The Tetragonos Agora

This was the trade area recorded as the “Tetragonos Agora” in the written sources. The conditin of the Agora in the Late Antique period was revealed during excavations in 1901-1907 during excavations in the plain to the West of the Marble Street. Traces of the Hellenistic Agora were found 3 m. below the present ground level during deep excavations in the Agora in 1977. The Hellenistic Agora was only half as large as the Roman Agora. It is thought from the architectural pieces recovered from teh excavations building with two rows of rooms stood on the southwestern corner of the Agora and the stoa which lay at the end of the road next to the Western Gate, were constructed successively in the 3rd and 2nd centuries B.C., during the reign of Lysimachus. The Agora had rectangular rooms around its sides and these rooms at the end of the 1st century B.C. were widened to form rooms square in shape (112×112m.). It had three monumental Gates, two galleries on four sides and was closed court surrounded by stoas. Most of these rooms were used for mercantile purposes, although some were the meeting places for guilds and political associations. The traces of stairs found in the corner of the Southeastern Agora next to the Western Gate and to the east of the Northern Gate prove that these stoa were two-storied buildings. The Agora was devastated by earthquakes in the 3rd and the 4th century A.D. and was reconstructed by Emperor Theodosius I. (379-395 A.D.) according to its original plan, with reused materials, which is why it is also known as the “Theodosius Forum”. It continued to function as an agora until the 7th century A.D.

The Western Gate:
This was the main entrance to the Agora, raised on a large podium(17 m.) at the end of the avenue leading from the harborto the city(the West Street). There were double columns on the wings on both sides of the front and ten-stepped flight of steps and two side-rows of columns in the back. There are rich decorations on the pedestals, some of which remain in their original locations and the Ionic capitals surrounding the Gates are notewothy. On both sides of the gate there were marble benches for people to sit. This monumental Western Gate was constructed on the foundations of a smaller Augustan Gate following the earthquake of 23 A.D. In the period of Domitianus (81-96 A.D.) a Merchant from Alexandria made alterations to the gate, which was not then suitable for freight traffic. The present condition of the Gate can be connected to these first alterations made in antiquity, three Gates in the entrance building, two large water pools and loading ramps at the sides for heavily loaded vehicles. The large court of the Agora was decorated with numerous statues and altar monuments, the foundations of which remain today in their original positions.