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Around Acropolis

The tour starts at the temple of Olympian Zeus (6th c. B.C.), one of the largest in antiquity and close by Hadrian’s Arch (131 A.D.), which forms the symbolic entrance to the city.  From there, walking along Dionysou Areopaghitou Street (on the south side of the Acropolis) you pass the ancient Theatre of Dionysos (5th c. B.C.) where most of the works by Sophocles, Euripides, Aeschylos and Aristophanes were performed.  Continuing, you will reach the ruins of the Asklepieion (5th c. B.C.) and the Stoa of Eumenes (2th c. B.C.) and from there the Odeion of Herodes Atticus, which was built in 161 A.D. and is nowadays the venue of the performances of the Athens Festival.
From there you climb up to the sacred rock of the Acropolis, the site of some of the most important masterpieces of worldwide architecture and art, the most renowned of which is the Parthenon temple.  Apart from this, also impressive are the Propylaea, the temple of the Athene Nike and the Erechtheion, while you must not skip a visit to the Museum, located close to the Parthenon.  Moreover, from the rock you have an impressive view of the city.
Only 300m away from the sacred rock of Acropolis stands the impressive new Acropolis Museum, one of the most important contemporary works of architecture in Athens. It is made of steel, glass and concrete and it houses 4,000 priceless finds from the Acropolis monuments that represent its history and function as the most important religious centre of ancient Athens.
Coming down from the Acropolis you arrive at the Areios Pagos, the most ancient law court of the world.  Opposite it is Philopappou Hill, with its beautiful cobbled little roads and the Roman monument by the same name on its top, while close by is the Pnyx, where the citizens of ancient Athens used to assemble and exert their democratic rights. 
Walking farther along the pedestrian road you arrive at the Ancient Agora, which was the commercial, political and religious centre of ancient Athens.  A visit to the archaeological site will give you the opportunity to become acquainted with the workings of Classical Athenian democracy.
From there, via Ermou Street, you arrive at the Kerameikos, the largest cemetery of the ancient city, with impressive tomb sculptures and stelae.  The Iridanos River, sacred in antiquity, runs through the archaeological site. 
However, our tour of enchanting Athens does not restrict itself only to these unique archaeological sites.
 

Around  neighborhoods of the historical centre

The “core” of the historical centre is the Plaka neighborhood (at the eastern side of the Acropolis), which has been inhabited without interruption since antiquity.  When you walk through the narrow labyrinthine streets lined with houses and mansions from the time of the Turkish occupation and the Neoclassical period (19th c.), you will have the impression of travelling with a “time machine”.  You will encounter ancient monuments, such as the Lysikrates Monument, erected by a wealthy donor of theatrical performances, the Roman Agora with the famed “Tower of the Winds” (1st c. B.C.) and Hadrian’s Library (132 A.D.), scores of bigger and smaller churches, true masterpieces of Byzantine art and architecture, as well as remnants of the Ottoman period (Fetihie Mosque, Tzistaraki Mosque, the Turkish Bath near the Tower of the Winds, the Muslim Seminary, et al.).  There are also some interesting museums (Folk Art, Greek Children’s Art, Popular Musical Instruments, Frysira Art Gallery, etc.), lots of picturesque tavernas, cafés, bars, as well as shops selling souvenirs and traditional Greek products.
Continuing from Plaka you arrive at Monastiraki, a characteristic area of “old” Athens, with narrow streets and small buildings where the city’s traditional bazaar (Yousouroum) is held.  Close to it is the Psyrri area, a traditional neighborhood which during the past few years has evolved into one of the most important “centres” of the town’s nightlife, with scores of bars, tavernas, ouzeris, clubs, etc.
However, the “heart” of the historical centre is the traditional commercial neighborhood, with more than 2,500 shops of all kinds, which spreads out over the streets surrounding Ermou Street (the city’s best-known commercial street).  The western “border” of the area is Athinas Street, where the foodstuff commerce is concentrated, reminding one strongly of the Middle East.  Here are situated, among others, the neoclassical mansions of the Town Hall, the Municipal Market (where meat, fish and vegetables are sold) and spacious Kotzias Square.
Within the boundary of Athens’ historical centre also are the picturesque neighborhoods of Makriyianni (close to the Acropolis, where the new Acropolis Museum stands), Ano Petralona, Theseion (where you will find small interesting museums and scores of cafés, bars and restaurants), Kerameikos and Metaxourgeio, as well as the Gazi area, with the former Gas works, which now have been turned into a cultural centre of the Athens municipality (“Technopolis”).
 

Downtown

Syntagma and Omonia are the main central squares of the town;  they are linked by Stadiou Street and Panepistimiou Avenue, along which some of the town’s most beautiful Neoclassical buildings have been erected.  Dominating Syntagma Squareis the Greek Parliament building and in front of it the Monument of the Unknown Soldier, guarded by the Evzones in traditional costume.  From this square starts the beautiful National Garden (40 acres), south of which stands the impressive Zappeion Mansion (1874-1888). From there you can continue towards the Presidential Mansion (1897) and thence to the Panathenaikon (Kallimarmaro) Stadium, where the first Olympic Games in modern history were held (1896).  From there, crossing the Mets neighborhood, the road leads you to the First Cemetery, the oldest one in Athens, basically an outdoor sculpture display with a wealth of wonderful monumental tombstones by some of the most important sculptors of the 19th and 20th centuries.
From Omonia Square starts Patission street, a busy street with interesting buildings, amongst which are the Neoclassical mansions of the Polytechnic School and the National Archaeological Museum, which ranks among the leading museums in the world and hosts rare art treasures from the Neolithic era up to the Roman period.  Close to the museum is the Exarheia area, a charming and very lively neighborhood, traditional a meeting point and home to many students and artists.  From Exarcheia, crossing the Neapoli neighborhood, you can climb the verdant Lycavittos Hill. From its top you have a view of the entire city, all the way to the sea. On the other side of the hill is the Kolonaki neighborhood, whose boundary is Vassilissis Sophias Avenue, one of the most grandiose streets of Athens with beautiful buildings, many museums (Cycladic Art, Benaki, Byzantine and Christian Museum, War Museum, National Gallery) and green areas.  In Kolonaki, which is considered to be the most “aristocratic” area of the centre of Athens, you will find many shops selling expensive brands and high couture, modern restaurants, bars and cafés, while it is worthwhile to take a stroll through the central streets with their art déco, art nouveau and interbellum buildings. 
 

Around suburbs

The southern suburbs, located on the coast of the Saronic Gulf, a recreational and cultural park is being planned, comprising the existing sports facilities.  They offer many opportunities to take a walk along the seaside, while you will also find many beautiful organized and free beaches, large shopping centers and nightclubs (especially during the summer).  In the Maroussi suburb (north of the centre) are the facilities of the Olympic Athletic Centre of Athens, where the majority of the athletic events were held during the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.  Kifissia (north of Maroussi) is also worth a visit, with its beautiful villas and impressive mansions.
Moreover, if you wish to leave the centre behind you, you may visit, amongst others, the neighboring town of Piraeus, Greece’s main port (which nowadays forms one big conglomerate with Athens), the Daphni Monastery (11 km. west), one of the most significant Byzantine monuments of the country (12th c.) with unique mosaics, the Kaisariani Monastery (5 km. east), which was founded in the 2nd century, the temple of Poseidon (5th c. B.C.) on Cape Sounion (58 km. south), following a wonderful route along the coast, the area of the battle of Marathon (490 B.C.) with the Tomb of Marathon, the archaeological sites of Eleusina (23 km. west), of Amphiareion (48 km. northeast), of Vravron (38 km. east) and Ramnous (close to Marathon), as well as the wonderful surrounding mountain massifs of Parnitha, Penteli and Hymettos, all suitable for hiking.
In Athens and the wider Attica area, you will find hotel accommodation of high standard, modern means of transportation, a wide choice of opportunities for shopping, dining and nightlife, good service but above all the hospitality and warmth of its inhabitants.  In a nutshell, Athens is a city that fascinates every visitor, during all seasons.
 

Tour in the Historic Center of Athens

PLAKA
It is the oldest district in Athens (it is also mentioned as "Gods' district") with outstanding scenery. The moment you start walking on its paved narrow lanes you get the feeling that you travel back in time. Nobody knows where the area took its name from. According to the most prevalent opinion, Plaka took its name from a large stone slab that was found in the area near to Aghios Georgios Alexandreias church, next to Dionysus ancient theater. You will be mesmerized by the beauty of the houses with neoclassic colors, the architecture, the well preserved gardens, the elegance and the atmosphere of the whole area. Even Plaka's air is different: Softer, clearer and full of scents, like a gift from gods. If you decide to walk around the area, make sure you have a map, because Plaka is like a labyrinth and you will probably get lost in its lanes. You will find souvenir shops in the central street of the district Adrianos Str., as well as in other streets.
Sightseeing:
Filomousos Eteria Square. The central square of the area that took its name from Filomousos Eteria (Association of Muses’ Friends - Muses where the 9 goddesses of Arts) and was constructed in 1813. The aim of this Association was to promote Greek Studies and preserve Athens archeological treasures. The square is located in the intersection of Kydathinaeon, Farmaki, Olympian Zeus and Aggelos Gerontas streets and is full of coffee houses, restaurants and clubs with live music. There are also many souvenir shops.
Children Museum. It is located in Kydathinaeon Str. and is a children paradise. In the attic you can visit its renovated room full of old furniture, a radio and an old Athenian house stove. It is called the “grandfather's and grandmother's room" and the children visiting it can try on some old traditional costumes. There is also a gallery of children paintings and old toys, a playground, a library etc. If you have children, you should not miss visiting this museum. It is also worth to visit the neighboring Museum of Greek Children Art (9 Kodrou Str.), where apart from some educational events that the museum organizes, paintings and constructions of children aged 4-14 from all over Greece are exhibited. These paintings are often replaced with new ones.
Lysicrates Museum. In ancient Athens, all theater performances organized in Dionysus Theater, were subsidized by wealthy citizens who were called chorigoi (or sponsors). The sponsor of the best performance was awarded with a prize. When Lysicrates, a wealthy man, won this prize (334 B.C.), he decided to construct a monument to house his prize. This monument is still preserved (located in ancient Tripodes Str., and its paving is preserved in a room of a renovated building number 28). The monument's construction was just the beginning of a long lasting history of this creation. In 1658, Cappuccinos monastery was built there and in 1669 the monument was bought by Cappuccinos. Lord Byron stayed in this monastery during his second visit to Greece, while tomatoes were first planted in its garden.
Anafiotika. It is a beautiful island village on the foot of Acropolis Rock! It was constructed in the middle of the 19th century, when builders came to Athens from the Aegean island of Anafi. These builders were considered as the best in their art and came to Athens to construct the Palace of the first King of Greece, Othonas. Knowing that they would have to spend few years away from home and feeling nostalgic, they decided to reconstruct their village on the highest area of Plaka. So they built small white houses, with the same architectural style as the ones in their village. Anafiotika, which means the neighborhood of Anafiotes (people from Anafi), is a unique and beautiful must see area.
Athens University Museum: This building in Tholos Str. initially was the house of architect Kleanthis (1832-1833) and afterwards it housed Athens first University (1837-1842). Nowadays, it houses Athens University Museum.
Kanellopoulos Museum: It was built in 1976, after the donation of Pavlos and Alexandra Kanellopoulos private collection to the Greek State. It is housed in the neoclassic house of Michalea family. Kanellopoulos collection includes archeological findings and works of art dating back to the prehistoric period until now.
Roman Agora 
Byzantine Churches 
Buildings of Ottoman Occupation Period
Monastiraki
One of the most typical areas in “old” Athens full of narrow lanes and small buildings, representing the Ottoman and Byzantine influence on the city. In the open-air stands and in the small shops, located on central streets (Andrianou, Ifaestou, Theseiou, Aghios Fillipos, Astiggos and Ermou), you can buy everything: shoes, clothes, old and new furniture, old books and magazines, souvenirs, jewelry, hats, bronze items, new and second hand records and cd’s, traditional Greek music instruments (bouzouki, cymbal etc). Shopping or just walking around Monastiraki is an amazing experience you do not want to miss. You will be amazed by the quality and quantity of products and you will definitely be tempted to buy something.
Sightseeing:
Monastiraki Square. A historic square, where you can seeTzistaraki Mosque, Andrianos Library and Pantanassas Byzantine Church. Very interesting is also the reconstructed neoclassic metro station, one of the network’s oldest (1895). Next to it is a specially constructed area (300 sq. m) that houses Ancient Iridanos River bed.
Avissinia Square (Giousouroum). It is Monastiraki's central square. Here you can find literally everything: rare antique furniture or antique models as well as every kind of second hand items. You can also find old closets, bookshelves, frames, mirrors, secretaires, tables, gramophone records and music instruments. If you want to buy something it is better to visit these markets early in the morning. If you just want to walk around the area, noon is the perfect time of the day. You can also have a glass of Greek wine or Ouzo, accompanied with Greek mezes (Greek tapas), in one of the small restaurants of the square.
Andrianos Str. A typical Athens street, extending from Andrianos Library to “Theseion” metro station. The neoclassic one or two storey buildings house antique shops and shops with traditional items, while on Sunday many outdoor dealers gather to sell their products. There are also many coffee houses and small beautiful restaurants with unique view of Ancient Agora archeological site.

THE TRADITIONAL SHOPPING CENTER

It is the area between Metropoleos, Athina and Stadiou Streets and is considered to be the “heart” of Athens, the historic center as well as its traditional shopping center. On its narrow or wide labyrinthine streets you can find more than 2.500 shops which sell different kind of products. At the same time because many of its streets have been turned into pedestrian areas it is a very quiet place with many coffee houses, small bars and modern restaurants.
Sightseeing:
Mitropoleos Street. It connects Syntagma Square with  Monastiraki Square and is of neoclassic style. Mitropoleos Square, where Athens Metropolitan Church dominates, is ideal for relaxing in its coffee houses while on the scenic Dimopratiriou Square you can also find many taverns with traditional Greek food.
Ermou Street. It took its name from Hermes - god of trade - and is one of the first streets designed by Kleanthis and Schaubert. It was considered to be women fashion center for more than 60 years (from the end of 19th century until the beginning of the 1960's). Nowadays, it is still one of the best spots for shopping. The shops in Lekka street, between Perikleous and Kolokotroni streets, as well as the nearby arcades have a great variety of silver items: candlesticks, bowls, vases and jewels. Many of these are Greek handmade artworks. There are also many low cost cloth and shoe shops in the scenic Evaggelistria and Aghios Markos streets. The first part of Ermou street (from Syntagma Square to Athena Street) dominates Kapnikarea Byzantine Church , while in its last part (from Theseion to Piraeus Street) dominates Kerameikos archeological site.
Athena Street. A central commercial street, which connects Omonia Square to Monastiraki Square, was one of the first streets constructed in modern Athens. Most of the day, it is a very busy place as it has a great food market. During working hours it is full of people and the smell of food, fruits, spices and dry cones is spread out everywhere, representing the charm of Eastern bazaars. Constructed on the foot of Acropolis Rock, it includes many remarkable architectural monuments of the 19th and of the first decades of 20th century. The last few years it has become the center of conjectural events, since there are more than ten art venues around the area.
Athens City Hall (63 Athenas Str.): It was built in 1874 and is of strict neoclassic style. Initially, it was a two storey building but in 1937 due to Municipality needs one more level was added causing the alteration of its original structural elements. Its interior is decorated with paintings of remarkable Greek painters of the 19th century. You can also see frescos of mythological and historic depictions (1937-1940), created by F. Kontoglou, while in the City Council room there is a huge oil fresco (1877) that depicts Apostle Pavlos teaching Christianity to Athenians. In the reception room (1st floor) there are small figures of all mayors made of terra cotta. Close to the City Hall is the small Theater Square.
Kotzia Square (National Resistance): It is located in front of the City Hall and it was formerly known as People’s Square or Ludwich Square. In its south side dominates Melas Mansion (created by E. Ziller in 1887), with an impressive facade and two prominent towers on each corner. Its central room is covered by a glass roof and has perimetric arched rows of Doric and Ionic style. Initially, this building was B. Melas house but nowadays is the Cultural Center of the National Bank of Greece. On the east side of the square is the G. Stavros Mansion of cinquecento style, which now houses the offices of the National Bank of Greece. On its NE side archeologists found part of Acharniki Gate of Themistokleio Walls which is now exhibited in a specially constructed area.
Varvakeios Public (Central) Market: A rectangular building (1886) with a huge covered yard. In its interior and exterior parts there are overall 73 food shops (meat market, fish market, vegetables market and groceries). It is covered by glass and metallic roof and the sunlight comes from symmetrical windows built on roof. Inside the market you can also find small restaurants with fresh food, which gather many Athenians especially after midnight. There is a small grove opposite Varvakeios.
Euripides Str.: A beautiful street, that reminds you countries of the East and extends from Kounoundourou Square to Kafthmonos Square. Alongside, there are many shops with spices, pastries, dry cones and coffee. Some of these shops sell products brought from the East.
Aeolou Str. It is partially pedestrian and extends from Panepistimiou Str. to Roman Agora (Plaka). In its intersection with Sofokleous Str. is the recently-constructed Administration Building of the National Bank of Greece (2002), one of the most important buildings of modern architecture in Athens. It was designed by Greek architects under the directory of famous architect M. Botta. In its ground floor you can see a restored part of ancient Acharniki Str. In 10 Sofokleous Str. is the Athens Stock Exchange building with a classic facade (you can also see four Doric style columns). On your way to Plaka you will see two beautiful churches: Panagia Chrisospiliotissa (1863-on the corner of the homonym street) and Aghia Irini (1847-Athenaidos Str.), both designed by L. Laftantzoglou. A small square with coffee houses and flower shops surround Aghia Irini, which was modern Athens' first Metropolitan Church.
Stadiou Str. A central street. One of the first streets constructed in modern Athens. It was first constructed on the bed of an ancient river, but when it started taking the form of a street it was called Feidiou Str. and some years after Akakion Str. Its present name came from the fact that initially it was designed to reach Panathinaiko Stadium. This plan was never implemented.
National Printing –House Building: It is located between Santarosa and Arsaki Streets and is one of the first public buildings constructed in modern Athens (1834). It is of strict neoclassic style and until 1905 it housed the “National Printing – House”.
Kafthmonos Square: A spacious square with many remarkable buildings (Athens City Museum, former Naval Ministry building, Foreign Affairs Ministry Building, Aghioi Theodoroi Byzantine Church,etc) and many coffee houses. In its center stands an impressionistic bronze statue that symbolizes “National Reconciliation” created by B. Doropoulos in 1988.
“Atticon-Apollon” Building: An impressive mansion that houses two of the oldest cinema halls in Athens that were recently renovated.
Karitsi Square: A small square that took its name from the church, built the middle of it. This elegant church (designed by L. Kaytantzoglou) was built on the ruins of an older church, where in January 1833 Athenians chose an assembly to be sent to Nafplio to welcome the newly arrived King Othona. On the opposite side is the neoclassic building of “Parnassos”.
O.T.E Mansion: It is an excellent sample of Athenian modernism, with elements of older architectural styles. It was designed by the remarkable Greek architect An. Metaksa (1931).
Kolokotroni Square: A small square located in front of National History Museum. In its middle is the impressive bronze equestrian statue of our national hero Th. Kolokotronis. On the opposite side (8 Stadiou Str.) is Douila house, one of the oldest buildings in modern Athens, designed by Chr. Hansen, which unfortunately nowadays is abandoned.
National History Museum. This impressive neoclassic building was constructed during 1858 to 1871 according to the designs of Fr. Boulanger, which was later modified by the Greek architect P. Kalko. Until 1935 the building housed the Greek Parliament and that is why it is called Palia Vouli (Former Parliament). Since 1961 it has been housing collections of National Historic Museum (for the Museum’s collections ).
 

PSIRI

A scenic neoclassic Athenian neighborhood, located between Athenas, Ermou and Euripides streets. It is a very busy area especially during night. In its narrow lanes there are many coffee houses, small bars, clubs, restaurants, taverns with live Greek music, theaters, galleries, art venues and antique shops.
After the liberation (1833), many veterans and emigrants came here from the provinces, and created small workshops, industries that in some extent exist until today. In the beginning of the 90’s series of interventions in the area made it as one of the most popular entertainment and residential districts. Very remarkable are also the area churches, such as Aghioi Anargiroi, Aghios Dimitrios, Aghios Grigorios (Armenian Church) etc. The central spot (from where you can start your tour) is Iroon Square.
 

KERAMEIKOS

Kerameikos area surrounds the homonym archeological site . Typical area streets are Aghion Asomaton (where the Islamic Art Museum is, Melidoni Str. (where Beth-Shalom Hebrew synagogue and “Modern Ceramics Museum” are) and Salamina Str. The last few years this area has been elevated as a vivid night life spot, with many small restaurants, bars and places with live music.

GKAZI

This area surrounds the old Gkazi (gas) Factory and its former name was Gkazochory (Gas Village). It is located in the west side of Athens and possesses the place of the third square according to Kleanthis-Schaubert design. It still preserves some of the traditional Athenian neighborhood’s style. Its old neoclassic buildings house coffee houses, bars and luxurious restaurants, which became very popular with the Athenians the last few years.
Sightseeing:
The Gas Factory (Gkazi). It was built in 1857 and worked as factory until 1983, supplying gas to the city. There were also many wood factories, foundries, machine factories, garages, restaurants, barber shops, surgeries, etc in the area, creating an autonomous industrial “town”. The factory has been announced as preserved, as it is one of its kind in Europe. The buildings have a simple neoclassic stone architecture, coated facets and wooden roofs with attic windows and are covered with Byzantine or French tiles and iron plates. Nowadays, it is an industrial park and is also used as cultural center by Athens Municipality (“Technopolis”).

METAXOURGEIO

It is a traditional district of Athens' city center, constructed by the architect Chr. Hansen. it took its name from the silk textiles factory (Metaxi), which operated in the area until 1875 (the factory is still preserved in Gr. Alexander Str., between Mileros and Giatrakos Streets). Achileos Str. divides the area into two parts, the old one (towards Piraeus Str.) and the new one (towards Lenorman Str.). The new part has lost its initial style due to reconstructions, while the old one still keeps samples of its old architecture. Many small coffee houses and restaurants are located in Metaxourgeio area, offering traditional Eastern beverages, pastries and food.
Sightseeing:
Marmarini Krini (Marble Faucet). It is in Metaxourgeio Square and dates back to the 19th century. It was transferred there from Dimoprateiou Square.
Iasonos and Giatrakou Streets. From Karaiskaki Square go down Achileos Str., enter Iasonos Str. until Agisilaos Str. where the small theaters housing in traditional buildings of the area are located. Then turn right to Akadimiou-Giatrakou Str. and continue towards Achileos Str. Pay attention to the small neoclassic houses (one or two storey) with their baluster balconies and the fine front doors. In the intersection of Giatrakou and Germanikou Streets there is a small, scenic square (Avdi Square) with many coffee houses, bars and a playground.
Peloponnese Train Station. Walking down Diligianni Str. from Karaiskaki Square you reach this particularly atmospheric building, built in 1912-1913 with a mixture of neoclassic, central European and Art Nouveau architectural elements. This station (which serves trains traveling up to Peloponnese) is a "miniature" of Constantinople Station and has 19th century European architecture elements. On its opposite side (connected with an airlift) is Larissis Railway Station (its trains travel to central and north Greece), built in 1908 initially of neoclassic style, which underwent many alterations.

KOLONOS

If you like walking around, you can visit Kolonos area, a folk Athenian neighborhood outside its historic center. Even though it is not of any particular architecture style, it has unique image and still preserves its old atmosphere. From Peloponnese train station follow Ioanninon Str., which leads to Ippios Kolonos Hill and then (turning to Evripou Str.) to Skouze Hill. Around these small lush green hills, there is a zone of private houses with gardens as well as beautiful blocks of flats which pass the feeling of old Athenian neighborhoods to our days (nearby metro station is “Sepolia”).

MAKRIGIANNI

A residential area which extends from Dionisiou Aeropagitou Str. up to the foot of Filopappou Hill. Its neoclassic houses as well as more modern houses (after war constructions) give to the area unique beauty and make it one of the most beautiful districts in Athens. Mitsaeon, Parthenonos, Webster, Kavalloti, Kallisperi, R. Gkali, Mouson and other streets have typical for the area features.
Sightseeing:
Acropolis Research Center (2-4 Makrigianni Str.). This impressive building, which combines in its exterior elements of Byzantine stone construction and neoclassic decorations, was constructed in 1834 by the German architect W. von Weiller. Initially, it was a military hospital and afterwards it became police squads’ center. Since 1987 it has been housing the “Acropolis Research Center”. The New Acropolis Museum is constructed next to it.

KOUKAKI

It is the extension of Makrigianni area and has unique charm especially in the part adjacent to Filopappos Hill (Panaetoliou and Arakynthou Streets).

ANO PETRALONA

A scenic neighborhood of unique style of the 50's. There are enough examples of folk urban architecture houses, with one or two storey buildings, still preserved here.
Sightseeing:
Dora Stratou Theater. It is located on the west side of the hill (ancient Kili). Here you can watch Greek folk dance performances from Dora Stratou dance group. Dora Stratou was a woman who dedicated her life to studying and preserving Greek folklore culture. The dance group has participated in many festivals around the world and is of national and international recognition. The dancers wear traditional Greek costumes from different areas of Greece and sing songs from all periods of Greek history.
Merkouri Square. Scenic square with small coffee houses and traditional taverns.
The stone houses. Around Aginoros and Troon Streets develops a small and beautiful neighborhood with stone houses (post war period), which look like mountain houses in the center of Athens!

THESEION.

It was named after a neighboring ancient temple . It is a traditional district with many neoclassic houses and public mansions, which gives it unique charm. From the homonym square (in Apostolos Pavlos Square), which is full of coffee houses, you have an amazing view of Acropolis and Ancient Agora’s area.
Sightseeing:
Heraklidon Street. It is the central pedestrian street of the area, with impressive neoclassic buildings. In this street, as in its parallel Akamados Street, there are many coffee houses and bars that stay open all day. In Eptachalkou Str. you can also find many traditional taverns with Mediterranean food.
D. Aeginitou Str. It connects Apostolos Pavlos Str. with the National Observatory. From there you can have unique view of Acropolis, Lycabetus Hill, Ancient Agora and other parts of Athens.
National Observatory. It is the oldest research institution in Greece and the Balkans, as it was built in 1842. The Observatory’s building, on top of Nympheon Hill (it took its name from the homonym sanctuary which was there) and opposite Acropolis and Ancient Agora, was designed by Th. Hansen and is a neoclassic building of rare beauty. It has cross-in-square style and is positioned towards the four points of the horizon.
Aghia Marina Square. A scenic and quiet square, in the center of which dominates the homonym church (19th century). In its SW corner is the initial church, carved in rock, with prominent, later dome and remarkable frescos of the 13th century.
Theseion Park. It is the SW part of Ancient Agora’s archeological site. Trees were planted there in 1862 and in 1931 the Municipality added beautifying plants. For many years it was the gathering spot of Athenians for Easter celebrations.
Hat-Factory (66 Herakleidon Str.). A remarkable industrial building made of stone and covered with tiled roof. It was a hat-factory for many years and nowadays it is a preserved monument. Nowadays, it operates as a venue for many activities (“Melina Merkouri” Cultural Center).

Travelling through History at the Center of Athens

If you do not have enough time to visit all sites, this route (around 3.5 km) will take you to the most remarkable sites in Athens. A walk where you will see classic ancient times and all other historic periods, the architectural evolution and all phases of the city development until the 21st century (classic period, Romaic period, Byzantine, Ottoman occupation, neo classic times and 20th century). In reality, it is a journey through history itself, an activity that only Athens can offer…
ACROPOLIS 
HERODUS ATTICUS ODEON 
PLAKA 
BYZANTINE ATHENS 
OTTOMAN OCCUPATION PERIOD 
SYNTAGMA SQUARE
Vassilissis Sofias Avenue
One of the most impressive avenues in Athens, starting from Syntagma Square and ending up in Abelokipous area. Its former name was Kifissias, because it connected Athens with the traditional homonym suburb. Even though it has lost part of its character as a classic avenue, it is still one of the most charming routes in the city, as along its way there are many beautiful buildings, museums and lush green areas.
Sightseeing (from Syntagma Square to Abelokipous area):
Building of Foreign Affairs Ministry (5 Vassilissis Sofias). Designed by E. Ziller (1872-1873), it belonged to Syggrou family until 1921. Then it was legated to the Greek Government. This neo classic mansion has been announced as work of art, and houses Ministry’s central services. In 1985 it was annexed to a new building, which is located in Zalokostas Str.
French Embassy (Psicha Mansion). An impressive three storey building located at the corner of Akadimia Str. It was built in 1894 by An. Metaksa for Psicha family. It is a remarkable building, which combines modernistic decoration with neo classic style.
Italian Embassy. House of Prince Nikolaos until the first exile of the royal family in 1917. It was then turned into a luxurious hotel (“Le Petit Palais”) and later it was bought by the Italian Government in order to house its embassy.
National Garden
 
Benaki Museum (1 Koubari Str.). It is one of the most impressive neoclassic mansions of Athens, built successively from 1910 to 1931 (designs of An. Metaksas) as house of Ant. Benaki. Since 1931 it has been housing Museum exhibits
Sarogleios Mansion (Officers’ Club). An impressive building of beaux arts style, built in 1928 on Rigilli Square (P. Mela). It was designed by architect Al. Nikoloudis.
Stathatos Mansion. An impressive neoclassic mansion (in Herodotus Str. Corner), designed in 1885 by E. Ziller. Since 1991 it has been the new wing of Cycladic and Ancient Greek Arts Goulandri Museum with which is connected by a glass corridor.
Byzantine and Christian Museum. The museum’s core is "Villa Ilissia" (1848) of neo cinquecento style, built in the banks of Ilissos River that existed at that period. It was the winter resort of S. de Marbois-Lebrum, known also as “Duchess of Plakentia”. The villa was constructed by architect St. Kleanthi (also known as Chr. Hansen). After Duchess’s death (1854), the mansion was sold to the Greek Government. Since 1930 it has been housing the museum, which has been expanded by two new wings in 1952 and in 1994 (because of the exhibits).
Museum of War. A modern building (designed by Th. Valenti), which was inaugurated in 1975.
British Ambassador’s House. It is located at the corner of Loukianos Str. It was built between 1930-1932 (designed by An. Metaksas), as El. Venizelos house, who then was the prime minister. After his death, it was given to the British Government and until 1960 housed Athens British Embassy. After constructing the embassy next to it, today it is the ambassador’s residence.
Aghios Nikolaos and Aghios Georgios. Small churches of cross-in-square type with four columns, representative examples of church architecture of late 19th century. Aghios Nikolaos (built in 1876-next to British Embassy) is of neo Byzantine style, while Aghios Georgios is a combination of Byzantine, classic and Romanic architectural elements.
“Evangelismos" Hospital (old building). A neoclassic building (designed by G. Metaksas), which was renovated in 1880 by Queen Olga. Few years later the homonym garden of English style was created.
Megali tou Genous Scholi Square. A small square, located in the intersection of Vassilissis Sofias and Vassilias Konstantinos Avenues. In the middle of the square stands the impressionistic sculpture of “Dromeas” or “Runner” (created in 1988, by K. Varotsos), which is created from glass pieces. On the opposite side stands "Hilton" hotel (1958-1963) of vigorous international modernistic style (many coffee houses, bars and small restaurants are located around on Ventiri, Meksi and other streets). Two amazing art nouveau block of flats dating back to the middle war period are located on the other side of the square (at the intersection with I. Gennadios Str.). Next to “Hilton” hotel is the building of National Gallery- Alexandros Soutsos Museum , which was constructed in the period of 1966-1975 and was influenced by the brutal architectural style of Le Corbusier. Rizari Park, one of the first parks in Athens, is also located on the opposite side of "Hilton" hotel.
Eleftheria Park. It is a lush green area, which surrounds El. Venizelos Statue (sculptured by G. Pappas). Three stone buildings are located in its back side, which now house the Art Center of Athens Municipality and "El. Venizelos" Museum. Opposite the park, stands a frugal neoclassic complex of three hospitals (“Aeginitio”, “Aretaeio” and “Alexandra”).
Athens Concert Hall: A monumental building designed by M. Voureka, constructed in the period of 1973-1991. It is considered to be one of the best and most integrated music halls in the world. It has concert and opera halls, music library, conference hall, halls of multi purposes etc. During winter season it organizes music concerts, opera, theater, dancing performances and other high quality events.
American Embassy. One of the most outstanding examples of modern architecture in Greece (1959-1961), designed by the famous architect W. Gropius.
Mavili Square. One of the most “vivid” squares in Athens, with lots of coffee houses, bars and restaurants that gather people all day long. It is the perfect spot to find a house, since it is close to Lycabetus Hill and the central avenues of Vassilissis Sofias and Alexandras. The last few years, however, it has lost part of its charm because of the very busy roads.
Ippokrateio Hospital. A preserved public building constructed during the 1880’s, is of neoclassic style and operates as a hospital since 1912. Next to it you can see Aghios Andreas Chapel (17th century).
Athens Tower. The first glass skyscraper in Athens (1971-1973), one of the few that were finally built in the frames of the great city planning complex of the capital. It is a two building complex with 12 levels and 25m in height. It mainly houses company offices. Right in front of it there is a preserved small villa with garden, as a memory of the old rural nature of Abelokipoi area that lasted until the 1920's.

On Foot - Byzantine Athens

11th and 12th centuries are considered the golden ages of Athenian Byzantine art. Almost all popular and remarkable Byzantine churches in the city were built during these two centuries and owe their existence to the Christian restoration that followed the crusade of Emperor Vassilios the 2nd in the Balkans. Some of the most known monasteries in the Athenian suburbs were also built in the same period.
Sightseeing:
Palaia Mitropoli (Old Metropolitan) (Mitropoli Square). This beautiful church is located near new Metropolitan. It was built in the end of 12th century in honor of Panagia Gorgoepikoo and Aghios Eleftherios. For its construction many ancient and Byzantine bas-reliefs were used. On its front there is an ancient frieze that comes from a monument dating back to the 4th century and revives the formal Attica celebrations. It became the orthodox Episcopal center of Athens, when all bishops were chased away from Parthenon, firstly by the Franks and later by the Turks, while from 1839 until 1842 it housed a library. The neighboring new Metropolitan was built between 1842 and 1862 as Athens Cathedral. It is a three aisled domed basilica that combines neo Byzantine and neo classic elements.
Kapnikarea (Ermou Str). A Byzantine domed church of cross-in-square type, dedicated to Presentation of the Virgin. The first building that was built dates back to the 11th century, but the church was finalized in the 13th century. It was named by many different names such as: Kamouchareas, Chrisokamouchariotissa, Panagia Bassilopoula, Panagia of Penza (Prince). In 1834, the year when Ermou Str. was constructed, the possibiloity of its transfer to another location or even its demolishing was studies, because it was in the middle of Ermou Str. It was saved however, thanks to Louis of Bavaria, father of king Othonas, and to Neofitos Metaksas, who was bishop of Talantio and metropolitan bishop of Athens.
Aghios Nikolaos Ragkavas (Plaka). It is located close to Anafiotika area in Plaka. This church was built in the 11th century and was part of Ragkava family Palace. Member of this family was Michael the 1st, emperor of Byzantium. The church took its name from the area, which at that time was called Ragkavas.
Aghia Ekaterini (Plaka). It is close to Lysicrates Monument , in the middle of the homonym square, under the shadow of a palm tree. Its construction dates back to the 11th – 12th century. Some Romaic monument ruins are still located on the corner of the square.
Aghios Ioannis Theologos (Plaka). It is a very beautiful cross-in-square church of the 11th-12th century, at the intersection of Erotocritos and Erechtheos Streets. So far it has been through many alterations and extensions.
Sotiras of Kotaki (Plaka). It is better known as Aghia Sotira. This church is in Kydathinaeon Str. right opposite of the Museum of Greek Folk Art. It was built in the 11th-12th century and has been through many later alterations and extensions.
Metochi Panagiou Tafou (Anafiotika). You can find it in Erechtheos Str. It is a small monastery that belongs to Jerusalem Holy Grave. The monastery's church is called Aghioi Anargiroi and dates back to the 17th century.
Panagia Chrisokastriotissa (Anafiotika). One of the many churches situated in Anafiotika. According to tradition, its miraculous icon protects the believers in their difficult times.
Sotira Lykodimus-Russian Church (Filellinon Str.) It is a large medieval building of Athens. It was built in 1031, as part of the Romaic catholic monastery that was preserved until 1701. In the 1850’s, the building was restored by Tsar Alexander the 2nd, who also donated the bell tower. Nowadays, it is Athens Russian Orthodox Church.
Aghioi Apostoloi of Solakis (Ancient Agora). This church is located inside the excavation area of Ancient Agora. It is one of the oldest churches of Athens (1000-1025 A.D.) and was built on the ruins of a Romaic nymphaeum of the 2nd century. During the 50’s and after its restoration, it took again its initiative form. Many Post Byzantine frescos that were found in other demolished churches were transferred to Aghioi Apostoloi.
Pantanassa> (Monastiraki Square). This three aisled basilica of the 10th century belonged to the monastery Koimisis tis Theotokou (Assumption of the Virgin Mary), from which the whole area took its name. Before that it was monastery dependency of Kaisariani monastery.
Aghios Dimitrios Loubardiaris (Filopappos Hill). It is a very beautiful church of the 16th century with remarkable frescos. According to tradition, it took its name (Loubardiaris or Bombardiaris) by an incident that happened in the 17th century when Aghios Dimitrios protected the believers from big cannon (Loubarda).
Aghioi Asomatoi (Theseion). A church of cross-in-square type, built in the 11th century. It is built with carved stone courses, framed with tiles, while in some of its parts you can also see the Islamic influence.
Aghios Ioannis stin Kolona (Column) (Euripides Str.) This small chapel of the 12th century took its strange name from the Romaic column that stands in the middle. Saint John Baptist is considered as the healer of all head diseases. Visitors can see all the offerings that believers give to the Saint, as a way to show their gratitude for helping them.
Aghioi Theodoroi (Kafthmonos Square). This church was reconstructed in the second half of the 11th century, on the foundations of an older church (9th century). It was built by N. Kalomao, who had the rank of Spantharokandidatos (a position of the Byzantine Aristocracy).
Taksiarches (church of Petrakis Monastery )– 14 Gennadiou Str.). This church belongs to Petrakis Monasteri (18th century), but it was probably built in the 12th century. Its interior is full of frescos dating back to 1719. Aghioi Isidoroi (Lycabetus Hill). It is a tiny church hidded in a cave in the middle of Lycabetus Hill. Its former name was Aghios Sidereas church. It was burnt in 1930 and reconstructed in 1931.
Aghios Georgios (Lycabetus Hill). This is a white church standing on top of Lycabetus Hill. You can go there on foot or by funicular railway. It is believed that during ancient times the temple of Akreos Zeus was standing there. During the Frank occupation the small chapel of Prophet Ilias took the place of the temple and was later replaced with Aghios Georgios Kavallaris. Nobody knows its accurate date of construction. The bell was donated by Queen Olga, who found the church in a deserted state and decided to reconstruct it.

On Foot - Period of Ottoman Occupation

Athens was conquered in 1456 by Ottomans and was liberated in March 1833. The buildings constructed during that period are of particular interest.
Sightseeing:
Mosques. Tzistarakis Mosque (or Kato Sintrivaniou Mosque) dominates in Monastiraki Square. It was built in 1759 by the Turkish voivode (local governor) Mustafa Aga (or Tzistarakis). Tzistarakis demolished the 17th column of Olympian Zeus Temple to supply his workers with whitewash. It has loggia with four columns and two rows of four windows in each side. Since 1981 it has been operating as Museum of Traditional Ceramics. It is the only mosque in Athens that people can visit. Next to Roman Agora is the impressive Fethiye Mosque, built (1458) in honor of Mohamed the Conqueror when he visited Athens.
Turkish Bath. The Old Turkish Baths (Hamam Abit Efenti) are situated in Plaka (8 Kiristou Str.). They were built in the 17th century and constituted a spot for developing social life during Ottoman Occupation. The Turkish Baths have been reconstructed and now operate as Museum with the theme body cleaning and toilette.
Muslim Seminary. The gate of Muslim Seminary, part of which was destroyed after a fire in 1911, is preserved at the corner of Aeolou and Pelopida Streets. According to an inscription on the Seminary’s entrance, it was built in 1721 and consisted of the central building operating as school and mosque, residential area of students and teachers (hodja), a kitchen and the central yard.

On Foot - Kolonaki-Riggilis Area-Mets

KOLONAKI
It is located in the central part of the city as it extends from Syntagma Square and Vassilissis Sofias Avenue to Lycabetus Hill foot. It took its name from the old column (kolonaki) which stands in the middle of the homonym square. Until the 1880’s it was a sparsely inhabited area with only few houses. It has lots of green areas and beautiful architecture with dominating neoclassic and modernistic buildings of high standards that give it an aristocratic character. It is considered to be the “aristocratic” district of Athens with many expensive shops, popular coffee houses, busy modern bars and luxurious restaurants. Some streets worth to walk on are Patriarchou Ioakim, Tsakalof, Anagnostopoulou, Milioni, Fokilidou, Karneadou, Loukianou, Ploutarchou, Charitos, Spefsipou, the ring-road of Lycabetus Hill etc.
Sightseeing:
Kolonaki Square (Filikis Eterias). One of the must things that you have to do in Athens is to drink coffee in one of the coffee places in Kolonaki. Spending time in one of the square coffee places, drinking, eating and chatting, is a must to do for every modern Athenian as well as foreign visitor.
Deksameni Square. It is a small square where locals spend their time. The traditional coffee house of the square is very popular with Athenians and other visitors, and once was a meeting point for many intellectuals of the 20th century. There is also an old water reservoir and a summer cinema.
Skoufa Street A central street of Kolonaki with many neoclassic and art deco buildings. Until you reach Delfon Str. you will see many shops and modern coffee houses.
Aghios Dionisios (Skoufa Str.). This impressive church was built in the beginning of the 1930’s on the ruins of another church. Its exterior is of cinquecento style while its interior has been decorated in Byzantine style. Aghios Dionisios Aeropagitis, one of the first Athenian Christians, is the patron saint of Athens.
Lycabetus Square. It is located behind Aghios Dionisios Church (in the intersection of Lycabetus and Anagnostopoulou Streets). Dragoumi Mansion (1925), which in the past housed Brazilian Embassy and today is a private residence, dominates in the square.
Marasleio. It is a very impressive neoclassic building (in the intersection of Marasli and Spefsipou Streets) designed by architect D. Kallia (1905) and houses the educational foundation “Marasleio Elementary School".
Voukourestiou Street. A typical Athenian street, which begins from Lycabetus Hill foot and ends up in Syntagma Square. In its pedestrian part (from Akadimias Str. to Panepistimiou Str.) there are numerous beautiful coffee places and bars that gather many Athenians.
Taxiarches (the church of Petraki Monastery – Kolonaki)..
Gennadios Library. An impressive building of classic style, inaugurated in 1926 to house a collection of books (overall 26.000 volumes) donated to Athens American School of Classic Studies by I. Gennadios. In 1960 this building was extended and a large garden with rich vegetation was planted around it (for the collections and the books of the library.
Shopping in Kolonaki. Some of the most modern boutiques in town known for products such as haut couture clothes of Greek and foreign designers, shoes and leather apparels, accessories, toys, antique furniture, jewels, items for the house etc are situated here. In Voukourestiou Str. and other streets around Syntagma Square you will find Greek jewelers of worldwide reputation, book stores that expertise in foreign publication, as well as remarkable galleries which host art works of Greek painters and sculptures.

Syntagma Square

It is Athens’ central square. It took its name from the event of the 3rd of September 1843, when in the area in front of the Palace (today's Parliament), the people and the garrison of Athens rebelled asking King Othonas to establish a Constitution. Syntagma Square and Omonia Square are the two reference points of the city. So do not be surprised when hearing the word Syntagma every time you ask for directions. Plaka, Acropolis, the Metropolitan Church, the National Garden, Ermou Str. and Kolonaki are all close to Syntagma Square. Some of the most modern coffee houses and small restaurants are located in this area. This square never sleeps. In square's kiosks you can find everything you need, from aspirins to souvenirs as well as newspapers and foreign magazines.
Sightseeing:
 
The Parliament. It dominates in Syntagma Square. It was built as the Palace of Othonas, the first king of Greece. Its construction lasted from 1836 until 1842. The second king, Georgios the 1st also stayed in this Palace. During his reign, two massive fires destroyed the building in such extent that it was inappropriate for royal use. The government of 1924 was the one that decided the Greek Parliament should be housed there. The reconstruction works were finished in 1934 and its interior was designed by the architect A. Kriezi. The Parliament houses national treasures such as the first Constitution of Greece and many valuable paintings. It is also worth to visit its great library.
 
Monument to the Unknown Soldier. It was built during the period from 1929 to 1932 in front of the Greek Parliament. It is a bas-relief depicting a dead soldier (by the sculptor K. Dimitriadi) and has an inscription with an extract from Pericles Epitaph written on it. The greatest fights of the Greek army since 1821 are depicted on the marble wall surrounding it. The monument is guarded 24 hours by two selected guards, called Evzones, who wear traditional Greek costumes. It is also the place where Greek officials and visitors place garlands in big celebrations. The ritual, during which the guards change positions, happens every hour and is a unique event which attracts many people especially on Sunday mornings, when the guards are escorted by a military band and a large Evzones force.
 
“Great Britannia” Hotel. A luxurious hotel, constructed in 1842 as a private residence. It was designed by Th. Hansen and in 1874 it was reconstructed as a hotel. In 1958, due to the high touristic needs, it was reconstructed again and new floors were added to it. In 2003 it was fully restored. This hotel has been connected with the greatest moments of Modern Greek History, while many famous personalities have stayed here when visiting Athens. Visit its interior areas where you can find coffee houses, bars and a luxurious restaurant with unique atmosphere.
Ancient Water Reservoir. In the NE side of the square (a covered open-air space) was found and is exhibited part of the ancient cemetery and the Peisistrateios water reservoir.
Filellinon Street. A remarkable street extending from Stadiou Str. In the intersection of Xenofontos and Souri Streets you can see the neoclassic houses,  Sotiras Lycodimus Church and Aghios Pavlos Anglican Church (1843), designed by Ch. Hansen with Gothic elements and in a shape of cross.
Amalias Avenue. It is a wide avenue that leads from Andrianos Gate to Syntagma Square. The fact that it is next to the National Garden as well as its impressive neoclassic houses give it unique atmosphere. As you walk up the street towards Syntagma Square, pay attention to the view with the Parliament and Lycabetus Hill in the background.

NATIONAL GARDEN

It opens in the morning until sunset and is considered to be an oasis in the center of Athens. The National Garden extends over 160 sq. m and there you can find 500 different species of plants, bushes and trees from all over the world. Its plantation was accomplished during the period from 1838 to 1860 and it was the Palace garden. It has four entrances: from Vassilissis Sofias Av., Herodes Atticus Str., Vassilissis Amalias Av., while its forth entrance connects National Garden with Zappeio Park. Walk around its pathways, listen to the birds singing and sit on a bench to rest. In the National Garden you can also see a lake with ducks, a small zoo, Botanic Museum, a small traditional coffee house, children library, playground, some ancient monuments and busts of famous personalities of modern Greece.
Sightseeing:
Zappeio Mansion. This impressive mansion was designed by Th. Hansen and constructed the period from 1874 to 1888. The last few years, in this "Conventions and Exhibitions Mansion" many important episodes of Modern Greek History took place: European summits, election results and important political announcements. At the same time, many exhibitions and concerts are hosted here. In front of Zappeio Mansion are the statues of Zappa cousins who financed its construction, while the homonym garden extends around them. Many Athenians go to Zappeio Park especially on Sundays. Right next to it operates a luxurious coffee place and a summer cinema.

RIGGILIS AREA

An impressive Athens area with luxurious buildings, villas and rich vegetation. It is located in the area between Vassilissis Sofias Av., Riggilis Str., Vassileos Kontstantinou Av. and Herodes Atticus Str. and is considered to be a glamorous area due to its location (close to the old Palace, today's Presidential Mansion).
Sightseeing:
Presidential Mansion (Herodes Atticus Str.). It is the former Royal Palace, of neoclassic style and with elements of eclecticism (1890-1897), designed by E. Ziller. Initially, it was used as the residence of the heirs of the throne, later as a Palace and after 1974 as the official residence of the President of Democracy. It is surrounded by an impressive garden and is guarded by Evzones who wear typical traditional Greek costume.
Maximou Mansion (Herodes Atticus Str.). It is the Prime Minister's official residence and office. It was designed in 1924 by An. Chelmi and accomplished after his death by his wife and her new husband D. Maximo. It is surrounded by a small garden.
The statues. At the end of Herodes Atticus Street (opposite Kallimarmaro Stadium) are the three most beautiful public sculptures in the city: Discovolus, a bronze statue by K. Dimitriadis (1927), marble Wood-Chopper (by D. Filippoti, 1872-1875), for which athlete B. Giannoulis posed, and G. Karaiskaki Statue, a bronze monumental statue (4.40 m height) by M. Tobros (1963-1966), where the equestrian Greek hero is represented.

PANATHENAIKO (KALLIMARMARO) STADIUM

This really impressive site, built from white marble in a shape of horseshoe, is located opposite of the National Garden. The first stadium, constructed in the same location, was made of wood (330 B.C.). The marble construction, the exact replica of which is today’s stadium, was built by Herodes Atticus. It was the place of sports games, which were organized during Panathenaea celebration. Today’s Stadium, which can seat 60.000 spectators, was built the period from 1869 to 1870 and hosted the first Olympic Games organized in modern history (1896). Around the stadium is the lush green Ardittou Hill, popular area for walking.
 

METS

One of the most elegant districts in Athens. It was uninhabited until the 1870’s. It took its name from the homonym beer bar that operated at that time and for many years it was an entertainment area. Until the 1950’s Ilissos River was crossing the area (today’s Arditou Str.). Nowadays, it is a quiet area, which covers the area between Ardittou Hill and the 1st Cemetery (through the pedestrian Logginoy Str.). There are small coffee houses in the central street of M. Moussourou area, while it is worth to walk in other typical streets of the area (Nik. Theotoki, Trivonianou, Dikaearchou, Balanou etc). By walking in Kleitomachou, Archimidous and Ebedokleous streets you can reach the small Varnava Square with many coffee places, traditional taverns and luxurious restaurants. By taking Agras Str. you can go back to Panathenaiko Stadium.

1ST CEMETERY

It is the oldest and largest cemetery in Athens, in which some of the most remarkable personalities of modern Greece were buried (politicians, researchers, artists, religion leaders etc). It was established the same year as the Greek State and has architectural influences from West European big cemeteries of the 19th century. It is actually an open-air sculpture gallery, developed in an impressive and quiet garden, with tomb artworks, created by the most remarkable Greek sculptors of the last two centuries.
Sightseeing:
Koimomeni. The most famous sculpture of neo Hellenic art, created in 1878 by G. Chalepa for the tomb of S. Afentaki.
G. Averof Monument. This is the most impressive sculpture of the cemetery, created by G. Vitalis and D. Filippoti. The national benefactor's bones rest there since 1908.
E. Schliemann Monument. It is a tomb in the shape of a small church created by the German archeologist who discovered the city of Troy. It was created by E. Ziller (1892). The podium of the little church is surrounded by a stripe of bas-relief depictions of Trojan War.
Chr. Zografos Monument. It is a monument of cinquecento type. It has copied the Mausoleum of Lorenzo Medici in Florence.
Gimnos Aggelos (Naked Angel). An amazing tomb sculpture on N. Koumelis grave, created by G. Vitsari.
 

On Foot - From Lycabetus Hill to Strefi Hill

LYCABETUS HILL
It is a forest in the center of the city! According to mythology, goddess Athena wanted her temple in Acropolis to be as close to the sky as possible. One stormy night she went to Penteli Mountain and took a massive rock which she wanted to put on top of the already existing one. As she was carrying the rock two black birds came close to her and told her some bad news on a case she had to take care of immediately. On her furry and hurry she dropped the rock right in the middle of Athens. This rock that has 278 m height still exists in Athens. In antiquity the hill was wooded and Zeus temple was on its top. After the liberation of Athens from the Turks, Lycabetus was left treeless. Its reforestation began in 1880 and was finished in 1915.
Sightseeing:
The view of the city. Do not miss the view of Acropolis and the rest of the city extending up to the sea. Lycabetus has always been romantics’ favorite place. It is not just the view that one can enjoy, but also the walk on the narrow lanes up to the hill top.
Lycabetus Theater. This open-air theatre was built in the period of 1964-65 by architect T. Zenetos on the ruins of an old quarry. This theater was constructed on the initiative of A. Sinodinou (Greek actress) in order to perform ancient tragedies. The theatre can seat 3.000 spectators. On cultural events during summer period it gathers many music and theater lovers.
Aghios Georgios
Aghioi Isidoroi
How to go. If you want to go by car there is only one road leading to the top, but if you enjoy walking there are several pathways that you can take. You can also take the funicular railway which operates daily and departs from the corner of Aristippou and Ploutarchou Streets (Kolonaki).

NEAPOLI

It is the area located between Lycabetus Hill and Mavromichali Street. It is the oldest, after Plaka, area in Athens (Nea Polis-New City). Its construction started after 1860 the same time when the neighboring area of Exarcheia was built. Due to its location (the area is between the University and the Polytechnic University) its first residents were students. Later many of its inhabitants were artists. The neoclassic church of Aghios Nikolaos Pefkakion (1895) dominates Asklipios Str. Due to the ground inclination the part of the area close to Lycabetus Hill forms a zone with tree-clad pedestrian streets and steps which end up in central streets (Solonos, Asklipiou, Ippokratous, Sina, Massalias, Delfon etc). On these streets you can find numerous coffee houses, small bookstores, antique stores etc.

EXARCHEIA

It is an old neighborhood of Athens with unique charm and amazing atmosphere. On the contrary to the “cosmopolitan” Kolonaki Square, Exarcheia is a place inhabited by students and artists giving it a bohemian character. Due to some reconstructions that have upgraded the area and in combination with the remarkable neoclassic and modernistic buildings situated here, the last few years Exarcheia has turned into a very charming neighborhood for its future inhabitants. Follow the pedestrian part of Themistikleous Str. (from the homonym square up to Kallidromiou Str.) and all the other pedestrian streets of the area (Valtetsiou, Methonis, Eressou etc) and sit in one of the several coffee places, small bars and traditional taverns that operate here.
Sightseeing:
Exarcheia Square. It is the central square of the area with vivid night life. There you can find many coffee houses and beautiful small bars; while nearby there are two summer cinemas that can entertain you during summer period.

STREFI HILL

It is close to Exarcheia Square. Despite its small extent it constitutes a green oasis in the centre of the city. Here you can find sport facilities and a summer stone theatre, while from the top you have panoramic view of the city. To go to Strefi Hill follow the beautiful Kallidromiou street full of neoclassic mansions and small, frequented coffee-bars (ibetween Emmanuil Benaki and Deligianni Streets).
 
On foot - Ancient Athens

ANCIENT ATHENS

The longest pedestrian street (3km long) in Europe is in Athens, created by turning central roads into pedestrian streets (Vassilissis Olgas, D. Aeropagitou, Ap. Pavlou, Hedrian and part of Ermou Str).It is a unified street that passes through the most remarkable sites in Athens (archaeological grove). The part from Dionisiou Aeropagitou Str. (opposite Hedrian’s Arch) up to the intersection of Ermou Str. and Pireos Str. (Keramikos area) extends a vast archaeological area alienated from the modern city activities. Walking through archaeological sites is an unforgettable experience.

OLYMPION

According to the traveler Pausanias, the Temple of Olympian Zeus was built by Deucalion, a mythical ancestor of Greeks. During tyranny period (around 515 B.C.) Peisistratus Junior, grandson of the homonym tyrant, tried to replace the old temple with a new more impressive one. When tyranny was abrogated all construction works stopped. The new temple construction was later given to Roman architect Decimus Cossutius, by the king of Syria Adiochos Epifanis the 4th. When Adiochos died (163 B.C.) the temple was once more abandoned and left without roof or gables. The temple’s construction, one of the largest of ancient world, was finished in 131 B.C. by the Roman Emperor Hedrian.
Ilissos River bed. Take a walk to the only preserved part of Ilissos River basin (behind Olympion), also called sacred Muses River, to see the studded ruins of ancient temples. In a nearby location stands the famous rock of Kalliroi Spring and next to it is Aghia Fotini church built in 1872 on the ruins of an older church and on the foundations of Ekati’s sanctuary. Remarkable monuments of classic Roman and Byzantine periods (Delphinios Apollonas Temple, Kronos and Rea Temple, a Byzantine district with workshops, Leonidis basilica, etc) are preserved in a nearby area.

HEDRIAN'S ARCH

After constructing Zeus Temple, Athenians honored Hedrian by building (in 131 B.C.) an arched gate on the north-western corner of the temple’s fencing. The arch’s epistyle carved from Penteli marble bears two inscriptions. The first one facing Acropolis and the old town (west side) says: "This is Athens, city of Thiseas”. The second one facing the sanctuary and the city from Hedrian’s side (east side) says: “This is the Hedrian’s city and not Thiseas’ ”.
Dionisiou Aeropagitou Str.
One of the most impressive streets in Athens with an amazing view of Acropolis and Parthenon. Pay attention to the buildings on the street’s left side. Most of them were built at the end of 19th century and beginning of 20th century and are of neoclassic or modernistic type representing the area’s elegance.
Dionysus Ancient Theater
Cross the gate leading to the archaeological sites (on the south aisle of Acropolis), walk Dionysiou Aeropagitou Street and go straight up. Higher on your right you will see the most ancient of all famous theaters in the world, Dionysus ancient theater. Aeschylus, Aristophanes, Euripides and Sophocles, four of the most famous ancient Greek poets, watched their plays being performed for the first time (5th century B.C.) in this theater. The theater bench rows and stage were first built from wood. During the 4th century B.C. the theater was rebuild in stone. Nowadays, the only preserved parts are those of the stone bench rows. According to experts, the theater had 17.000 seats capacity. The choragic Thrassilos Monument (319 B.C.) stands above the theater, carved in Acropolis rock and a little higher you can see two choragic Corinthian columns.

Eumenis Stoa (Porch)

Continuing your walk you will reach Eumenis Stoa, which was built in the 2nd century by the King of Pergamos, Eumenis II. Its main purpose was to protect the audience from sun or bad weather. Above Stoa you can see the ruins of Asklipios which was built after the famine in 429 B.C. that decimated Athens population.

HEROD ATTICUS ODEON

Herodion, as it is called today, was built in 161 B.C. by Tiberius Claudius Herod Atticus, renowned personality, teacher and philosopher who inherited his father’s wealth. Herod Atticus built this roofed Odeon for music concerts in honor of his wife Regilla, after her death. The Ancient Greeks used to organize musical events in this venue. Nowadays, every summerAthens Festival events take place in this theater that can host up to 5,000 spectators . Its magic and beauty, however, can only be understood when walking on the way to Acropolis.

ACROPOLIS

It is the Athens symbol, the sacred rock, the connection between ancient and contemporary civilizations. The monuments that stand today on the Sacred Rock are dated from the prehistoric period up to the ancient times. There is not even one person (Greek or foreign visitor) that does not want to pay due honor to this sacred rock and see its beauty and glory. A visit to Acropolis is an unforgettable experience.
Sightseeing in Acropolis:
 
Propylaea. It is the magnificent entrance that leads to Acropolis and its monuments, part of Pericles construction plan. It was built in the period between 437-432 B.C. by famous Athenian architect Mnisiklis. Before you reach Propylaea you cross Beule Gate which was part of the Romaic fortress of Acropolis. After that you see a 13 m pedestal known as "Agrippas monument" on which Athenians placed the statue of the benefactor of the city Roman Marcus Agrippas in 27 B.C.
Temple of Athena Nike (Wingless Nike). It was built on the south side of Propylaea approximately in 420 B.C. for the celebration of Greeks’ victory against Persians. The architect of the temple was Kallikrates. This area is unique because of the sanctuary that has been standing here since the prehistoric period. On the left side is Erechthia and in front Parthenon.
Parthenon. It is an architectural masterpiece the importance of which can only be understood when you stand in front of it hearing its construction history and secrets. This unique temple was dedicated to Goddess Athena and was built from Pentelic marble. Underneath Parthenon lie the ruins of former Parthenon, an archaic temple which dates back to the 6th century B.C. Iktinos and Kallikrates were the architects of the temple, which was built and decorated in the period between 447-432 B.C. during the Golden Age of Pericles. The Parthenon is a double peripteral Doric temple with 8 columns on each of the short sides and 17 columns on the long ones. The chryselephantine statue of Athena was placed inside the temple. It was created by the famous sculptor Pheidias who also supervised the entire building process. This statue was the final point of the splendid procession Panathinaia, also depicted on the temple frieze.
The chryselephantine statue of Athena. According to mythology, the name of the city is connected to the rivalry between Poseidon and Athena for its protection. Poseidon offered to Athenians a horse, while Athena hit the rock of Acropolis with her spear and offered them the olive tree that grew there. Preferring the olive tree which symbolizes peace and prosperity, Athenians named the city Athens. The inside of the statue, rising up to 12 m in height, was made of wood and all of its naked parts of ivory. Her peplos (tunic) and helmet were covered by sheets of gold which could be removed. The statue, which represented armed goddess Athena that held a 2 meters ivory statue of Niki in her right hand, was lost the first years of Byzantine period. Its existence is known from ancient sources as well as analytical descriptions of traveler Pausanias (2nd century A.D.) Valuable information has also been collected from its several replicas, the most famous of which is Varvakios Athena.
Erechtheion. Erechtheion was built in the period 420-406 B.C. in the most sacred part of Acropolis: the area where goddess Athena’s sacred symbol, the olive tree, grew. This tree was destroyed afterwards by Persians. According to mythology, the tree blossomed again when Persians were chased out.
Caryatids: The statues you see supporting the temple’s south facade of the roof are copies. Five out of six original statues are in the Acropolis Museum and another one in the British Museum.
Pay careful attention to the following: Walking to the top of the sacred rock requires patience and focus. The view from there however will definitely reward you. -Propylaea which welcomes visitors before seeing Parthenon. -The view from Athena Nike temple. –Parthenon columns. Their slight inclination to the centre gives visitors the impression that they can not stand the weight. -Parthenon's harmony. The temple's secret is that none of its lines are completely straight. If you already know this, you will not be deceived by the illusion of its horizontal lines, which in the middle give an impression of a curve. -Erechtheion, a remarkable temple built according to ancient Athenian standards. In reality it looks nothing like a typical Athenian temple. It is built in two levels; it is asymmetric and has two facades that have no resemblance whatsoever. The smaller south facade is the most popular one mainly due to the six Caryatids that support its roof. The dissimilarities of temple's different parts are due to the fact that these parts were dedicated to different gods. The temple's east part was dedicated to Athena Paliada and the west part to Poseidon Erechtheos.
Acropolis Museum. It houses findings of priceless value which present the history and function of Acropolis as the most important religious centre in Athens. Its most important exhibits are:
Moschoforos: An exceptional statue of a bearded young man (6th century BC) carrying a calf on his shoulders as a present to goddess Athena.
Archaic Daughters: Statues of you women, that were offered to Athena for a long period. None of these Daughters looks like the other. The different way of presenting the Daughters’ hair and creases of their tunic, gives the visitor the opportunity to admire and understand the evolution of ancient Greek sculpture.
 
Sculptures taken from the decoration of Parthenon (444-432 BC): These are some remnants of Parthenon masterpiece created by sculptor Phidias. Among others, you will see parts of the frieze depicting Olympian Gods and some metopes (frontal part of the temple) depicting scenes from Centauromachy (the war of Centauries).
Caryatids: Statues of beautiful priestesses that were created to support Erechtheion south frieze (420 B.C.). Apparently they took their name after the young women of Karyes (ancient city in Arcadia, Peloponnese) who were the models for the creation of the specific statues. During the Ottoman occupation Caryatids were called Marble Princesses or Daughters of the Castle.
Court of Cassation (Arios Pagos)
It is the most ancient court in the world and was specifically respected place during the ancient times. The first aristocratic Parliament of ancient Athens was located here. Throughout the time this parliament lost its political power and since the second half of the 5th century B.C. it had only judicial power mainly focusing on homicide cases. As described in “Oresteia” this was the court where Orestis went on trial for murdering his mother Clytemnestra and her lover Aegisthos. As the bronze plate on the rock base informs us this was also the place where Athenians first heard Apostle Pavlos preaching in 52 A.D.

FILOPAPPOS HILL

You can visit it every season of the year and still find it beautiful. A walk there is an amazing experience: A beautiful lush green area that includes remarkable monuments such as what is considered to be the “Socrates Prison”, “Kimoneia Graves”, ancient Koili Street, a commercial avenue full of houses and shops, “Mouseos War Memorial”, Filopappos Monument and a great view of Parthenon and Acropolis.
Sightseeing:
Filopappos Monument. It was built in the 2nd century A.D. by Athenians, in honor of the benefactor governor of Syria, Gaius Julius Antiochus, who was also known by the name Filopappos. The literal meaning of his name is "the favorite grandson of his grandfather”. His grandfather was Komagginis Antiochus the 4th, last King of Syria.
Cobbled roads. During the 50’s, the Greek architect D. Pikionis unified the area from Propylaea of Acropolis to Filopappo Hill. Pay attention to the handmade cobbled roads, which lead to some monuments, Aghios Dimitrios Loubardiaris church and to the coffee house. The whole project has been announced preserved and protected Monument of International Cultural Heritage.
PNYX (Pnika in modern Greek)
Pnika is located between Muses Hill, where Filopappos Monument stands, and Nymphs Hill with the homonym sanctuary, where today's National Observatory is located. This semi-circular square was the gathering place of all Athenians (6th century B.C.) to hear famous rhetoricians, who delivered their speech from stone podium in the center of Pnika. They also came here to exercise their democratic political duties. It is believed that it could host 10.000 people.

ANCIENT AGORA (Market) OF ATHENS

Ancient Agora's archeological site is located on the foot of Acropolis Rock close to “Theseion” metro station. In antiquity, Agora was not only a commercial center but a political, cultural and religious one as well. This area included administrative buildings, temples, public services and courts. Athenians gathered here to buy and sell products, to get informed on current affairs, criticize the government, exchange ideas or just start a conversation. The area’s history begins from the Neolithic era but its monuments are of different historic periods: from classical times until the 11th century A.D. An example of the latter period isAghioi Apostoloi church.
Sightseeing:
Theseion - Ephaestus Temple. Despite its name it was not dedicated to Thiseas but to Ephaestus and goddess Athena. It is situated in the west end of Agora and nowadays it is the best preserved temple of antiquity. It was built in 460-415 B.C. and housed Ephaestus and Athena statues believed to be sculptured by Alkamenis.
The Monument of Eponymous Heroes. The statues of ten heroes who gave their names to the ten tribes of Attica were here. All public announcements were done from the stand of these statues.
Poikili Stoa (Varied Porch). It is believed that it was named after frescos that decorated its walls. The word “Poikili” (Varied) probably comes from the fact that these frescos were of various colors and themes. It was here that Zenon taught his Stoic Philosophy which took its name from Poikili Stoa (460 B.C.).
Attalos Porch. This two storey building, donation of Pergamum’s King, Attalos the 2nd (159-138 B.C.) to the city of Athens, is considered to be a kind of ancient commercial center that housed 21 shops in each storey. The Museum collection includes items of everyday use which were discovered in ancient Agora giving the visitor the chance to understand Athens life.
Vassilios Porch. It is located in the foot of Theseion and was built approximately in 500 B.C. It was the base of Ruler Vassileas and of Arios Pagos council.
Agrippa Odeon. It was built in 15 B.C. by Agrippa. It could host 1.000 spectators and had a two storey porch. It was destroyed in 267 A.D. by Erulus and in 400 A.D. Gymnasium was built on its ruins. On the north side there were four big statues of Giants and Tritones, which were taken from the Odeon. Three of them are still preserved.

ROMAIC AGORA

It is a unified architectural complex constructed between 19-11 B.C. consisted of a large rectangular yard surrounded by columns, while its porches housed many different shops. North of the complex there was a library (a rectangular building with size 122x82 m), which was built in 132 A.D. by Adrianus.
Sightseeing:
Kiristos Watch-Wind Tower. Outside the eastern side of Romaic Agora you will see an octagonal building. It is Antronicus Kiristos Watch that was built in the 1st century B.C. and which housed a hydraulic watch. On each of its eight sides there was a relief of the eight winds. For this reason, the monument has the nickname "Aerides" (Winds).
Archigetida Athena Gate. It is located in the west side of the area. It is a monumental entrance with four Doric columns and a pediment made from Pentelic marble. It is in perfect state.
Vespasianes (public toilets). It is a rectangular building with hall and a square room with benches that had holes on their four sides, and drainage underneath the building.

KERAMEIKOS

Ancient Kerameikos was located in the northwest edge of Athens and extended inside as well as outside the walls of the city, which nowadays cross the archeological site. In the center of the archeological site are the two most famous gates of ancient Athens, Dipylon and Iera Pili. The area around these gates was the biggest and most ancient cemetery in Attica. It was also the burial place of citizens honored by the city of Athens. According to traveler Pausanias the area took its name from Keramos. Probably, though, it took its name from ceramics district (Kerameikos: the person that deals with ceramic art or pottery), which was created on the Heridanos River banks. The river bed is visible in the archeological site. Kerameikos ancient municipality included an area much larger of the one found during excavations. It is believed that it extended from the northwest boarders of Agora to the grove that took its name from the hero Akadimus.
Panathenaea Celebration. Every year ancient Athenians celebrated Mikra Panathenaea and every four years Megala Panathenaea. These were grandiose cultural events that included horse races, sports games, music and other art competitions. In the last day of the celebration a procession was starting from Kerameikos and passing through Agora ended up on Acropolis, where people offered to Athena the so called mantle. In ancient times, statues were covered with real clothing. Therefore, gods' mantle was actually a woolen tunic, knitted by the priestess and the young virgins who assisted her. It was placed as a sail on a large wooded boat's mast and was transferred in Acropolis. The whole procession followed this boat. This is the procession that Parthenon frieze depicts.
Sightseeing:
Graves and columns. Kerameikos is famous for its graves and columns. By walking around them you will have the opportunity to admire the marble bull replica located in grave fencing of Dionysus from Kollito, as well as the replicas of famous columns such as the ones of Delikseos and Igesos (end of 5th century B.C.). If you want to see the original sculptures as well as other findings, please visit the Museum.
Kerameikos Museum. It houses findings from Kerameikos area including funeral gifts found in the graves as well as tomb sculptures of archaic and classic times.
Dimosio Sima. Close to Kerameikos archeological site (in 35 Salamina Str.) was discovered part of this great cemetery. Graves of famous people, as well as of people who died in battles were discovered in this cemetery.

Akadimia Platonos

This area was inhabited from prehistoric times and took its name from hero Akademos or Ekademos. During the 6th century one of the three famous Gymnasiums in Athens was built in this area. Nowadays, however, the area is famous because of the well known Philosophy School, which was established in 387 B.C. by Plato and flourished during the time of Neo-Platonists.
Sightseeing:
Sacred House of Geometric period. It consists of seven rectangular rooms and has features similar to the ones in the sacred house of Eleusina. Due to many sacrifice items found there, it is believed that it was place where rituals took place.
Gymnasium. A rectangular building (1st century B.C. – 1st century A.D.) with interior columns and rooms situated in its north side. Inside it there is a smaller room used as a Ring.
Peristyle Building (building with columns around it). A large square building (4th century B.C.) with interior peristyle. It is believed to be used as a ring or Gymnasium annex.
First Hellenic Arched House. It consists of a hall, room and auxiliary area is considered to be Akadimus prehistoric house.
 

On Foot - From Syntagma Up to Omonia Square

Syntagma Square
PANEPISTIMIOU AVENUE (ELEFTHERIOU BENIZELOU)
One of the oldest streets initially designed as boulevard (former name Voulevartou Str.) and one of the busiest streets in Athens as it connects Syntagma Square with Omonia Square. Some of the most remarkable and representative public buildings in Athens, many of which are typical trademarks of the city, are built on this wide avenue.
Sightseeing:
Metochiko Tameio Stratou Building (Army Share Fund Building). It is an imposing mansion occupying the whole construction area between Panepistimiou, Voukourestiou, Amerikis and Stadiou Streets. It was built in the period of 1927-1938 in the place of the royal stables. Its exterior facets are of art deco style and there is a small arcade with many shops in the middle. It was recently reconstructed as a mall and a block of offices, while it still has three operating theater halls ("Pallas", "Mikro Pallas" and "Aliki"), coffee places and restaurants.
Iliou Melathron (12 Panepistimiou Str.). It is considered to be the most beautiful neoclassic building of Athens. It was constructed in 1879 by E. Ziller as the residence of German archeologist and philhellene E. Schliemann. It is of cinquecento style and has a twin ladder in its north facet, while Ionic column rows decorate the front facet and the two other floors. Its interior is decorated with “Pompey” frescos and drawings depicting sceneries and findings from Troy. Areios Pagos (the supreme court of Greece) was housed in Iliou Melathron in 1927, while nowadays it houses the Numismatic Museum .
Archeological Society Mansion. It is a five storey building of later classical style decorated with Ionic columns in its entrance. It is located at the corner of Omirou Str. and houses Athens Archeological Society.
Aghios Dionisios Catholic Church (1853-1865). It was designed by L. von Klenze and L. Kaftantzoglou and is a three aisled basilica with a portico in its south side and five cyclic arches (it is located in the corner of Omirou Str.).
Athens Ophthalmiatric Clinic (Panepistimiou and Sina Streets). It is and impressive building (1854) with mixed elements of Byzantine and neoclassic architecture. The initial designs were made by Ch. Hansen with some alterations from L. Kaftantzoglou and were planning a single storey building, but many years after (during the 1860’s) another floor was added.
Bank of Greece Mansion (21 Panepistimiou Str.). It is an impressive building occupying a whole residential block. Its construction began in 1933 and it was inaugurated in 1938. The money exchange offices still preserve their minimal but imposing features, and the interwar atmosphere.
The Three Temples of Education (“Athenian Trilogy”). These three mansions were built at the same time by two well known Danish architects the Hansen brothers, who lived in Greece during that period.
Athens Academy (1859-1887): On the sides of Academy there are two wings, decorated with friezes and a pair of high columns which support Apollo’s and Athena’s statues. Athens Academy was designed by Th. Hansen the younger of the two brothers. The statues are creations of L. Drossis and the painting decorations of K. Rahl. Athens Academy is considered to be the most remarkable example of Greek architectural style.
The University (1839-1864): Athens University was designed by Ch. Hansen the older one of the two brothers. The fountain in the yard, the cyclic ladder and the colorful frescos with classical themes (painted by the Bavarian K. Rahl), which decorate the walls behind balcony's columns are also remarkable.
National Library (1887-1902): Another beautiful building designed by Th. Hansen. It is the largest library in Greece and houses unique treasures of books written in all languages. On its facade there is an impressive six column portico of Doric style, which is designed according to the example of the one in Theseion. Its interior is designed by Ern. Ziller is lit by a large skylight and is surrounded by Ionic columns.
Cultural Center of Athens Municipality. It is located behind the “Athenian trilogy” buildings (50 Akadimias Str.). It is an impressive neoclassic building constructed in 1835 by Chr. Hansen and for many years it was operating as a hospital. Cultural events are organized in its rooms. In front of the building is a small garden with busts of historic personalities (artists, politicians etc), while in its back side (towards Solonos Str.) operates a small coffee house. Right next to it (at the corner of Massalias Str.) stands the impressive Palama Building (also known as the “pink building” because of its color) built in the period of 1857-1859, which nowadays houses the library of the Museum of Theater. Athens University Student Club (1926-1931) designed by Al. Nikoloudi is located on the opposite diagonal side of the cultural center (at the corner of Ippokratous Str.). It is a building designed according to the eclectic Beaux Arts style.
Korai Square. It is a small beautiful square built when the homonym street was reconstructed as pedestrian. In its NE side dominates the Ralli building (10 Korai Str.) of early neoclassic style and right opposite stands the modern building of General Accountings Office (designed by E. Lazaridis). In its SW side stands the neoclassic former Grand Hotel (2 Korai Str.) and on the opposite side the modern building of Emporiki Bank. The recently renovated “Korai Arcade” where you can find many coffee places, small restaurants (fats food), shops and a cinema hall is also situated in Korai square.
Ionian Bank Mansion (Pesmatzoglou Str.). It is a remarkable mansion with vigor art deco decoration elements (1925). Its central money exchange office is surrounded by columns and balconies and is lit from a stained glass window.
Arsakeio Mansion (1846-1855). It is an imposing two storey mansion typical example of Greek classicism also influenced by eclecticism. Many years ago it housed “Arsakeio Girls' School” but nowadays houses the Council of State (supreme Administrative Court). Right next to it is Dikastirion Square.
Arsakeio Arcade (Orfeos): It is the interior arcade of Arsakeio Mansion built with neo baroque architectural elements and an impressive glass roof with a dome in its middle. It houses many shops and coffee places as well as the “Arcade of Book”, which hosts bookstores of 60 Greek publishers and organizes many cultural events.
“Rex” cinema-theater. It is a mansion with three entertainment halls (cinema-theater) built in the period of 1935-1937 and influenced by American skyscrapers that were constructed the same period. Nowadays, two of the halls are used for performances of the National Theater and the third one operates as an entertainment hall.

OMONIA SQUARE

It is a central square that stays "open" 24 hours a day, all year long. Contrary to Syntagma Square, Omonia stays awake since the first moment of its existence. Every Saturday night, it is common for the Athenians to buy their Sunday newspapers from the kiosks and the stands of the square before they return home. Omonia is the oldest central square of modern Athens. Visitors can not say that they have visited Athens if they have not been at least once on Omonia to see its lifestyle and its crowd and… hear its noises. In Omonia you can find all popular fast food chains and buy foreign newspapers from its kiosks. Some neoclassic buildings surrounding Omonia Square, such as “Bagkeion” and “Alexandros” Hotels (towards Athena Str.), “Neon” coffee house and National Bank's branch (in Panepistimiou Avenue) are very remarkable. In Omonia is one of the central metro stations in Athens.
*AROUND OMONIA SQUARE
Streets such as Stadiou, Patision, Panepistimiou, 3rd Septemvriou, Piraeus, Athenas and Aghios Konstantinos begin from or end up in Omonia The aforementioned streets together with the smaller streets and the neighboring Kaniggos Square form a very busy zone with many interesting spots (small shops, traditional coffee houses etc.).
Sightseeing:
National Theater of Greece (Aghios Konstantinos Str.). It was built in the period of 1891-1901 on the initiative of King Georgios the 1st, was designed by E. Ziller and financed by Greeks living abroad. It is of cinquecento style and has copied the architectural style of the National Theater of Vienna. The theater opened in November 1901 initially as Royal Theater and in 1930 it changed to National Theater. Its central hall (of Italian style) can seat 1000 spectators (pit, two balconies and two boxes). On the opposite side (in Menandros Str.) stands the three storey neoclassic Einar Mansion housing the museum of actors K. Paxinou and A. Minoti.
Aghios Konstantinos (Aghios Konstantinos Str.). It is located opposite of the National Theater. The monumental three aisled basilica (1871-1896/1905) designed by L. Kaftatzoglou and recently renovated is located here. It has an impressive facade with many neoclassic and cinquecento elements, a monumental entrance designed as an ancient propylaea (entrance) and remarkable interior decorations.
Piraeus Street (P. Tsaldari). It was designed on the ruins of an ancient street which connected Athens with Piraeus and alongside this ancient street stood Makra Teichi (Long Walls). It was the first street in the city suitable for cars and connects Athens with Piraeus city and port. Despite its initial designs, in the 19th century after the construction of many factories in the area the street became an industrial zone. The last few years, all these industrial buildings have been restored and used for other purposes (museums, cultural venues, School of Fine Arts). Nowadays, even though it is still a very busy street, all these buildings create a unique atmosphere of urban industrial architecture.
Koumoundourou Square (Eleftherias): It is a beautiful spacious square with rich vegetation. In the side of the square facing Piraeus Str. dominates the impressive neoclassic mansion of “Public Gallery” built in 1874 (designed by G. Metaksa). Next to it is Aghioi Anargiroi church (1893), while in the square there is also a small stone theater that hosts cultural and other events.
Aghion Asomaton Street: From Piraeus Str. as you turn left please note the house 45. It is one of the most popular traditional buildings in Athens (of folk classic style-1880) famous for the twin Caryatids standing on the balcony. It is one of the most photographed and painted sights of Athens.
Gkazi
Athens University Botanic Garden: It is located at the corner of Iera Odos (which was constructed on the ruins of the ancient street of Elefsinia Mistiria) and Sp. Patsi. It extends over 7000 sq m. and has around 120 species of wood-like plants (trees and bushes) and mossies from different parts of the world.
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