Thursday, 19 May 2016

Athens Chronicles | Monastiraki

Monastiraki, which means small monastery, is a neighborhood in the old city of Athens, known mainly by the flea market, held every Sunday morning, and by its souvenir and antique shops.

Starting from Syntagma Square, it is about ten minutes walk following the Ermou Street that in the route to the Monastiraki Square has no car traffic. In your way there you will find the Church of Panagia Kapnikarea, one of the most important Byzantine monuments in the city. Dedicated to Saint Mary, this small cross-shaped church was built around 1050.

Then we come to a wide but irregular square, flanked by the metro station and the Tzitaraquis Mosque (where you can find the Traditional Ceramics Museum), and where you  can catch a good sight of the Acropolis. Always full of visitors, Monastiraki Square has fruit vendors and koulória stands (delicious breads in ring shape covered with sesame seeds). From this square we reach the place where, on Sunday mornings, occurs the flea market. The streets that give access and that the surround it remind us the streets of Turkish bazaars with shops full of cheap goods. You can also find pieces of genuine handcraft, but can be more difficult. In the streets around the market are located a few antique shops, but the best ones can be found in Psiri neighborhood (have I told you that I must visit Athens one more time?).

After finishing the visit to the flea market and get back to the square, we can move forward in the direction of the Acropolis, on the Aeros Street, and we pass the ruins of Hadrian’s Library. A little further, on our left, we can see  Aeris Tower or Tower of the Winds. At the time of our visit this entire area of ​​the city was with works in progress.

If when you get out of the square you turn right, follow the Adrianou Street, having the Stoa of Attalos and the Ancient Agora to your left. On the right side of the street you can find numerous cafes and restaurants with nice terraces. Surely a lovely place to rest a little and enjoy a fresh drink after this tour that took around two and a half hours.

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