The Denver Post reported today on the revamped Mile High Marketplace in Commerce City (formerly the Mile High Flea Market) ( It’s not just a flea market anymore (though it still includes one), nor is it a modern mall or strip mall, or traditional commercial area. It is, it seems, an agora, a vibrant, diverse, entertaining place of convergence, where people can find exotic (as well as mundane) wares, fresh produce, roving entertainers, chance encounters, and other attractions.

As a world traveler and avid student of ancient history, I find such agoras particularly attractive artifacts of the human spirit. The famous Covered Bazaar in Istanbul (and it’s uncovered sprawl of shops and stalls that surround it) is a marvel to behold. The vendors lining the narrow, corridor-like lanes of the Old City of Jerusalem and other ancient towns and cities, hawking their wares, bargaining with customers, is a wonderful slice of life that has been tragically scrubbed from our modern existence.

The agora in ancient Greece, as in many lands, was more than a marketplace for vendors’ wares; it was also a social meeting place and a marketplace of ideas, where people came to discuss the issues of their day. In our own aesthetically sterilized culture, few things are more welcome than some remnant of those less dehumanized times and locales finding its way back into our lives. Let’s stop by and listen to a roving minstrel, or admire an artisan’s painstakingly crafted offerings, while we enjoy a delicacy made for such occasions.

Let’s all meet at the agora again, where we can exchange the products of our labor and of our minds, and create greater shared wealth by doing so.

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