The agora, or marketplace, was the political heart of Ancient Athens from 600 BC onwards. Similar to the forum of Rome, the agora had religious, political, legal, and commercial importance. The American School of Classical Studies began excavations in the 1930s and revealed a litany of different buildings with diverse purposes. The Athenian mint was also here, so was the war council building known as the Tholos.
The real prize of the site is the Hephaisteon, one of the best-preserved temples in Greece. It dates from 449-440 BC.
Also on the site is the reconstructed Stoa of Attalos. John D. Rockefeller Jr. financed the reconstruction of this building in the 1950s, drawing on the original foundations and building materials. The stoa is named for King Attalos of Pergamon, who ruled from 159-138 BC, and financed its unique construction. In AD 267, in burned during a raid on the city by the Heruli tribe.
Today, it is a museum highlighting the finds that come from the agora. One of my personal favorites is the child’s toilet seat on display.