Hadrian’s Library – Athens, Greece.
The impressive complex of Hadrian’s library is located in Plaka, Athens. It is the work of the hellenophile Roman Emperor Hadrian, the great benefactor of Athens, who wanted to create a peaceful spot near the bustling bazaar. The complex comprises of a huge atrium surrounded by four arcades looking onto the open peristyle courtyard. This rectangular building is 82 meters wide and 122 meters long with a Corinthian propylon on the west side. There is an impressive colonnade, which happens to be the best preserved part of the whole monument. The library itself was situated in a vast central hall on the eastern side of the complex, surrounded by two smaller rooms, possibly studies for visitors. On each side of the eastern wing there were two halls with successive rows of stone benches, correctly assumed to have been lecture halls. It’s easy to imagine ancient Greek scholars studying the papyruses and the parchments of the great Classics and taking relaxing strolls in the atrium’s garden while discussing the latest philosophical theories. Hadrian’s library remained an oasis for the intellectual for more than 130 years, until it was destroyed by the barbarian Herulae during the sack of Athens in 267 A.D.