagma, Pagrati, and the wider Acropolis region. It is actually positioned next to the ruins of the imposing Temple of Olympian Zeus and is close to the Athenian Acropolis. The monument, also known as ‘Hadrian’s Gate’, is believed to have been built around 131-132 AD to celebrate the arrival of the Roman Emperor Hadrian and his role as the city’s admirer and benefactor.
Hadrian’s Gate is 18 meters high and is made entirely of Pentelic marble, sourced from Mt. Penteli, located 18.2 km away. This is the same marble that was used for the construction of the Parthenon as well as many other monuments in Athens and the wider Attica Region in Greece. Two inscriptions are carved on the lower level of the arch and have sparked a historical debate as to their meaning.
On the northwest side (the side facing the Acropolis) the inscription reads…
ΑΙΔ’ ΕΙΣΙΝ ΑΘΗΝΑΙ ΘΗΣΕΩΣ Η ΠΡΙΝ ΠΟΛΙΣ
…translating to “This is Athens, the ancient city of Theseus.”
The inscription on the southeast side (facing the Olympeion, the Temple of Olympian Zeus) reads…
ΑΙΔ’ ΕΙΣ’ ΑΔΡΙΑΝΟΥ ΚΟΥΧΙ ΘΗΣΕΩΣ ΠΟΛΙΣ
…translating to “This is the city of Hadrian, and not of Theseus.”
Earlier theories suggested the monument was thus originally built on the line of the ‘Themistocleian Wall’ of the City of Athens, marking the border between the ‘old’ historical city of Athens and the ‘new’ parts that were being built at the time. However more contemporary excavations have refuted the theory, and current theories suggest the inscriptions may have marked Hadrian’s re-founding of the old city of Athens.
The monument has now fused into the modern urban landscape of Central Athens, as it is on the central and busy Amalias Street, leading all the way to Syntagma Square and the old royal palace, now housing the Parliament of the Hellenic Republic, both a few minutes-walk away. Given that the monument was never fully protected, it has survived time in an extraordinary condition. It currently still sits there between the Acropolis and the Temple of Olympian Zeus, overlooking this millennia-old city and its inhabitants, part of the everyday landscape of Athenian citizens residing in the area and the millions visiting each year.
Neighbouring areas are of the most vibrant and picturesque kind that the City of Athens can offer: the Acropolis and its neighbouring historical districts like Plaka, Thiseion and Monastiraki, Syntagma Square and the Parliament, the shopping district on Ermou Street, the affluent area of Kolonaki, the Panathenaic Stadium and the stunning National Garden, all at a stone’s throw away. The area has seen a marked rise both in selling and renting prices, partly due to the massive interest in, and rise of, short-term rental accommodation in the region. Other positive and encouraging factors are the still very attractive prices on offer and the investment opportunities they create, as well as the global interest in the Greek ‘Golden Visa’ Program, offering a pathway to Greek/EU residency and citizenship to those willing to invest a minimum of 250 000€ on properties located anywhere in Greece.
Mi4 Real Estate holds an extensive portfolio of properties in the region surrounding Hadrian’s Gate. Contact us for more information.
3 July 2018