Monday, 16 May 2016

Athens Chronicles | Syntagma Square

Via Hotel Grand Bretagne

The Summer is coming and with it somme ideas for your vacations. This next few days we walk by Athens. Twenty years after the first visit, I found the city much more beautiful and well treated, radiant with light and movement. The visit was brief, in our way to Crete. Although we stay three nights in the city,  we only had little more than one day to visit so many wonderful sites, which left us a huge desire to return with more time. And in a city full of wonderful and unmissable places, is difficult to choose what to show first. As we were staying at the Hotel Grande Bretagne, Syntagma Square was our starting point for each tour and being a central area of the city, I find it one of the best reference points to know Athens.

Plateia Syntagmatos  (Constituition Square) is commonly known as Syntagma Square and  is the most famous in Athens if not in all of Greece. Initially the front lawn and garden of the royal palace (today’s Parliament), this  square is, most probably,  the true heart of modern Athens. Jammed with traffic and often used as a focal point for political protests, it’s a place of high contrasts. Luxury hotels and nice restaurants line the square, and it’s center, paved with white marble and shaded with numerous trees like oleanders, orange trees and cypresses, is a serene place, usual meeting point for Athenians, where one can take a break on the shade.

Pedestrian-friendly streets lead away from it and starting at Syntagma Square you are within walking distance of just about everything including the Acropolis, the Plaka, Monastiraki, the National Gardens, Ermou Street shopping area, Kolonaki, The Temple of Olympian Zeus, and the old marble Panathiniakos Stadium.

Via Hotel Grand Bretagne

At the top of Syntagma is the Parliament Building, formerly the King’s Palace, built between 1836 and 1840.  The building is a representative sample of the early period of Neoclassicism in Greece, and it is a work of strict geometry. The building was remodeled in 1910 to house the Hellenic parliament.

In front of the parliament building is the Tomb of the Unknown soldier. The monument is guarded 24 hours a day by the Presidential Guard, also known as Evzones (Evzoni), elite soldiers who also guard the Palace and who are chosen for their height and strength.

Via Hotel Grand Bretagne

Via Hotel Grand Bretagne

The Evzones weare the traditional 19th century costume from southern Greece. The most characteristics parts of this uniform are  the pleated skirt, called foustanela, and the pom-pom toed shoes. But I must say, this tall good looking greek boys can surely wear this uniform and still look quite manly. There is an hourly change of the guard and on Sundays at 11:00 am, there is an official change accompanied by military music.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...