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Water Clock

The Water clock in the Ancient Agora is called Klepsydra.

  1. Modern and Contemporary era (1821 - )

  2. Ottoman era (1453- 1821)

  3. Byzantine era (331 AC- 1453)

  4. Roman era (30 BC- 330 AC)

  5. Hellenistic era (322- 31 BC)

    It was built at the end of the 4th century BC. In the 3rd century the auxiliary tanks were added and it was used until the 2nd century BC.

  6. Classical era (478-323 BC)

  7. Archaic era (800-479 BC)

  8. Geometric era (-1100- 800 BC)

  9. Prehistory (-1100 BC)

What I can see

The Klepsydra was a hydraulic clock. It is considered the “ancestor” of the clock of Kyrristos (Tower of the Winds/ Aerides) of the Hellenistic era. A similar clock, in better condition, exists in Amfiareio, an archeological site north of Athens.

What I can't see

The clock consists of a 2m. deep stone tank, which was filled with water through a pipe from the Klepsydra spring on the northern slope of the Acropolis. It was from this spring that the clock took its name. Likely beginning at sunrise each day, the water emptied slowly and steadily throughout the day through an outflow hole located at the bottom of the tank. Thus, as the level of the water decreased, the time that had passed was revealed. It was completely emptied after 17 hours. A century later, auxiliary tanks of different levels were installed, which did not empty the water, but instead filled the central tank. The word Klepsydra (Klevo + Ydor: I steal + water) is due to the fact that an underground natural pipeline “stole” water from the source of the Acropolis and ended up in the port of Faliro.


Unsigned, (2012), Κλεψύδρα, [Klepsydra], Odysseus, Ministry of Culture

Last visit 11/3/2022


Information plate by the ministry of culture


Camp J., (2001), The Archaeology of Athens, Yale University Press, New Haven and London