The monument was erected in 131-132 A.D. in honor of Roman Emperor Hadrian, a benefactor of the city of Athens, as a triumphal arch, and in order to embellish the -then- new district of Athens, constructed mostly during his rule and bearing his name, Hadrianopolis (City of Hadrian), which began just where the ancient city of Theseus ended.
On the two sides of the architrave above the arch there are two inscriptions: on the West side, it says, "This is Athens the old city of Thesseus", and on the East side, it says, "This is the city of Hadrian and not Thesseus".
The monument is an isolated gateway, 13.5 m. (44 ft.) broad, 2.5 m. thick and 18 m. (59 ft.) high, with an arched 6 m. (20 ft.) wide passage. It was originally ornamented with two pilasters of the Corinthian order of architecture and their bases and capitals may still be partly seen; their architraves are almost intact, especially the one facing the city. Above the entablature rises a Corinthian portico with three window-like openings formerly filled with thin marble slabs and probably ornamented with statues, similar to the Philopappos Monument. The central opening is surmounted with a pediment. The corner pilasters 0,88 m. wide, with a simple base are not channeled and their capitals, continued as cornices with small faces are of a composite shape. The gateway stood at the end of a street leading to the NW towards the impressive Temple of Olympian Zeus.
The remains of wall-paintings suggest that in the Middle Ages the arch had become part of a Christian church. In 1778 it was converted into a gate of the defense wall around Athens, and was known as the "Princess Gate".
For a page with Basic Architectural Terminology, including terms used in the description of the ancient Greek temples, click here! Very close to Hadrian's Arch, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, and Syntagma Square in the opposite direction, we recommend The Athens Gate Hotel, an Airport Hotel known for its friendly service and its strategic location. There is a bar/restaurant on the top floor, offering grand views of the city and where you can take your breakfast, unless ordered from room service. There is also a bar in the reception area serving coffee, drinks and light snacks all day. All the front rooms have a view of the Temple of Olympian Zeus, and 6th and 7th floor rear rooms, on request basis and upon availability, offer stunning views of the Acropolis. All units are equipped with 27-inch LCD flat-screen TV.
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