Hero photo: Athens, Greece – Tomb of the Unknown Soldier – Changing of the Guard.


Athens, Greece: The Cradle of Western Civilization

Athens, Greece is known as the “cradle of Western civilization” for a good reason. It is home to iconic cultural landmarks such as the Parthenon, the Acropolis, and the Greek Parliament. Once you have taken in the beauty of these architectural wonders, remember to explore Plaka, the oldest neighbourhood in the Greek capital.

Athens' Plaka beneath the Acropolis 2

Photo: Athens’ Plaka beneath the Acropolis.

Athens’ Plaka Neighbourhood

Plaka, nestled under the Acropolis, is more than just any neighbourhood. It’s a vibrant hub of creativity, boasting a lively art scene and street musicians filling the air with melodies. Its cobblestone streets and 19th-century buildings adorned with bougainvillea are a living testament to Athens’ rich history. And when the sun sets, the neighbourhood comes alive with its sidewalk cafes and tavernas, offering the perfect setting to enjoy a shot of ouzo or tsipouro.

Plaka is a treasure trove of experiences catering to various interests. For movie buffs, Cine Paris, the acclaimed outdoor movie theatre, offers a unique viewing experience with a stunning backdrop of the Acropolis. Art enthusiasts can explore the Greek Folk Art Museum or the Frissiras Museum, home to a vast collection of contemporary Greek and European art. And for those looking for souvenirs, Adiranou Street has shops offering a wide range of items, from traditional Greek products to unique jewelry and carpets.

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Athens - Plaka neighbourhood tavern.

Photo: Athens’ Plaka neighbourhood taverna.

Anafiotika and Filomousos Eteria Square

Anafiotika, often called the ‘island village of Plaka,’ is a hidden gem that offers a glimpse into the past. This residential area is a testament to the architectural skills of the islanders who constructed the Palace of Otto. The tiny white houses perched on the hills of the Acropolis offer breathtaking city views. And the area is not just about the houses. It’s also home to one of the most famous Byzantine churches, St. Nicholas, adding to its cultural significance.

Filomousos Eteria Square is a bustling area home to several coffee shops, clubs, and restaurants. Athens constructed the square in 1813 at the intersection of Kydathinaeon, Olympian Zeus, Aggelos, Farmaki, and Gerontas Streets. The neighbourhood is incredibly vibrant when jazz and Latin music fills the air at night. Brettos Bar, a historical distillery, is a favourite spot for locals and visitors and is the second oldest bar in Europe.

Tower of the Winds - Athens

Photo: Tower of the Winds monument in Athens.

Plaka’s Archaeological Sites

Plaka also has a variety of archaeological sites, such as the impressive Tower of the Winds, built with Pentelic marble in the 1st century B.C. The Corinthian and Doric-styled monument and clock tower are considered the first meteorological station in the world. Additionally, the Roman Agora, built between 19 and 11 A.C. to honour the Roman emperor Julius Caesar, is regarded as the first commercial centre of Athens. Other noteworthy sites include the Monument to Lysikratous and the Mosque of Mehmet the Conqueror.

If you visit in February or early March, Plaka is a beautiful place to spend the carnival season of Apokries. It is a tradition where Christians indulge for three weeks before Lent. Known as the Greek Mardi Gras, the celebration includes masquerades, parties, food, and wine. 🟥

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About: The Plaka Neighbourhood in Athens, Greece
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