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March 2019

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Modern Greek history starts with the War of Independence at 1821. Even if the Greek war of Independence started on March 17th at Areopoli, Mani area at Peloponnesus, it is officially celebrated on March 25th. So March the 25th is a unique day to be in Athens and Greece. Military parades and Orthodox celebration, with a special bakaliaros-skordalia dish served everywhere. Spring has sprung everywhere in Greece, including Athens and Plaka!

But as for Plaka, there is something more. Every March the 25t at the 11th century dated church of Agios Nikolaos #Ragkavas, (Prytaneiou 1), people ring the same bell that its sound marked Athens’ freedom from Ottoman occupation, back in 1833!!!!
Made in Italy, this bell was secretly kept in Athens for centuries. When the Ottoman occupation of Athens was over, the bell was uncovered and its sound was heard everywhere around Athens!!!! Nowadays, there is a special liturgy on March the 25th, and when it is over, around 10.30-11 o clock at the morning, people start to ring the bell and feel the same feeling of freedom and liberation!!!!

So before Easter, visiting Plaka includes one more event for you be there.

Christian Orthodox faith is more similar to Catholic and less to Protestant. This is why Balkan countries have so many differences from western Europe areas. But there is one more difference between Christian european countries and those which were occupied by Islam, especially Ottoman Turks.

The social oppression to non-muslim groups during Ottoman occupation was a fact. Christians were actually hiding their faith, unless they chose conversion to Islam. Greece generally kept their Orthodox faith during both the Latin and Ottoman occupation. Nowadays you can discover many Orthodox churches in Plaka and Athens, which you should visit them on their celebration date. Feeling Orthodox in Athens is definitely a must!!!

Athens is famous about its ancient history, Acropolis, theater and democracy.

But its byzantine and latin period are not well known. Inside the modern city of Athens, remains of its medieval past are the churches, like Monastiraki, Ragavas, Little Metropolis, who were built between 10-11th century and we renovated.

What is really worth discovering though, is the medieval remains of the Latin past of Athens. Two spots are of magnificent beauty, historic importance and architecture: The tower at Vravrona and the two Monasteries at Penteli.

 

Athens after Latin period had a period of Ottoman occupation, as the rest of Balkans. This is why Athens and Greece as well are a mixture of cultures, tastes and aromas.

 

Hadrian was a Roman emperor who respected Greek culture and focused on Athens in many ways. During his reign, the vast project of the Olympian Zeus temple was completed, a project that had initially started from Peisistratus times, and which last columns you can see today standing. Moreover, Hadrian funded the expansion of Athens’ Agora, which Library’s wall can also be seen outside Monastiraki metro.

But there is another project that is quite larger and maybe one of the biggest made in Athens- before Athens metro perhaps. That is Hadrian’s aqueduct. Construction began in 125 AD and was completed in 140 AD. The aqueduct provided water to Athens more more than 18 centuries, making use of Athens surrounding mountains’ resources, Penteli and Parnitha. It was a typical roman project of hydrogeological culture, showing exactly why the Romans ruled for so many centuries.

Recently, during the modern Athens history, the US company ULEN was responsible for the water supply of Athens (1924). The company started with the mapping and cleaning of the Hadrianic aqueduct, so 299 wells were numbered. Today there are about 130 exposed wells in public areas or private properties.

The tunnel’s route started from Parnitha, passed from Menidi, Kifissos river and Herakleion and Metamorfosis municipalities. Today in Nea Ionia you can clearly see a part of the infrastructure, to Halandri. Following Kifissias, the tunnel went to Ampelokipoi and Lycabettus Hill. The complete number of well is 465, 10-42 meters deep. Hope in the future to we have the chance to visit a part of this huge project!!!!