a stroll in Plaka and Monastirakian old-fashioned phonograph

The Lysikratos Monument
Adrianou St., a  typical sample of the picturesque winding lanes of Plaka
the neighborhood of the Gods, as Greeks and foreigners alike have named it, singing its praises.

Located on the northeastern slopes of the Acropolis rock, Plaka was the center of Athens since antiquity.

Plaka holds it's fascination as it manages to preserve the sense and the aroma of a more romantic and carefree era, despite the growth of the city during the last decades.

adrianou St. is the largest and most central road in Plaka. At No. 98 you turn toward the Gymnasium of Diogenis which was built in the 3rd century BC. At the corner of Erechtheos and Erotokritou St. is the small Byzantine church of St. John the Theologian, a building from the 9th century AD, in a tiny area with trees, small cafes and taverns. On the right side of Erechtheos St. is the entrance to the Monastery of the Virgin Mary of the Tomb and the church of Sts.Kosmas and Damon, 17th century).
Typical samples of nowadays ceramics and pottery that can be found in Monastiraki's shops
From Erechtheos St. you turn left toward Prytaneiou St.There is found the 11th century church of St.Nikolaos Rangavas.
A lane in Anafiotika, typical of a cycladic street lay-out
on the east side, you enter Anafiotika a very picturesque neighborhood built in the Cycladic architectural style!

There you find the churches of St.George of the Rock and St.Simeon.

To your right is Mnisikleos St. which ends at the Acropolis.

It is one of the narrowest streets in Plaka and is stepped at many places, and full of small inviting, charming taverns.

From Mnisikleos St. you turn onto Lysiou St. and from there go to Markou Avriliou St. There you will find the church of St. Spiridon, a building from the 17th century. On the same street is the "Our Lady of the Golden Castle", a large church with a courtyard. The street exits on Tholou St. where are a lot of bars.

on the upper side is Theorias St. with the small church of the Transfiguration of the Savior, a building from the Venetian period of Athens. You are now on the "Peripatos"(promenade), the road that goes around the Acropolis.

You head down, following the ancient ruins of the Panathenaic Procession, the large Roman wall and the Eleusinian wall. Opposite them is the small church of St. Ann with a beautiful garden situated on an uphill slope.
Another pleasant aspect to the Plaka scene

then you reach the large church of the Taxiarchs with the Roman Agora next to it, the Tower of the Winds and the start of Aiolou St. The Museum of Folk Instruments is on this street. One step further and just off Aiolou St. you reach a large square with taverns, cafeterias and abundant greenery. Opposite is the large Hadrian's Library (one of the largest buildings in ancient Athens, built of pentelic marble), and further down is Monastiraki Square, with the church of the Virgin Mary of All Things.
Plaka - Monastiraki
the Folk Art Museum is located at Kydathinaion St. It contains exceptional collections of objects from the traditional art of the 18th and 19th century as well as the Byzantine period.

Opposite lies the church of the Savior from the 12th century. On Kydathinaion Str. there is also the picturesque Philomousou Etaireias Square, surrounded by outdoors cafes, tavenas and ouzo bars. Don't miss the chance to enjoy here a refreshment and taste the local dainties.
Finally, from Farmaki St. you can reach Lysikratous St. with the church of St.Cathrine. This is a lovely little chapel from the 12th century.

at the intersection of Lysikratous and Shelley streets is the chronic monument of Lysikratis. This is a square pedestal which supports a small tholos and was built in 334 BC. Ancient Tripodon St. passed by here. Finally the road which connects Plaka and Monastiraki is Pandrosou St. the most colorful street in Athens.

Plaka testifies the long history of Athens taking in the account that here you will find monuments from all the historical periods of the city.
A typical nightlife scene somewhere in Plaka under the Acropolis rock
A traditional cafe somewhere in the Plaka
Today Plaka attracts many visitors from every part of the world. That vivid multinational crowd,strolling down it's narrows alleys, adds to the place's fascination. Plaka can hold you captive for many hours and even days. Countless shops line your way offering souvenirs and popular art items ,giving you the chance to take a small part of Athens back home.

Here the visitor eventually will discover a different way of life connecting with the beauty of the place.

Enjoying a glass of wine by the sacred rock of Akropolis, under a blue sky, bathed with that light that transforms the shape and the substance of all the things around, magic is present.

next to Plaka is Monastiraki. Monastiraki Square lies at the end of Pandrosou St. According to one account it owes its name to the church of the Virgin Mary which is a monastic estate of the Kaisariani Monastery whose medieval name was the Great Monastery. Monastiraki begins at Monastiraki Square, goes down to St.Philippe square, and along Ermou St. toTheseio, and Pireos St. and peters out in the surrounding narrow side streets.

at its center lies Abyssinia Square which is the place where the Sunday bazaar has been held since 1910.

Monastiraki had always been the bazaar, decked out in its gaudy colors. Everyone here talks to you about art.
View fro the Monastiraki
Of course, there are shops with real antiques. Leaving that aside, it is relaxing to walk through Monastiraki even if you do not buy anything.
Agora
Today Monastiraki is a true fair for the one who strolls through it. Thousands and thousands of things are for sale. You can find everything there.

Opposite the metro station and the Ancient Agora is the begining of the Adrianou Street.
All around the picturesque square of the church of St. Philip (17th century) you can find a lot of ouzo bars and traditional cafes offering a good chance for some refreshment with view to Acropolis and Ancient Agora. Further down, is Astingos St. with many blacksmiths.
hephaestou St. buzzes with life and all kinds of shops selling ceramics and weavings. Commercial activity continues on Ermou St. The middle of it is dominated by the insuperable Early-Byzantine church of "Kapnikarea" and the chapel of St. Barbara. On the right side of Ermou St. is the Cathedral of Athens and next to it the church of St.Eleftherios. Plaka and Monastiraki represent the old part of contemporary Athens, even if the word "old" is very relative for a city like Athens. You must pay a visit!

the National Archaelogical Museum of Athens

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The National Archaelogical
Museum of Athens

the city center

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The city center

Photos and informations taken from "Athens - Attica"
(Toubis Editions)
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