Thiseio

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Athens Center

Thiseio is a neighborhood in Athens, which attracts visitors for a stroll and for the terrific view of Acropolis hill and the temple of Hephaestus.  Just off Andrianou street is Apostolou Pavlou street which has been pedestrianized. Apostolou Pavlou street is the main road of Thiseio. If you walk from Thiseio metro station towards  Apostolou Pavlou street you will meet an open air  market where vendors sell handmade jewelers, antiques and souvenirs. Crossing the street you will meet Herakleidon street which is also a pedestrian street full of cafeterias. The more you cross the street away from Acropolis you will meet bohemian locales and traditional ouzo bars that serve local mezes.

 

Why the area was named Thiseio?

The place was named Thiseio by the temple in the area that was mistakenly named temple of Theseus. The accurate name was the temple of Hephaestus who was the patron god who protected the metal workers of the area. Theseus was the mythical king of Athens who had gone to Crete to kill the minotaur. There is a statue of Theseus outside the Thiseio Metro Station. The church of Agioi Asomatoi which is also near the metro station is one of the oldest churches in Athens.

 

The temple of Hephaestus

The temple of Hephaestus is in the hill of Agoraios Kolonos, on the west side of the ancient Agora. It is a doric order temple and the entire building is made of pentelic marble.

About the name “Hephaestus” of the temple

The temple was first mistakenly named “ Theseion” from the mythical king Theseus. The depiction of Theseus to the metopes was the reason for this misunderstood. The temple was finally named “ Hephaestus” from the god Hephaestus who was the protector of metallurgists who had working installations around the temple.

Structure of the building

The temple is consisted of a pronaos where was the main entrance and opisthodromos( back entrance). The exterior of the building was surrounded by a doric colonnade. On the interior of the cella there was a pedestral that supported the cult statues of Hephaestus and Athena, sculptured by Alkamenes.

Sculptural decoration

Metopes decorated the external colonnade. On the east side, the subject of depiction was the victorious battles of Hercules. On the north and the south side, the subject of depictions was the king Theseus. The slaying of the Minotaur is a characteristic depiction related to the myth of Theseus.

The ionic frieze adorned the epistyle above the columns and the pronaos pilasters. Theseus is depicted winning Pallades, a family which also claimed the thronos. Opisthodromos is aslo adorned with pediments.

 

How the temple of Hephaestus was used?

In the 7 th century AD the temple was converted into a church dedicated to St George. The early Christians destroyed the metopes feauturing ancient greek gods. Burilas of people who died during the Greek War of Independence ( 1821- 1828) were placed inside the temple. After 1834 the temple was used as a museum since 1937 when the antiquities were taken away and excavations began around the area surrounding the Ancient Agora.

 

Sightseeings on Herakleidon street

On 66 Herakleidon and Thessalonikis street you will meet the Melina Merkouri Cultural Center. On the first floor there is a reproduction of an Athenian street in the early 20 th. The Haridimos shadow Puppet Museum-theater hosts a collection of puppets. Performances of the traditional show Karagiozis take place. The cultural center organizes lessons of figure- making every week.

On 16 Herakleidon Street you will meet the museum of Herakleidon. The philosophy of the museum is based on Science, Art and Mathematics. The visitors have the opportunity to learn through interaction with exhibits. On the first floor are exhibited the works of the French painter Victor Vasarely ( 1906-1997). The painter supported the “ social art” that communicates with all social classes and is not the privilege of the elite. On the second floor is housed the work of the Dutch print maker and graphic artist Maurits Cornelis Escher ( 1898- 1972). His prints are based on the interpretation of art in mathematical terms. The Museum Herakleidon involves art with the logic of mathematics.

 

DO

Visit the Museum Gift Shop and buy souvenirs inspired by contemporary art.

37 Apostolou Pavlou street , Thiseio, +30 2110126486, access from the street level of Herakleidon

Pnyx Hill

Pnyx Hill is a rocky hill surrounding Acropolis. It was the place where male- citizens gathered together to discuss on political issues and vote (ekklesia). The first form of democracy is considered to be born to the Pnyx Hill.

About the history

Pnyx A was probably constructed in the early 5 th century. It was a natural area where people sat on the hill and there was a retaining wall to the north. Pnyx B was probably constructed in the late 5th century. Nowdays it is preserved a part of the step terrace wall and a stone platform with stone steps leading to Bema where the orators could speak. Pnyx C was rebuilt in the 4 th century B.C. Male citizens met there and discussed on political issues and took decisions about war issues. Part of the Pnyx was used as a sanctuary of Zeus Hypsistos according to archaeologists. In 1 st century BC , the assembly gathered in the theater of Dionysus where there was more place . Other findings of the excavations are the two large stoas. They were used as shelters from people when the weather was bad, the altar of Zeus Agoraios and the sanctuary of Zeus Hypsistos.

 

 Church of Saint Dimitrios the Bombardier

Between Pnyx Hill and Phillipappos hill is the church of Saint Dimitrios the Bombardier. According to a truly tale in 25 October 1658, Yusuf Aga, the commander of the Turkish garrison planned to bombard the church and the faithful. A thunderstorm broke out destroying the cannon before getting fired and the people were saved.

Hill of the Nymphs

The National Observatory is on the hill of the Nymphs.  The building hosts the Geoastrophysics Museum, the library and the first optical telescope.

About the history

In 1842 the construction of the building began, after the donation of George Sinas who was a wealthy man and ambassador of Greece in Vienna.

The 16 cm meridian refracting telescope is housed to a small building next to Sina building. The telescope was used until 1964 to calculate the official time of Greece based on the transit time of stars.

 

DO

Don’t miss to observe the Athenian sky by night with the Doridis telescope. Groups are organized for evening tours, so for reservations call 2103490160 or 2103490055.

Opening hours: from Monday to Friday from 9 am until 2 pm.

Entrance fee: 5 € for adults, 2,5 € for students

 

Access:

Train: station Thission

Entrance: from “ Pnikos” or “ Otrineon” streets

 

The church of Agia Marina

According to mythology nymphs protected women in childbirth. Christians consider Saint Marina as the protector of childbirth and pray for the health of children. The church of Agia Marina was incorporated to an older church. In the interior of the recent church visitors view wall paintings and icons from the period of the 13 th and 18 th century.

Syntagma Square

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Athens Center

Syntagma square is the center of the Greek policy and commercial activity. It is located in front of the 19 th century Old Royal Palace, housing the Greek Parliament since 1934. The square is bordered by the avenue of Leoforos Amalias to the east, Othonos to the south and Vasileos Georgiou Protou to the north. The hotels “ King George”, “Grande Bretagne”, “ Athens Plaza” are on Vasileos Georgiou Protou street. Syntagma consist a green place where the visitor should relax under the shade of the trees. In the center of the square there is a large water fountain.

What was the first name of the square and how did the name originate from ?

The square was named “ Palace square”as it was in front of King Otto’s Palace. In 1834, when Otto declared Athens as a capital the square was constructed.  The king Otto demanded that the buildings constructed around the palace have the same aesthetic. Immediately after the rise of the palace wealthy Athenians built their houses around the palace so as to be near the king. Luxurious buildings raised such as the houses of Skouloudi  and Vourou- the current King George and “ Athens Plaza” respectively as well as the hotel “ Xenon” to Filellinon street.

Why the square was renamed Syntagma?

The square was renamed Syntagma due to the revolution on September 3 of 1843. That day the guard of Athens with his chief Dimitrios Kallergis came together in front of the royal palace demanding the establishment of constitution. A number of people with his leader Ioannis Makrygiannis arrived shouting “ Long live the Constitution”. The common request of the people and the army obliged the king Otto to convene the National Assembly and guarantee the first constitution of Greece.

About the most modern facts which took place to the square

In 2010 and 2012 ‘’ Syntagma Square” the movement of ‘’ Indignatos”  demonstrated against the policy of the Greek government and European Union. The economy was in fall  while the unemployment rates were on a rise. The Greek government  was obliged to be transformed and a ‘’ Unity Government” was formed.

 

Access:

Metro: line 2 and 3, stop Syntagma

Tram: stop Syntagma

Buses: 040 (24 hours service from Monday to Sunday) , X14 ( 24 hours service on Saturday and Sunday), T4, T5, T3, X95 ( line Syntagma to Athens Airport, 24 hours service).

Monastiraki

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Athens Center

Monastiraki

Situated at the center of the city,  south of Ermou street Monastiraki attracts visitors. Monastriraki square surrounds the area of Monastiraki. The square was recently paved with mosaic “ flows” of marble, stone and wrought iron. The area took its name from the little Byzantine chapel ( 10 th c AD) located on Monastiraki square which was used as a monastery until Greek Independence ( 1821 ) . During the Frankish rule ( 13 th- 14 th Cad) the chapel was operated from Catholics under the ownership of Nikolaos Mponefatsi. Nowdays the chapel is a parish church dedicated to Virgin Maria.

The Tzistaraki Mosque ( 1759 ) is located also on Monastiraki square. The mosque  was builted from the Ottoman commander of Athens Voevod Tzistaraki. After the establishment of the Greek state ( 1834) the building was used as a barrack and as a prison.  In 1924, the building served as a museum of handicrafts which was later renamed as museum of Folk Art. In 1973 the permanent collection and the offices were moved to 17 Kydathinaion street. The Tzistaraki Mosque continues to host since today a collection of pottery, donated by Vasilis Kyriazopoulos. The pottery   mainly came from Asia Minor.

 

About the rail network

In 1895 the first metro station in Athens was constructed in the area of Monastiraki . The ground line connected Monastiraki to Piraeus harbor. The new underground metro line connects Monastiraki with the Athens International Airport “ Eleutherios Venizelos”. During the construction of the metro there were problems due the proximity with the riverbed of the ancient river Eridanos*. The river was lost due the expansion of the ancient city of Athens below of earth- moving and constructions.  The only spots that the river comes to the surface is in the area of Monastiraki station and Kerameikos.

 

DO

You should taste souvlaki kebab made of beef or doner- kebab ( “ gyros”) made of pork or chicken served in the taverns on Monastiraki square with direction to Mitropoleos street. “ Souvlaki” is delicious, popular and cheap food.

Don’t admiss to go for shopping to Athens Flea Market. The entrance is on Hephaestou street which is next to Monastiraki metro station. The visitor has the opportunity to buy handmade leather shoes and bags, jewellery, musical instruments, woodmade products, byzantine icons. You should taste traditional products and buy souvenirs such as T- shirts, postcards, statues copied from ancient ones. All of the products are sold to a low price. Crossing Hephaestou street at the end of the road if you turn right you will find shops that sell hand- books while if you turn left you will meet St Phillip’s church ( 9 th c A.D).

Just off Hephaestou street, Avysinias Square consists another interesting flea market. Collectors have the opportunity to buy original antique items, paintings and old books of special editions. Every Sunday, outdoor small vendors sell second- hand items in low price.

Take a walk to the pedestrian of Pandrosou street that connects the Cathedral of Athens with Tzistaraki Mosque in Monastiraki. Many shops that sell touristic items are on Pandrosou street that are mainly family enterprises. The visitor has the opportunity to buy traditional products, antiques, jewelers, leather items and gallery.

 

The river Eridanos

It is about an ancient stream that emanates from Lycabettus hill. The stream flowed through Kolonaki, the modern square of Syntagma and next the Mitropoleos street, the Monastiraki, heading outside the city of Kerameikos to the point that meets  Sacred Gate and emptied  to the river Ilissos to the point that meets Piraeus street. During the archaic period owing to the urban expansion of Athens the waste of the city outflowed to the stream that was transformed to a mire soon. During the emperor Adrianos ( 117 – 138 A.D) the stream was covered with a bricklayer misty, banked and transformed into a sewer.

Chalandri

Posted Leave a commentPosted in North Suburbs

Chalandri is one of the most important commercial and entertainment places of Northeast suburbs of Attica. The area is headquartered about 9 kilometres away from the center of Athens.
The suburb of Halandri is being developed since a lot of years now and it managed to magnetise the interest of Athenians for entertainment.. A living atmosphere and a great variety of cafes, bars and restaurants are offered to the visitor.

The church of Saint Nikolaos and Saint Konstantinos highlights the central Square of Eleutheroton of Halandri. As we ascend from the square we reach the crowded shoaks of the area. There we can find a great variety of cafeterias, bars and restaurants between the roads of Agias Paraskeuis, Andrea Papandreou, Sokratous and Aristophanes. The connection to Chalandri from the North suburbs is eligible by car via Pentelis Avenue.

The main plateu soaks that of Ifikratous, Irakliou and Thoukididou , in the center of Halandri accommodate daily hundreds of people who enjoy their coffee and drinks in the various cafeterias and bars that are available. The place is a main area of meeting of friends who live mainly permanently in the North suburbs.

Chalandri is not only renowned for the various options of cafe and restaurants but also of its great local market. In the fabulous commercial plateu roads there are plenty of shops, many of them represent famous commercial brands of wearing, shoes and jewellery.

The great variety of options and the unique living aura of the area set a unique experience for the visitor.Chalandri belongs to the North suburbs of Athens. The place is renowned for the various cafes and the commercial market that it offers. We can call Chalandri as the place of meeting of people who live in the Surrounding areas and not only.

Chalandri attracts the interest of the visitor due to its living atmosphere and the relaxed and friendly pace. Explore the unique market of chalandri, select through a great variety of products (especially clothes) in an affordable way. Chalandri is usually overcrowded with people from all the age range. The traditional and full of cafes and bars shocks offers to the visitor a relaxed and pleasant experience.

 

Neo Iraklio

Posted Posted in North Suburbs

Neo Iraklio is one of the most beautiful suburbs of the north side of Attica. It magnetises people of all the age range through its great variety of cafe and restaurants. Neo Iraklio is a valuable option for relaxation and entertainment.

Neo Iraklio is easily accessible by the passengers via the electric station of Neo Iraklio and also through car or bus via central avenues such as Plapouta, Irakliou and Marinou Antypa. The area is situated in an ideal geographical position, it has a very good Atmosphäre and it is near to Marousi and to the big commercial area located in New Ionia (Irakliou avenue).

The benchmark of the area is its central square. At the surroundings of this greenery park a lot of cafes and restaurants provide daily meal services , coffees and drinks. At the end of the Neo Iraklio square Park there is a theater where cultural events and activities are taken place.

Walking through the Park of Neo Iraklio we often see a variety of natural goods groceries offered in benches. Daily hundreds of local people and visitors choose Neo Iraklio as the place where they will meet their friends, relax, enjoy food coffee and drinks. A visit to Neo Iraklio may convince you...

Pasalimani

Posted Posted in South Suburbs Athens

Pasalimani, center of Piraeus:

The center of Piraeus is the Pasalimani also known as Port of Zeas. Pasalimani is the central point of area where the locals and the visitors enjoy their walk, their café and have sociable activities. The central road of Pasalimani is Moutsopoulou street , where the visitor can enjoy a various options of cafes and restaurants tha are situated in the Port of Zeas.

In Pasalimani a unique living atmosphaire accompanies the visitor during its stay at the place. The square of Kanari is also a central area of Pasalimani with various options of cafes . The stoned clock is the place of meeting of the citizens of Piraeus and it is the symbol of Pasalimani.

It was constructed during the era that Ioannis Metaxas was the Prime Minister of Greece and is situated at the conjuction of the main roads of Lambraki and Moutsopoulou. Walking through the coastline of Pasalimani, can the visitor reach short destinations such as Kastella and Mikrolimano.

Pasalimani History:

In the ancient years Pasalimani was the place where the Navy of Athens had its base. Armored and powerful polemic ships defended Athens from enemies across the Saronic gulf. A great battle was realized in 492 b.c where the Athenian Navy were experienced the threat of the Navy of Aiginites (citizens of Aegina Island). For a long time of period in the past, Pasalimani was a state of the art centre of shipyards.

Piraeus

Posted Posted in South Suburbs Athens

The geographical position of Piraeus is situated around 12 kilometers away southwest from the centre of Athens.It is the biggest Municipality of Piraeus periphery and also one of the biggest in Greece. Municipality of Piraeus accommodates the biggest Port not only across the Greek State but also across Europe. It is the renowned Port of Piraeus. In the periphery of Piraeus belongs also the Municipallities of Nikaia and Drapetsona.

Piraeus is connected to Athens through the main Avenue of Athinon - Piraeus. As we drive through Piraeus Avenue and pass Neo Faliro we are heading to the Port of Piraeus. Grigoriou Lambraki Avenue and that of Heroon Polytechneiou Avenue (at the beginning of the street is named 34 Syntagma Pezikou) are the two main roads from which someone can reach the city center of Piraeus by car. Akti Miaouli Avenue goes through in front of the big Port. In the conjunction of the two main Avenues of Heroon Polytechneiou and that of Vasilis Georgiou A, there is the Municipal theater of Piraeus.

In close proximity to the Port there is the Chatzikiriakeio neighborhood . The homonymous Chatzikiriakeio institution accommodates and provides help to the poor orfan children of Piraeus.
As we drive through Akti Themistokleous we discover the southwest seaside part of Piraeus. Here is located the neighborhood of Kallipolli.

A few meters before we insert Pasalimani we meet the contemporary premises of the Nautical Museum of Greece (Akti Themistokleous 12). The central Tzaneio Peripheral Hospital of Piraeus is headquarted nearby (Afentouli Avenue & Zanni).

As we continue our tour via Akti Themistokleous and Akti Moutsopoulou we are able to reach the city center of Piraeus , that of Pasalimani. The fabulous marina of Pasalimani in combination with the existence of plenty cafes, bars, fish taverns and restaurants beautify the gorgeous Limani of Zea's. The heart of the city is its citizens. Pasalimani advocates the heart of Piraeus.

Words to describe for Piraeus and Pasalimani are pride, free spirit, hard working citizens, travelling, Olympiacos Piraeus and much more. It is really a different sense when you walk through these paths of historic marina, staring the sea, the people and the beautiful view of Pasalimani.

The beautiful landscape of Pasalimani is accompanied by its beautiful marina enriched by a lot of boats and a living Port atmosphere. The Archaeological Museum of Piraeus (Charilaou Trikoupi 31) is located very close to Pasalimani and is accessible from it by foot. It is about a five minutes walking distance in order to reach it.

The History of Piraeus:

The historic city of Piraeus has it’s roots in the Neolithic period, where Piraues was firstly inhabited. The ancient architecture Ippodamos Milisios , during the classic age designed the reconstruction of the city. His work was endorsed with great success. A brilliant architectural construction that was able to be built upon great design and successful aesthetical accomplishment.

Various references from great ancient writers such as Aristotlis, Irodotos, Themistoklis, Platon have lighten the roots of ancient Monuments of Piraeus with historic testimonies. A lot of historic information derives from these unique greek ancient writtings. A great development in Piraues was started after the official establishment of the Greek State in 1834.

Rafina

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Athens East Suburbs

16000 residents that during the summer period are multiple. It is one of the biggest ports in Greece. The transportation lines of rafina join Athens with the Cycladic Islands and the Island of Evia.
Destination: Andros, Corfu, Ios, Koufonisssi, Marmari, Mykonos, Naxos, Paros, Thira Santorini, Tinos

The seaside Municipality of Rafina belongs to the northeast suburbs of Attica. It is located around 25 kilometres away from the center of Athens. The Port of Rafina is one of the biggest and most important Ports not only of Attica but also of Greece. It is a contemporary Port and the second biggest one of Attica after that of Piraeus.

Rafina is regarded as an important node of the Greek economy in the sectors of tourism and emporium. The intense passenger and commercial traffic that exists in the contemporary premises of the Port of Rafina make this place so important for Attica.

Thousands of arrivals and departures of passengers to and from the Cyclades islands and Euboea are realized daily through the Port of Rafina.

The passenger traffic is more intense during the summer period as the demand for shipping tickets is significantly increased.

After excavations in this region, the ancient prehistoric colonization of Askitario came finally to light. These founding testify the historical Charakter of the Municipallity of Rafina. The ancient name of the Area was Arafin and it was one of …. Kleisthenis

The center of Rafina has its own natural beauty and there do the visitors have the chance to discharge themselves from the intense traffic of the Port.

Rafina is renowned for the good fish that is offered through numerous fish taverns that run its services in the area. The relishes and the beautiful icons of the seafood that come up from the fish taverns and the traditional mezedopes of the city, beautify more the fabulous seaside landscape of Rafina.
The unique view, the walk near the sea and the moments of relaxing with good company are a few good reasons for the visitor to visit Rafina.

Nea Makri

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Athens East Suburbs

Nea Makri is the beautiful seaside east suburb of Attica that attracts the interest of the visitors especially the summer period. It is located 32 km away from the center of Athens.

Nea Makri was established as Municipallity in 1924. It was inhabited by the first refugees who came from the areas of Lykia, Makri and Livisi of Micro Asia. The permanent residents are approximately 15.000 and during the summer period around 60.000 people live in the area.

Access:

The visitor can reach Nea Makri through Pentelis Avenue, Marathonos Avenue, Attiki Odos or even though via Dionysiou Avenue from Ekali. The place is accessible by public transportation (bus- ktel Line) from Pedio Areos ( near the Centre of Athens).

Zouberi is located 1 Km away from the center of Nea Makri. It got its name in the epoche of Turkish Rule in Greece from a person whose name was Zouberis. In those years Zouberis possessed a great piece of Land. The Holy Church of Metamorphosis was constructed in 1976 in Zouberi. A great unit of Military forces of aviation is extended from Zouberi to Saint Andrew beach. Near the beach there are premises such as beach volley field, beach bar, dive center café. Pets are allowed. La costa beach bar, restaurant, Bar- Club, fish taverns.

Surrounding areas are : Ionia, Agia Marina, Anatoli, Saint George, Zouberi, Mati, Neos Voutzas, Valtos.

One of the biggest Cultural and Athletic Park is situated in Nea Makri. Nea Makri Park consists of natatorium with Olympic specifications, Children Playground, café and bars, stadium of basketball, special area for gymnast.

Nea Makri beach is not an organized one and it is not specially recommended for swimming. The waters are swallows. It is recommended for families with small kids and for those who don’t know to swim properly.

Mati is situated 2 Km south away from Nea Makri. The waters are swallow in this side of the beach. There is also a small parking area there.

Saint Andrews beach distances  1 Km from Mati. It is a small beach near the chaper of Saint Andrews. Additionally a small camp for Kids is available.

Zouberi consists of 3 gulfs.

Loutsa

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Athens East Suburbs

Artemida or Loutsa as it is usually commonly called is the beautiful east seaside suburb of Attica’s prefecture. It is located around 25 kilometres away from the center of Athens. Its geographical position is also very close to the municipality of Spata and to the airport of Eleftherios Venizelos.

The municipality of Artemida borders Rafina to the north and Porto Rafti to the south. It also borders to Pikermi and Spata. The place is  accessible through car via Attiki Odos (Rafina exit), Spaton - Artemidos road and Artemidos avenue.

The main feature of Municipality of Artemida is the huge coastline and the existence of many beaches along the length of it. It is a traditional destination for excursions and entertainment for Athenians and tourists. The place consists of very good  touristic infrastractures. There are a lot of options for restaurants, fish taverns, Luna parks, cafes, bars and nightclubs. Loutsa area becomes more alive especially during the summer period. A lot of people visit the beautiful beaches to enjoy swimming , to relaxe or even to try their capabilities in water sports.

Artemida is not only a beautiful seaside place but also a historic one. During the ancient years it was an important religion center. In Loutsa was goddess Artemis (also called Artemida or Amarisia) worshipped by the faithful Athenian citizens. The deity of Amarisia originates by the worshipped goddess from Amarinthos which is located in Euboea. According to the myth the heroine Ifigeneia should have been sacrificed to goddess Athina. This Sacrifice would repel the ancient enemies of Athenians the Trojans from the sea.

The sacrifice of Ifigeneia wasn't finally realised. After this fact the two brothers Orestis and Ifigeneia decided to construct the temple of Artemida. The temple of Artemida is one of the most important findings of ancient Greece and it has a great historic importance. The holy place of goddess Artemida is located southern from Loutsa in the area of Vraurona. A few meters besides this holy place is accommodated the archaeological museum of Artemida.

Agios Nikolaos in Loutsa is the place where the wind gusts insert to the gulf of Artemida. The ideal north and south winds that blow in the area have rendered Artemida a perfect surfing center. In a daily basis a lot of windsurfers and kitesurfers visit nissakia and the gulf of Loutsa in order to enjoy their favourite watersport. The two little islands (nissakia) are easily visible from all the points of the gulf. In front of nissakia are recorded some of the most impressive windsurfing and kitesurfing demonstrations. Additionally the place is ideal for various of watersports such as sup, water bicycle and for sailing boats. The athletic spirit is vivid.