Hadrian’s Reservoir on Dexameni square in Kolonaki
Please read first:
Please bear in mind that due to Covid-19 the information that we present in our articles regarding the timetables of public transportation, hotels, restaurants, etc. may be subject to change. We highly advise you to double-check before proceeding with any bookings. Rest assured that we here at Athens By Locals are doing our best to keep up with these turbulent times and provide you with up-to-date travel information. Do not hesitate to reach out for any questions, we’ll be more than happy to help!
At the western slopes of Mt. Lycabettus and just a few squares north of the Kolonaki square lies one of the lesser-known yet important Athenian sites, the Hadrian’s Reservoir. Considered the most significant infrastructure of its time and the city’s main water supply system for decades, the ancient aqueduct is nowadays a significant part of the scenic Dexameni square.
The story of Hadrian’s Reservoir
Hadrian’s Reservoir was part of a water supply system that Emperor Hadrian constructed in the 2nd century AD in order to cover the water needs of the city’s inhabitants and specifically the Roman Agora.
Stretching underground for 25 kilometers, the water supply network was supplying a reservoir and an aqueduct at the feet of Mt. Lycabettus with water from Parnitha mountain.
The reservoir was completed in 140 AD under the reign of Hadrian’s successor Antoninus Pius. The remarkable infrastructure served for several decades as the city’s main water supply system. However, it was abandoned during the Ottoman Empire’s occupation and gradually fell into decay.
Hadrian’s aqueduct started operating again in 1840 while Hadrian’s Reservoir was discovered in 1870. After being reconstructed and reaching a capacity of 2.200 cubic meters (initially the tankage was 400 cubic meters), it operated until 1940.
Visiting Hadrian’s Reservoir
Hadrian’s Reservoir sits at Dexameni square in the area of Kolonaki. Even though it is not open to visitors, you can get a glimpse of its interior structure through the large viewing portals on the western walls.
The historic reservoir opens only once a year on Epiphany for the ceremony of the “Blessing of the Waters” (also called Theophany or Phota) which is celebrated on the 6th of January.
Dexameni square in Kolonaki
Dexameni square is named after Hadrian’s Reservoir (reservoir translates to Dexameni in Greek) and it is a popular hangout spot for locals.
Here you’ll find the cozy Dexameni ouzerie/cafe which was a popular meeting point for significant writers and intellectuals such as Papadiamantis and Kazantzakis, during the early 20th century.
Today, its indoor and outdoor tables brim with life from early in the morning till night gathering Athenians from different neighborhoods.
On top of the Dexameni square lies the open-air Cine Dexameni which operates in the summer months. Watching a movie under the Athenian night sky is definitely a must-do while visiting the Greek capital and the historic cinema is the ideal place for your evening.
In the surrounding alleys, a stone’s throw away from the square, you’ll discover fancy bars and restaurants that add a dash of luxury to the already hip area. For a high-end dinner in an exotic atmosphere go to the upscale Nikkei Peruvian Resto Bar Athens or hit the rooftop terrace on top of the St. George Hotel.
For music lovers, the atmospheric Jazz In Jazz bar is the perfect choice for savoring a premium whiskey under the sound of jazz classics of the early 20s.
Local’s tip: We recommend combining your visit to Hadrian’s Reservoir and Dexameni square with an outdoor exploration of Lycabettus hill for a magnificent panoramic view of Athens.
How to get to Hadrian’s Reservoir
Getting to Hadrian’s Reservoir is quite easy but be prepared to do some walking as there are bus or train stops right next to Dexameni square. The easiest way to get here is by metro from Evangelismos station (10 minutes walk) or Syntagma station (15 minutes walk).
However, there are also some bus stops within walking distance from the square, such as lines 025 and 026 from Monastiraki square (get off at the Didotou bus station and walk for 10 minutes).
If you want to avoid walking, the best choice is bus line 060, which passes by Akadimia street and goes through the Kolonaki neighborhood. Get off at the Loukianou bus stop and walk for only 3-4 minutes to Dexameni square.
A visit to Hadrian’s Reservoir is a great choice for a day out in Athens not only because it is a historical landmark that is worth your while but also because along the way you get to discover an authentic part of Athens.
Start your exploration in the morning as chances are you’ll end up spending the whole day in the area of the Dexameni square.
A Quick Reminder:
Remember that Athens By Locals is here to guide you with planning the perfect trip to Athens and help you every step along the way. If you didn’t found what you’re looking for, or need any recommendations about your trip to Athens, feel free to contact us and we will do our best to help you. Please be as more detailed as possible regarding your subject so as to help you better.
If you like what you read please scroll down at the end of this page and subscribe to Athens By Locals so next time to receive more articles like this straight forward to your email. Join us on Facebook for comments, photos, and other fun stuff. If you enjoy this article please share it with your friends on Facebook.
Copyright © 2023 Athens By Locals © All rights reserved. No part of this site may be reproduced without our written permission.
Images owned by Athens By Locals. Image Banks or Companies promoted.