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Friday, January 23, 2015

EXPLORING OUTSIDE MONASTIRAKI & PLAKA

In the past years there has been a great deal of gentrifying of old areas around Monastiraki that have now become popular 'hip areas' with Athenians and tourists.  These areas are located near Monastiraki and you can walk there or take the metro.

Old church built on site of ancient shrine

 Thissio
THISSIO is located at the west end side of the Agora and was named after a nearby ancient temple - the Temple of Hephaestion also known as the Thesseion.  It's a charming neighbourhood with neo-classical houses and many street restaurants, some with great views of the Acropolis.  Stop and have a drink of iced frappe at one of the cafes at Thission Square. The central pedestrian zone, Irakleidon St. has lots of cafes and bars  as well as traditional tavernas.


The National Observatory is nearby, the oldest research institution of Greece. The building is located on the Hill of the Nymphs where a sanctuary once stood.

Thissio Park is at the north-west section of the Agora. It was first planted with trees in 1862 and  was once the place where Greeks celebrated Easter.



You should visit the Islamic Museum of Art located in an old neo-classical building in Thission near Keramikos. www.benaki.gr  It's a change from the usual Classical and ancient displays in Greece but there is a section of the old city wall there and an ancient tomb as well.



 Psiri Square

PSIRI is located north of Monastiraki, just off Athinas Street. It is an older area that has been gentrified with several good reasonably priced hotels, restaurants, wine bars and other attractions such as the Museum of Greek Gastronomy  www.gastronomymuseumgr.com located at 13 Ag. Dimitriou St. It's worth a visit and you can have special meals there to learn more about unique Greek food. 

The Museum of Greek Gastronomy





If you like cheeses, try the Karamanlidika Tou Fani Restaurant where you can sample cheese, cold-cuts and gourmet products with traditional tastes, or Bougatsadiko were you can try delicious authenit 'bougatsa' a pie-like delicacy. The Orea Penteli is a traditional Greek taverna in the heart of Psiri Square, just a l minute walk from Monastiraki.  They serve excellent gyros accompanied by Greek wines. To 21 is a popular hang-out with live music every day.



GAZI where the old Gas Works is located can be reached by foot from Monastiraki or from the Thesseion Metro Station. This is an interesting area to browse around and the Gas Works has been turned into an exhibition centre for art shows and other events. Gazi is now considered one of the trendiest areas of Athens.

exhibition centre 


Gazi has lots of popular eateries and wine bars. I visited Cartone for lunch one day and enjoyed a delicious lunch with my favorite Mythos beer. If you prefer a change and like Asian food, Gazi has a Chinese restaurant, Asian Taste, where you can enjoy Cantonese food while taking in an excellen tview of the Acropolis.
Cartone




KERAMEIKOS was given its name because back in the ancient days it was where many potters had their shops (kerameikos=ceramics). Today it's most notably know as being the site of the ancient cemetery built just outside of Athen's original city gates.  The site itself is open daily 8 am - 8 pm, admission 2 euro. There is a small museum on the site. It's worth a walk around to see the dozens of monuments erected for the notables of the ancient times as well as portions of the old city wall and gates.

The Kerameikos Ancient Cemetary


Wall of Ancient Athens




Inside the Kerameikos Museum



The bull was a gravemarker for Dionyskos of Kollytos


I toured around these areas a number of times during my recent stay in Athens, mainly because I was doing research for the Athens Guide e-book which I wrote for an American publisher.  It was fun exploring new territory and I'll definitely check out a few more of the restaurants next time I'm in town!

NEXT:  Roman & Ottoman Plaka

1 comment:

Swathi said...

Nice post.Thanks for sharing this in your blog