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December 2018

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Kerameikos archaeological area

A for Psirri

Athens was a small closed village that was expanded from modern streets (named today) Thrasyllou, Aishinou, Pittakou, Lekka, Praxitelous, Euripidou until Agioi Asomatoi church, Thisseio, Areopagus Hill and Sarri Street. Even not that famous as the Plaka streets, there areas include the modern evolution and progress of the new born city of Athens the last century.

So the area is located between Euripidou, Ermou and Piraeus street at Gazi, having in the middle Kerameikos achaeological area.聽Etymology of its name is not certain. Maybe it comes from a church named Saint Athanassios Psirri (from a family name), or a Psarian (from Psara island at Aegean sea, with a vast tradition in shipping). Nonetheless, the genitive “psirri” implies a family name. The neighborhood is quite central, since there are three railway stations, Monastiraki (Line 1 and 3, and Thisseio).

Psirri kept its initial character, as a free area on Haseki wall that surrounded Athens. At Psirri Monastiraki area was also included, something that changed after Cleanthis initial architectural plan about Athens in 1833.

Savapile, at Agias Eleousis, is a shop with handamade hats
Today a parking, at the past the place where Lord Byron met the Maid of Athens…

One of the famous early foreign residents was Lord Byron, who was hosted at a neoclassical building that now does not exist. Some people say that it was just demolished, others that it was burnt because of its residents… no-one can tell for sure!

At Psirri there are many neoclassical buildings, as in Plaka, and today someone can discover traditional shops with handmade items, such as Savapile, but also many tavernas.

After Plaka, Psirri is the next neighbourhood you should focus on in order to feel the city vibes. Not that classy as Syntagma and Kolonaki, but real life, hidden spots and gems, for food, entertainment and historic routes.

Athens and ceramics

Olive trees

How much are ceramics related to Athens wealth of classical antiquity? it’s global supremacy was founded on the basis of two factors: its olive oil production and exports, but also its stable monetary system. Kerameikos area was the ancient source of craftmanship, where athenian designers and workers created amazing objects, both in utility and aesthetics.

Moreover, the stability of the democratic political and financial system gave Athenians a solid goverment, with no ups and downs that the previous had.

Today in Athens there are some schools that still keep the tradition of this craft at Plaka e.g. Dotahart, or at the area of Keramikos. Keramikos is located at Gazi area, and is actually the continuation of Psirri. There are many neoclassical buildings and restaurants.

So, if you plan to stay in Athens for a few months, dont miss the chance of visiting and even taking some courses (why not) of this fantastic traditional workshop of Iridanos, with many years of experience, passion and love for ceramic art.

Who knows, you may be attracted to it.. here is the contact link to find out!