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!!!!
Like every destination everywhere around the planet, Athens has its dangers. Not many, but they exist. Here are some, thankfully not so important!
Be careful of the so-called “pilots”. These are persons who get into conversation with you asking something neutral, like time or lighter and become your friend, offering to guide you around the city. Avoid them gently.
Taxi drivers. Many drivers wait at certain points and charge for huge amount of money, especially routes to the sea, or airport. When you enter a taxi just ask them to turn on the counter. Be careful the tariff to be simple -during the day or inside city limits- or double- at night. Also please check your stuff before leaving the taxi.
Food and coffee. They are obliged to offer you water for free. If they offer you a bottle, they have to ask you before that, because you have to pay for it. Offering free water is obligatory in Greece. Also if you don’t like anything, you can change it ONCE. You can ask the waiter and complain gently that this is not what you asked for, and they have to replace it, without further charges.
Tourist traps. Generally ask for the menu and the pricelist before ordering anything. Also consider trip advisor, or google review before your visit at a place. Also when you shop anything, the shop owner is obliged to give you a receipt! Athens today is a really mature destination, loves to serve travellers, but just in case just let’s all be more careful!
Most important: Shopping at public places, moving using metro and buses. Some people steal wallets and mobiles, by following tourists. Please be careful when you enter public means generally, especially if you are a tourist. Be more cautious while walking in crowded streets such as Ermou and near Monastiraki area. Plaka is far more safe (generally), but still you have to hide your precious belongings. Keep it in mind!!!!!
Still you can enjoy some information about Plaka here
Everybody knows that Greeks are Orthodox. Especially in Plaka you may explore a fantastic scenery of sacred monuments, built in 11th century, during Athens’ last period of glory. After that period, Athens was occupied by Latins and Ottomans, till the final liberation of the city in 1828 and its new architectural plan.
No matter where you are at Athens and Plaka, you can easily find a shop offering products and souvenirs, that could be magnificent gifts. Things to wear, to eat, drink, to use. Greeks generally do not invest a lot in their brands internationally- due to the fact that Greek businesses are quite smaller if they are compared to global competition- but there are some brands that you need to find!
Some Plaka Brandnames
Melissions Sandals at Psirri is one of the top selections someone can make while in Athens, is you want something related to leather. Melissinos name can be found in another shop in Athens, that of Olgianna, at Monastiraki.
Ceramic art, the business that created Athenian Hegemony, an art of thousand of centuries lives still in Athens. Tsolias gallery, Doathart and more can guarantee an extraordinary proposal for a gift.
Jewellery? Geoart and Alexis are some of the numerous proposals about that. Who knows? after visiting them you may get any custom idea or design! And of course Pigi and his shop near that of George’s!
There are also clothes, even not handmade, but of Greek design, these offered in Plaka, like Ancient Greek Clothing Store at Kydathineon.
Plaka as a neighbourhood was built onto the ancient paths that existed in Athens, even amo
ng ruins. Moreover, the new Athens plan that was made from foreign architects, young people, just finished their studies at that time, who wanted to builf their fame together with the new capital of Greece, on the ancient “highways”.
These streets are Sacred Way or Iera Odos, that led from Elefsis to Acropolis, Panathineon street, today inside Athens Agora, and of course Plaka streets as Tripodon, Kydathineon, Adrianou. If you notice carefully having your head looking up, you will see Acropolis rock from Patision, Pireos, Kifissias, since all roads were leading to that hill. How about Plaka?
Streets of Plaka were next to ancient ruins, that were built either just after war with neoclassical buildings, either renovated and today they are beautiful buildings, either were abandoned and today you pass by and you ask yourself “why”.. Buildings stand among the ancient walls, next to ancient buildings, a destroyed column is in Philomousou square…. Time is everywhere around in Plaka and plays with its visitor. Time is what a traveller spends and time is what everyone cannot earn…. time is precious and while walking at Plaka’s streets you can definitely realise and move forward… Even if many monuments of Athens do not exist today, in Plaka you can realise a lot of that value.. and feel like Athens european visitors felt 200 years before..
When Emperor Hadrian arrived to Athens, while the city’s Roman period, he was astonished by the city’s beauty and glory. At 131 AD he completed the construction of one of the biggest temples of the antiquity, whose remains we can visit today at the archaeological place of Olympeion.
The modern site is located next to Plaka and Syntagma (500 meters from both) and anyone can realize its past glory and destructions. Made from Pentelic white marble, and with a fallen column in 1852, the temple is unique.
It is said that the temple foundation was directed related to Greeks mythical ancestor, Defkalion, who survived the fllood myth, just like Noah. Athens had no longer king, so the “dictator” or ruler, Pisistratus, tried to finish the temple. Unfortunately, it was proved a really expensive project. However, he solved the water supply problem of Athens, by providing the city water from nearby Immitos mountains. But the same person who completed the temple, solved also that problem. Emperor Hadrian finished the temple but also Athens aqueduct.
Mythodea on June 28st 2001
A concert was organised on that date, June the 28th 2011, related to NASA and the music composer Vangelis. Here is the video from youtube.
Athens global supremacy was founded on the basis of two factors: its olive oil production and exports, and 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.
Everybody knows Athens as the birthplace of democracy, and Plaka as a tourist trap! Well, there are some points in both sentences, but we are here to discover the truth!
So, dear reader, welcome to Plaka and its famous streets, near Monastiraki and Psirri. Here you can find useful information about not only how to spend your time in Athens, but how to make your time as most useful it could ever be in a trip for you!
We have created a website that includes historic information, shops, churches, streets, experiences, and more options, a site that shows Plaka as WE see it.
In Plaka you can feel romantic, young, cosmopolitan, but there is everywhere coffee and food! It is like an island inside the modern city of Athens. Read our articles and send us an email if you need anything!
Many things are told for Athens taxi drivers, and some times is unfortunately the truth. Generally speaking, avoiding troubles while travelling is a must. So regarding taxis today there are many apps you can use in Athens in order to have a safe trip and keep away from trouble.
If you can, download apps to your mobile, and the best is beat.
When you don’t want to use your mobile, if you are at a tourist area, agree on the price of the route with the taxi driver.
If you are at the street, ask the taxi driver to turn on the tariff meter. Also you can check the GPS app that most of the taxis today use.