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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.

 

Are you wondering why Plaka’s streets are considered so important?

They are still connecting Thisseio area (the metro station behind Theseus temple) to Olympian Zeus temple.

They are still there, all ancient walkways that existed thousand of years before.

Around them you can find churches, stones, hills, gates, columns, ruins, neoclassical buildings, galleries, shops, taverns!

You can live history everywhere. You can find anything you may ask in the most fascinating prices. You can bargain (not everywhere). You can find amazing handmade items, street food, drinks, tastes.

Only at the streets of Plaka!

 

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.

Which are the best dates to be there?

March 25th at Ragkavas church

Good Friday at Kydathineon & Saint Aikaterini church

Discovering Plaka’s churches is really magnificent. Check our online google map here. 

Athens has a vast selection of hotels and other accomodation types, such as airbnb apartments, hostels. By checking online each particular website is the best option, so you can choose different options.

But when you want to choose an area, where is better? And are there any special places regarding Plaka? Don’t forget that Athens is a city of 5 million people, so it is quite big.

Downtown Athens 

Athens is separated in central Athens, where Acropolis, Plaka and Psirri are, where the tourist center is.

The center includes Gazi- Kerameikos, Lycabettus-Kolonaki, Exarcheia, Pagrati, Koukaki, even Petralona at the south of Philopappou Hill. All the above areas are a part of Athens centre. 

Northern Athens 

Then northern suberbs, where you can access city centre by Line one or 3. Northern suberbs, as the South ones  are considered better, which makes them more expensive. The south suberbs are located next to the sea, so they are far more prestigious. Northern suburbs are Filothei and Psychiko, Galatsi, Iraklio, Marousi, up to Kifisia.You can get there by metro line 1 (green). Northern suburbs are actually next to Parnitha and Penteli mountains, but you need some time to go up to these mountains. The locals move on these areas a lot.

Eastern Athens 

Eastern suburbs are closer to center, since Hymmetus mountain is closer to Acropolis. These are Byronas, Kaisariani, Cholargos, to the north and Ilioupoli, Argyroupoli, Glyfada to the south. Glyfada is actually considered a south suburb. “Far East” Attica is also where Athens airport is, and there is also access to nice beaches during summer of course.

Western Athens 

Western suburbs are maybe considered less prestigious than the rest of Athens suburbs, but they attract youth and offer  many alternatives for entertainment and nightlife, such as Mpournazi area at Peristeri. To the west of Athens there is also the national highway taking you to Elefsina, Megara, Corinth and Pelopponesus, via Iera Odos, that led to Panathinea street to Acropolis.

Southern Athens

The south could be separated in Faliro, Nea Smirni, and finding Piraeus -where you can pass to Saronikos bay islands. The other side, towards Glyfada that takes you all the coastline way down to Sounio, the southernmost of Attica.

Attica

Eastern Attica, the area behind Hymmetus mountain, where the athens airport is located, offers some choices of tours before your flight. Besides the Aegean sea you can experience one last time before you leave Greece or Athens, you can visit unkwown monuments or have some experiences. Send us your request here.

Kerameikos archaeological area

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.

Psirri is the area between Euripidou, Ermou and Piraeus street at Gazi, having in the middle Kerameikos achaeological area.

Etymology of Psirri area 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 plan on 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…..

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…

Olive trees

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.

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

Lycabettus is one of the 7 hills of Athens, and so unique that you can see him from every part of the city. Mythology tells us that Lycabettus was a rock accidentally  left there from goddess Athena, so the connotation is about its importance for the ancient Athenians. You can walk up there, but you can use a car as well.

The hill is higher than Pnyx and Areopagus, and offers an astonishing view during the sunset.

Everyone wants to explore Parthenon, Acropolis, Olympian Zeus temple, and Greece’s archeological treasures. But Greece is quite known for its Orthodox religion and around the city there are around 40 churches (!!!).

Plaka is a basis of this byzantine legacy buildings, most of them being dated around 11th century, the last period of Byzantine (Roman actually) empire’s glory.

Greek flag at Acropolis

Numerous sights in Athens, but there is a unique group of people that forms a special unit on Greek history. This is Evzones or Presidential Guard.

Their base is located next to the Parliament and they are responsible for the flag that exist on Acropolis, and is connected with stories of Greece’s glorious modern history.

Tsoliades are persons with respect from rest of Greeks, because of their hard training and patience.

Their story is amazing, full of bravery and sacrifices, having only one goal: defending Greece’s ideas.