Hadrian was a Roman emperor who respected Greek culture and focused on Athens in many ways. During his reign, the vast project of the Olympian Zeus temple was completed, a project that had initially started from Peisistratus times, and which last columns you can see today standing. Moreover, Hadrian funded the expansion of Athens’ Agora, which Library’s wall can also be seen outside Monastiraki metro.
But there is another project that is quite larger and maybe one of the biggest made in Athens- before Athens metro perhaps. That is Hadrian’s aqueduct. Construction began in 125 AD and was completed in 140 AD. The aqueduct provided water to Athens more more than 18 centuries, making use of Athens surrounding mountains’ resources, Penteli and Parnitha. It was a typical roman project of hydrogeological culture, showing exactly why the Romans ruled for so many centuries.
Recently, during the modern Athens history, the US company ULEN was responsible for the water supply of Athens (1924). The company started with the mapping and cleaning of the Hadrianic aqueduct, so 299 wells were numbered. Today there are about 130 exposed wells in public areas or private properties.
The tunnel’s route started from Parnitha, passed from Menidi, Kifissos river and Herakleion and Metamorfosis municipalities. Today in Nea Ionia you can clearly see a part of the infrastructure, to Halandri. Following Kifissias, the tunnel went to Ampelokipoi and Lycabettus Hill. The complete number of well is 465, 10-42 meters deep. Hope in the future to we have the chance to visit a part of this huge project!!!!
Roman Emperor Hadrian and Athens
Was any Roman Olympian or not? When Emperor Hadrian arrived to Athens, while the city’s Roman period, he was astonished by the city’s beauty and glory. At 131 AD he completed the construction of one of the biggest temples of the antiquity, whose remains we can visit today at the archaeological place of Olympeion.
The modern site is located next to Plaka and Syntagma (500 meters from both) and anyone can realize its past glory and destructions. Made from Pentelic white marble, and with a fallen column in 1852, the temple is mor
e than unique, attracting most of Athens’ visitors.
It is said that the temple foundation was directed related to Greeks mythical ancestor, Defkalion, who survived the flood myth, just like Noah. Athens had no longer king, so the “dictator” or ruler, Pisistratus, tried to finish the temple. Unfortunately, it was proved a really expensive project. However, he solved the water supply problem of Athens, by providing the city water from nearby Immitos mountain. But the same person who completed the temple, solved also that problem. Emperor Hadrian finished the temple but also Athens aqueduct, another huge project for his times.
Mythodea on June 28st 2001
A concert was organized on that date, June the 28th 2011, related to NASA and the music composer Vangelis. Here is the video from youtube.
The Olympian Zeus temple gives the city’s past glorious image with just a visit. Next to it, you can walk by the Illissus Vasilica, a destroyed church from the early christian times of Athens, but also visit the Panathenaic Stadium that is really close to the temple.
Apart from the temple, you can get some good shots including the Hadrian’s Gate, that lies on the background. Roman emperors respected Athens a lot, why not feel the same? Besides Athens is always a learning experience for everyone.