Hadrian's Arch, is a monument which, in spite of the marks of time and repetitive acts of vandalism, still preserves its elegant silhouette and an admirable patina through the gradual oxidation of its pentelic (from the quarries of Mt. Penteli) white marble. It is located close to Areopagitou Street or the Monument of Lycicrates, on Amalias Avenue.
Hadrian's Arch as seen from Lysicratous Street.
Above the ancient road leading from the Acropolis to the Temple of Olympian Zeus, aka Olympieion, a two-story triumphal arch was erected in 131-132 AD, marking the boundary between the old city of Athens and the new city. The Athenian Neapolis stretches under the Zappeion and the National Gardens. Archaeological excavations to the site thus far have located luxurious mansions, baths, and a gymnasium.
The monument was erected 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.
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.
On the two sides of the architrave above the arch there are two inscriptions: on the West side, it reads, "This is Athens the old city of Thesseus", and on the East side, it reads, "This is the city of Hadrian and not Thesseus".
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".
Athens Gate Hotel is located less than a hundred yards away from Hadrian's Arch and two hundred yards from the entrance to the Temple of Olympian Zeus and the new Acropolis Museum. This is our guests' favorite part of Athens, according to independent reviews. Couples particularly like the location — they rated it 9.7 for a two-person trip. It offers 4-star facilities, excellent views of the Acropolis and the Temple of Olympian Zeus, and fine cuisine. Free WiFi is available throughout. There is a bar/restaurant on the top floor of the hotel, offering breathtaking views of the city. Breakfast can be taken in the roof restaurant, or 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 offer stunning views of the Acropolis, offered on a request basis and upon availability. All rooms are equipped with 27-inch (68 cm) LCD flat-screen TV.