Discover Athens is a tour that takes you on a journey through some of the most iconic and historical landmarks in the capital city of Greece. The time includes visits to the following places:
Anafiotika: A picturesque neighbourhood on the slopes of the Acropolis, known for its narrow, cobblestone streets and traditional Greek architecture.
Plaka: A historic neighbourhood at the foot of the Acropolis, characterized by its charming and narrow streets, traditional Greek taverns, and neoclassical buildings.
The southern slope of the Acropolis: A hill located in the centre of Athens, home to several ancient ruins, including the Theatre of Dionysus, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, and the Sanctuary of Asclepius.
Temple of Olympian Zeus: A former temple dedicated to the god Zeus, located near the centre of Athens.
National Garden: A large park in the centre of Athens featuring numerous species of plants and trees, a small lake, a playground, and a cafe.
Syntagma Square: A large public square in the centre of Athens, home to the Greek Parliament and the Evzones, the ceremonial guards of the Hellenic Republic.
Kolonaki: An upscale neighbourhood located in the centre of Athens, known for its shopping, dining, and nightlife. The area is also home to several museums, galleries, and cultural institutions.
The tour offers a comprehensive overview of Athens' history and culture and immerses oneself in the city's rich heritage and charm.
The central square of Monastiraki is a popular gathering place in the historic district of Monastiraki in Athens, Greece. The court is surrounded by shops, cafes, and restaurants and is known for its bustling atmosphere and vibrant street life. The main attraction in the square is the Monastiraki Flea Market, a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. The market offers various goods, including antiques, vintage items, souvenirs, and more. The square is also near several important landmarks, such as the ancient Agora, the Roman Market, and the Acropolis, making it a convenient starting point for exploring the city.
The Tower of the Winds, also known as the Horologion of Andronikos Kyrrhestes, is an ancient Greek monument in Athens, Greece. It was built in the 1st century BC and is considered one of the best-preserved ancient monuments in Athens. The tower is octagonal and stands approximately 30 meters tall. It was used as a timekeeping device, as each of its eight sides is oriented toward a different wind and is decorated with a relief depicting the wind deity associated with that direction. The tower was also used to measure atmospheric pressure and was considered a marvel of technology and engineering. Today, the Tower of the Winds is a popular tourist attraction and a symbol of ancient Greek science and technology.
The tower had a water-powered mechanism that turned a bronze pin on the top of the building, which cast a shadow on a sundial located on the floor of the tower, marking the time of day. The tower was also equipped with a wind vane on its roof, indicating the wind's direction. In addition, each of the eight sides of the building was decorated with a relief depicting a different wind deity, corresponding to the eight cardinal points on a compass.
Additionally, the tower had a system of bronze tubes, which would whistle in the wind and indicate changes in air pressure, allowing people to predict weather changes. The building was considered a marvel of technology and engineering in ancient times and was one of the first recorded examples of a combined meteorological and timekeeping station.
The Church of Panaghia Kapnikarea is a Byzantine-era church located in the heart of Athens, Greece. It is one of the oldest Christian churches in the city and is considered an important example of Byzantine architecture. The church was built in the 11th century and is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It is known for its well-preserved Byzantine-style frescoes, which cover the walls and ceiling of the church. The church is located on the pedestrian-only street of Ermou, one of Athens's main shopping streets, making it a unique and exciting destination for visitors. The Church of Panaghia Kapnikarea is a popular tourist destination and an essential part of the city's religious and cultural heritage.
The Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens, also known as the Cathedral of the Annunciation of the Theotokos, is a large Eastern Orthodox cathedral located in the centre of Athens, Greece. It was built in the 19th century and is the main cathedral of the Athens Metropolitan See. The cathedral is an important centre of worship for the Greek Orthodox community and is also a popular tourist attraction due to its impressive architecture and central location. The cathedral features a mix of architectural styles, including Byzantine, Neoclassical, and Gothic elements. The cathedral's interior is decorated with frescoes, icons, and ornate chandeliers, making it a stunning and awe-inspiring place to visit. The Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens is one of Greece's largest and most important religious buildings.
The Venizelos Mansion is a historic building in the Plaka neighbourhood of Athens, Greece. It is considered the oldest house in the capital and is believed to have been built in the 15th or 16th century. The mansion was originally the residence of the aristocratic family of Angelos Venizelos and was later home to Regoula Benizelos, also known as Saint Philothei of Athens. The villa is a two-story building with loggia, considered an example of post-Byzantine architecture. It has been declared a preserved building and is now home to the Museum of Greek Political History.
The old cafe restaurant of Psarras is a historic dining establishment in Athens, Greece. It is believed to be one of the oldest cafes in the city and has been a popular gathering place for locals for many years. The cafe is known for its traditional Greek atmosphere and is considered a cultural landmark in Athens. It is a popular tourist destination, offering visitors a glimpse into the city's history and tradition while enjoying delicious food and drinks. The menu at the old cafe restaurant of Psarras features a variety of traditional Greek dishes and a selection of coffee and tea drinks. The restaurant is a unique and charming place that offers a glimpse into the city's cultural heritage and is a must-visit for anyone interested in the history and tradition of Athens.
The Old Tavern of Stamatopoulos is a traditional tavern in Greece that was established in 1882 by grandfather Stamatopoulos as a grocery store that also served wine. In 1965, it began operating as a regular tavern and has served customers ever since. With over a century of history and continuous operation, the Old Tavern of Stamatopoulos is a well-established and popular dining destination in Greece. Known for its traditional Greek atmosphere and delicious food and drinks, the tavern is a cultural landmark and a must-visit for anyone interested in the history and tradition of Greece.
The Geros tou Moria Tavern is a traditional dining establishment in the historic Plaka neighbourhood in Athens, Greece. With a history dating back to 1926, the tavern has served customers for generations and is well-known for its traditional Greek cuisine, fresh fish, and tasty snacks. The tavern's location under the Acropolis and in the beautiful Plaka neighbourhood adds charm and makes it a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. In addition, the tavern's selection of the best and most flavorful wines further enhances the dining experience, making it an ideal place for those who want to taste the authentic flavours of Greece while enjoying the beautiful surroundings. It would be best if you tased Bekri Meze in this place. Bekri meze is a traditional Greek dish typically served as a shared appetizer or as part of a multi-course meal called a "meze." Bekri meze is a hearty and flavorful dish made from slow-cooked meat, often beef or goat, simmered in a rich tomato sauce with red wine, onions, and various spices. The heart is usually served with crusty bread, vegetables, and other side dishes, making it a perfect dish for sharing with friends and family. Bekri meze is a classic example of the hearty and flavorful cuisine characteristic of Greece. It is a staple dish at many taverns and restaurants throughout the country.
Photo of restaurant by Geros Tou Moria Restaurant
Anafiotika is a neighbourhood located in Athens, Greece, under the Acropolis. It is known for its traditional, white-washed houses and narrow, winding streets that are reminiscent of the architecture of the Cycladic islands. Greek refugees established the neighbourhood from Asia Minor in the early 20th century and still retain much of its original character despite several changes.
Today, Anafiotika is a popular tourist destination, offering visitors a glimpse into Athens' past and a chance to experience the traditional Greek way of life. It is a charming, historic neighbourhood with a relaxed, laid-back atmosphere, making it an ideal place to wander, take in the sights and sounds, and enjoy a meal or drink at one of the local taverns or cafes.
Agios Georgios is a small church in the Anafiotika district of Plaka, Athens. It was built by Greek builders from the island of Anafi, who were brought over to Athens in the early 1840s. The church has a quaint and rural appeal, with a flowered courtyard and whitewashed facade. It is situated directly under the Acropolis and is a single-naved barrel-vaulted building. Inside, there is nothing remarkable to see. The church is under the aegis of the church of Agios Nikolaos Rangavas and is open only on the name day of the church and on special occasions.
St. George is widely regarded as a Christian martyr and is venerated as a saint by the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Catholic Churches. He was a soldier in the Roman army and was executed for his refusal to renounce his Christian faith. However, he is considered a symbol of courage and bravery and is honoured on April 23rd by the Orthodox Church. The story of St. George and the dragon is a popular legend associated with him, which portrays him as a rescuer of a town threatened by a dragon.
Some locals believe that the spirit of the saint encouraged Konstantinos Koukidis, a Greek Evzone who was on flag guard duty at the Acropolis in Athens on April 27th 1941, during the beginning of the Axis occupation of Greece during World War II. According to legend, when the first Germans climbed the Acropolis, an officer ordered Koukidis to surrender the Greek flag and raise the Nazi swastika flag in its place. However, Koukidis supposedly chose to remain loyal to his duty and wrapped the flag around his body before jumping off the Acropolis rock to his death. Despite this story being a famous legend and inspiring to many, there is no specific documentary evidence to support it. Nevertheless, a commemorative plaque near the site marks the event.
Plaka is a charming and historic neighbourhood in the heart of Athens, Greece, renowned for its rich cultural heritage and architectural beauty. With a history dating back to antiquity, Plaka has served as a melting pot of cultures and traditions, playing host to communities of Turkish, Arvanite, and Greek inhabitants.
Plaka was not referred to as Plaka until after the Greek War of Independence. Previously, it was known by various names such as Alikokou, Kontito, Kandili, or the terms of local churches. The origin of the name Plaka is uncertain, with theories suggesting it comes from Arvanite "Pliak Athena", meaning "Old Athens", from Albanian "plak", meaning "old", or from a plaque that once marked its central intersection. The name became commonly used in the first years of King Otto's rule.
During Ottoman rule, it was known as the "Turkish quarter" and had a large Arvanite community. After a fire in 1884, the area was excavated and has been the site of continuous archaeological excavations since the 19th century. The neighbourhood also features the traditional Cycladic architecture of the settlement built by settlers from the Aegean island of Anafi.
Today, Plaka continues to captivate visitors with its narrow cobblestone streets, vibrant bazaar, and beautiful neoclassical buildings, all set amidst the awe-inspiring Acropolis. From the authentic tavernas serving traditional Greek cuisine to the picturesque alleys dotted with colourful flowers, Plaka is a true feast for the senses and a must-visit destination for anyone exploring the timeless beauty of Athens.
The Museum of Folk Art and Tradition in Plaka, Athens, may be part of three different spots. The Museum of Greek Folk Art is located in Plaka, Athens, but it does not have "Tradition" in its name. Three places present the cultural heritage of the Athens community. The baths are next to roman Agora, the mosque in the Monastiraki central square and the houses in Plaka. It was founded in 1918 and aimed to showcase Greece's rich cultural heritage, focusing on the traditional arts and crafts of the country's various regions. The museum's collections include textiles, ceramics, metalwork, wood carvings, and other artefacts representing the Greek people's daily life, customs, and traditions.
Museum of Folk Art and Tradition Photo: © Maria Theofanopoulou
The archaeological sites are available daily from 8:00 To 19:00 during the summer months (beginning 1 April). Between 8:00 and 17:00 during the winter months.
The Theatre of Dionysus was an ancient Greek theatre in Athens, Greece, dedicated to Dionysus, the god of wine and theatre. It was the birthplace of Greek tragedy and was one of the largest theatres of the ancient world, with a seating capacity of up to 17,000 spectators. In addition, the theatre was used for various religious and social events, including the performance of plays and the celebration of the Dionysian festival. The Theater of Dionysus was built into the side of the Acropolis hill and was constructed in several phases, with the earliest remains dating back to the 5th century BCE. Today, much of the original structure has been lost, but substantial remains are still visible, including a large portion of the seating area and parts of the stage building. The site is a popular tourist destination and essential to Athens' cultural heritage.
The Stoa of Eumenes is an ancient Greek stoa (a covered walkway or portico) located in Athens, Greece. It was built by King Eumenes II of Pergamum in the 2nd century BCE and was used as a marketplace. The stoa was constructed of marble and covered a large area with columns and an ornate roof. Only a few columns of the original structure remain, but the site is still a popular tourist destination and a reminder of ancient Greek architecture.
The Herodes Theatre in Athens is a historic venue that dates back to AD 161. Herodes Atticus built it in memory of his wife, Aspasia Annia Regilla, and originally served as a steep-sloped theatre with a capacity of 5,000. The theatre was renowned for its impressive three-story stone front wall and its roof made of expensive cedar of Lebanon timber. Despite its grandeur, the Heruli destroyed the theatre in AD 267 and lay in ruins for centuries before being rediscovered and partially restored in recent times. Today, the Herodes Theatre remains an essential landmark in Athens, reminding visitors of its rich cultural heritage and storied past as a centre for music and the arts.
Next to the Theatre, Pnyka Hill is visible. It was a place for gathering together and vote some issues as an essential part of Athens's democracy.
Photo of Acropolis from Pnyx By George E. Koronaios, CC BY-SA 2.0
Hadrian's Arch is a triumphal arch located in Athens, Greece. It was built in 131 AD by the Roman Emperor Hadrian to commemorate his visit to the city and mark the dividing line between the ancient city of Athens and the new Roman city he planned to build. The Arch is made of marble and is decorated with sculptures and inscriptions that tell the story of Hadrian's visit to Athens. It stands as a testament to the power and influence of the Roman Empire and its impact on the city of Athens. Today, Hadrian's Arch is a popular tourist attraction and is considered one of the most important landmarks in the city. Despite the passage of time and the wear and tear of centuries, the Arch remains an impressive feat of ancient engineering and a reminder of the rich cultural heritage of Athens.
The Temple of Olympian Zeus was a colossal temple dedicated to "Olympian", located in Athens, Greece. It was initially built in the 6th century BC but wasn't completed until the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century AD. The temple was renowned for its size and housed one of the giant cult statues in the ancient world. Unfortunately, the temple's glory was short-lived as it was pillaged during a barbarian invasion and never repaired, reducing it to ruins. Despite this, a substantial part of the temple remains today, and it remains an important archaeological site in Greece.
The Panathenaic Stadium, also known as the Kallimarmaro, is an ancient stadium in Athens, Greece. Initially built in 330 BC, it was refurbished in 140 AD and became a showcase for the athletic events of the Panathenaic Games. The stadium was made of marble and was one of the largest in the ancient world, with a seating capacity of approximately 50,000 spectators.
The stadium was also the site of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 and remains an iconic symbol of the Olympic spirit today. Despite its age, much of the stadium has been well-preserved and is open to visitors, allowing them to walk the same path as ancient athletes and experience a piece of history.
The Panathenaic Stadium is the finishing point for the annual Athens Classic Marathon, a marathon race reenacted during the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. The stadium is historically significant as the birthplace of the marathon race and continues to hold this tradition by hosting the finish line of the Athens Classic Marathon.
The tradition connecting the Panathenaic Stadium with the Olympic flame is that it is the last venue in Greece from where the Olympic flame handover ceremony to the host nation takes place. During the ceremony, the flame is lit in Olympia, Greece. It is then carried to the Panathenaic Stadium, where the handover to the representatives of the host nation for the next Summer Olympic Games takes place. This tradition symbolises the ancient Olympic Games and is a significant part of the modern Olympic Games.
The Zappeion is a landmark building in the National Gardens of Athens, Greece. It was built in the late 19th century and was designed as a significant exhibition hall for Athens. The Zappeion was named after its benefactor, Evangelos Zappas, a Greek philanthropist and national benefactor who donated money for its construction.
The Zappeion was one of the first modern buildings in Greece and was designed in the neoclassical style, with influences from the Renaissance and Baroque periods. The building has a central dome, entrances, and a spacious central hall used for various exhibitions and events.
Over the years, the Zappeion has been used for various purposes, including as a palace for the Greek royal family, a venue for international conferences, and an exhibition centre for multiple events. Today, the Zappeion is still used for exhibitions, cultural events, and conferences, and it remains an essential landmark in Athens and a symbol of the city's cultural heritage.
The Greek royal dynasty is the House of Glücksburg, also known as the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg. The dynasty was established in Greece in 1863 when Prince Wilhelm of Denmark was elected as King of the Hellenes, the Greek name for the kingdom of Greece. The House of Glücksburg has ruled Greece ever since, with a few interruptions during political instability and military dictatorship periods.
The Greek monarchy was abolished in 1973, following a period of political turmoil and a failed counter-coup attempt. However, the Greek royal family remains an integral part of Greek history and continues to play a role in Greek society and cultural life. The current head of the Greek royal family is King Constantine II, the son of the late King Paul and Queen Frederika.
Zappeion is the main building in The National Garden of Athens, a public park in the centre of Athens, Greece. It was completed in 1840 and covered an area of approximately 40 acres. The garden features a variety of plant species, as well as several monuments and sculptures, a small lake, and a playground for children. It is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike, offering a peaceful escape from the bustling city and a chance to enjoy the beauty of nature.
The Greek Parliament building is located in Syntagma Square in Athens, Greece, and is the home of the Hellenic Parliament, the country's legislative body. The building was initially constructed in the 19th century and has undergone several renovations and expansions. It is one of the most important symbols of the Greek state and has played a central role in the country's political history. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, located in front of the Greek Parliament building, is a memorial dedicated to the Greek soldiers who died during World War I and the subsequent wars. Evzones, a ceremonial unit of the Greek military, guard the tomb. It is the site of the daily changing of the guard ceremony, which is a popular tourist attraction. The ritual involves a detailed and elaborate uniform change, accompanied by the playing military music, and is considered one of Greece's most critical martial traditions. The Evzones have a long and rich history dating back to the 19th century when they were first established as a particular unit of the Greek army.
The tradition of the Evzones is steeped in symbolism and is considered an essential part of Greek culture. The distinctive uniform of the Evzones, which includes a traditional fustanella skirt, a sleeveless vest, and a tasselled hat, is based on the traditional dress of the Greek mountain fighters and is meant to evoke the spirit of Greece's struggle for independence.
The fustanella skirt, made of multiple layers of pleated cloth, was initially worn by the klephts, a class of mountain fighters who fought against Ottoman rule in Greece. The sleeveless vest, called a "soutanella," was also worn by the klephts and was used to store weapons and ammunition. The tasselled hat, called a "tsarouchi," is based on the traditional headwear of the tsarouchia, which were wooden-soled shoes worn by the klephts.
The Klephts were a class of irregular soldiers and guerilla fighters in Greece who fought against Ottoman rule during the Ottoman era. They were active from the 16th to the 19th centuries and were known for their skills as warriors and their resistance to Ottoman rule. The Klephts were composed of various groups, including mountain dwellers, shepherds, and bandits, who banded together to resist Ottoman rule and protect their communities.
The Klephts played an essential role in the Greek War of Independence, which began in 1821 and established an independent Greek state in 1830. Many Klephts joined the Greek forces fighting against the Ottoman Empire and were known for their bravery and tenacity.
Today, the Klephts are remembered as symbols of Greek resistance and independence and are an essential part of the country's cultural heritage. Their legacy lives on in the uniform of the Evzones, the Presidential Guard of Greece, which is based on the traditional dress of the Klephts and is meant to evoke the spirit of Greece's struggle for independence.
The Greek War of Independence was a long and challenging conflict that lasted from 1821 to 1830 and resulted in the establishment of an independent Greek state. During this war, the Greeks fought against the Ottoman Empire, which had ruled Greece for centuries. There were many significant battles during this conflict, including:
Battle of Gravia Inn (1821) - This was the first major battle of the Greek War of Independence between Greek rebels and Ottoman forces. The Greeks were victorious, which was a crucial moment in the war, as it demonstrated that they could defeat the Ottoman army.
Battle of Peta (1822) - The Battle of Peta was a significant battle of the Greek War of Independence between Greek rebels and Ottoman forces. The Greeks were ultimately defeated, but the action was necessary because it showed that the Ottoman army was vulnerable and could be conquered by the Greeks.
Battle of Maniaki (1825) - This naval battle was fought between Greek rebels and Ottoman forces in the Aegean Sea. The Greeks were a significant victory for the Greek cause, as it secured the Aegean for the Greek rebels and weakened Ottoman naval power in the region.
Battle of Navarino (1827) - The Battle of Navarino was a naval battle fought between Greek rebels and Ottoman forces, with the support of several European powers. It was a decisive victory for the Greeks and was a crucial moment in the war, as it demonstrated the strength of the Greek navy and weakened Ottoman naval power.
Siege of Missolonghi (1826) - The Siege of Missolonghi was a prolonged military campaign fought between Ottoman forces and Greek rebels. The siege lasted for several months and resulted in the death of many Greeks, including the famous Greek poet Lord Byron. Despite the defeat, the Siege of Missolonghi was a crucial moment in the war, as it demonstrated the bravery and determination of the Greeks in their struggle for independence.
These are just a few significant battles during the Greek War of Independence. The war was a long and brutal conflict, but it ultimately resulted in the establishment of an independent Greek state and the liberation of Greece from Ottoman rule.
Syntagma Square is a central square in Athens, Greece. It is located in front of the Greek Parliament building and is considered one of the most important public spaces in the city. Syntagma Square has a long and rich history, having served as a gathering place for political demonstrations and significant events since the 19th century. Today, the square is a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors with its many cafes, shops, and historical monuments. In addition, changing the guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is also a popular attraction in Syntagma Square.
Most significant events on this square connected with The Athens Polytechnic Uprising.
The Athens Polytechnic Uprising occurred during the Greek military junta which ruled Greece from 1967 to 1974. The meeting was a group of military officials who seized power in a coup and established a dictatorship in the country. The junta government was characterized by widespread repression, censorship, and the restriction of civil liberties and was widely criticized for its human rights abuses and corruption. During the Athens Polytechnic Uprising, the government responded to the protests with brutal force, using tear gas, live ammunition, and tanks to disperse the crowds. However, the events of the uprising ultimately helped to bring an end to the military dictatorship and paved the way for the restoration of democracy in Greece.