The Library of Hadrian was built around 132-134 CE as part of Hadrian’s grand rebuilding scheme, ergo it was built to impress people. It held a massive collection of literature, and it stored legal and administrative papers too. Students could attend philosophical classes there, and they may hear lectures too. People were not allowed to borrow books; they were kept there for storage and study. The library has had a lot of damage, but you may see a wall and a few columns that have the Church of Asomatos (12th century AD) remains on display, and the Statue of Nike (1st century BC) remains too.
Finding The Library of Hadrian
Use the metro and get off at the Thissio station. Walk over to Adrianou Street and walk the whole way along it headed east. Near the very end, you will see a small street called Areos, where you should be able to see the library. If you reach Adrianou by bus, metro, or on foot, then you simply walk all the way along it heading east until you see the stone structure with a large black metal fence in front of it.
Library of Hadrian, Areos 3 & Adrianou, Plaka, Athens in Greece.
08:00 to 15:00 every day
Many people do not bother to pay to get in. If you do pay, you are simply allowed beyond the fence. There are very few areas where you may actually enter the library. Most people walk along the fence and peer in at the site. It is located near the flea market in a central location, so many people use it as a warm-up visit before they move on to the bigger theatres, neighbourhoods and the Acropolis.
It is smaller than most people expect, and most of what you can see within the fence is the same as what you can see from outside it. If you do enter, you are given a rest from the hustle and bustle, since the surrounding area is very busy.
If you are going to visit, try to get a pass or ticket that includes the library and other sites because it works out cheaper. They may have the library included on the Acropolis ticket, but ask before assuming they do. It is close to Tzidarakis Mosque and Monasiraki, and is worth a short detour to see it (even if only from the outside). The experience is more fulfilling if you learn a little about the site before you arrive because the signs they have there only give you brief details.