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01.                  ASSOCIATION MANAGEMENT
                    02.        PROFESSIONAL CONGRESS ORGANISER
               ...
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                                                                                                    INSIDE THIS ISSUE...
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                    NANA
                 MOUSCHOURI


                        16


           A
    CHRISTMAS
     ...
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    THE
NATIONAL
 GARDEN

     24


  ATHENS
IN 6 DAYS
                     THE
      32    CROWNE PLAZA
           ...
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            EDITORIAL
            Panagiotis Arkoumaneas
            CEO / Athens Tourism and Economic Development C...
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    Bussines News
    AEgEAn EnTERs                                      TRAm lInE nETwORk
    InTO CODEshARE AgREEm...
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    news




The Piraeus extension will result in:            AnEk: “PAssEngER lInE                            Golde...
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     BRussEls, BERlIn,                                 nEw AIRlInE AThEns AIRwAYs In-                     CITY Of A...
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news




       Additionally, Mayor Kaklamanis an-          Mr Karamanlis also announced the fol-         Mr Karama...
12




     A Christmas Story
     in Athens
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                      AThEns wAs A POPulAR TOuRIsT DEsTInATIOn,    lIvElY AnD AnImATED ChARACTER CAmE AlIvE

Christm...
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                      Syntagma Square, in the heart of Athens, was an oasis for        Celebrations were held all ov...
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Interview
                                                                          Interview
                     ...
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                                 ChRIsTIAn ICOns, ElABORATE AlTAR sCREEns (ICOnOsTAsEs), AnD vEsTmEnTs

    museums
...
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          A hIsTORICAl flAshBACk                                              A lIvIng hIsTORY

museums   The first ...
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     EvERY sEAsOn hAs ITs Own sPECIAl ChARm BuT wInTER Is AlwAYs AnD fOREvER In OuR
     hEARTs: sTROllIng AROunD wI...
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         DOwnTOwn In mOTIOn                               hOllYwOOD BlOCkBusTERs                        Athens and i...
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                                          SMALL PONDS, NARROW PATHS AND TALL TREES WHICH OFFER PLENTY OF OXYGEN

Par...
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                                                                   fOR ADulTs AnD ChIlDREn

Parks
        ◆   A play...
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     Getting Around
     WITH THE UNDERGROUND METRO SYSTEM
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                            ThE AThEns mETRO Is nOT jusT A mEAns Of TRAnsPORT. IT AlsO funCTIOns As An

  Transporta...
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     The Mall Athens
                             THERE IS NO BETTER PLACE TO EXPERIENCE THE CHRIST-
              ...
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           When you first see the Mall Athens from        EvERYThIng YOu wAnT Is hERE                   DOn’T mIss

...
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     Athens in 6 days
     DAY
     ONE
     ACROPOlIs                                        PlAkA

     It’s prob...
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                                                                     nATIOnAl gAllERY
     Athens in 6 days   DAY   ...
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nATIOnAl gARDEn                                                                                     BEnAkI musEum Of...
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podimatas
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     ThERE wAs AlwAYs sOmEThIng In ThE AIR In gAzI.
     gAzI Is A nEIghBOuRhOOD ClOsE TO ThE CEnTRE Of
     AThEns ...
Breathtaking Mag 01
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THE OFFICIAL CITY OF ATHENS MAGAZINE FOR TOURISM PROFESSIONALS

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  1. 1. 01
  2. 2. 01. ASSOCIATION MANAGEMENT 02. PROFESSIONAL CONGRESS ORGANISER 03. EVENTS & DESTINATION MANAGEMENT 04. STRATEGY & COMMUNICATION 50SCIENTIFIC AND PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS 255INTERNATIONAL MEETINGS 760UNIQUE SOCIAL EVENTS77.256PARTICIPANTS37.200ABSTRACT PAGES 17.800INVITED SPEAKERS210.000SQ. M EXHIBITION SPACE520MEDIA ACTIVITIES 4.000ACCREDITED JOURNALISTS100SKILLED PROFESSIONALS MEMBER OF
  3. 3. 3 INSIDE THIS ISSUE EDITORIAL GETTING AROUND WITH A TASTE OF THINGS GREEK 7 THE UNDERGROUND M ETRO SYSTEM 50 28 BUSSINES NEWS YELLOW PAGES 8 THE MALL ATHENS 52 30 A CHRISTMAS STORY IN ATHENS APPENDIX 12 ATHENS IN 6 DAYS 32 MAP OF PUBLIC TRANSPORT INTERVIEW: TO AND FROM THE ATHENS NANA MOUSCHOURI SIZZLING NIGHTS IN GAZI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT 16 38 58 BYZANTINE AND CHRISTIAN MUSEUM ELECTRA PALACE HOTEL ATHENS MAP OF ROAD ACCESS 18 40 TO AND FROM THE ATHENS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT WINTER IN ATHENS THE CROWNE PLAZA HOTEL 60 22 44 THE NATIONAL GARDEN WINTER CULTURAL HIGHLIGHTS 24 48 Editorial Director Athens Tourism © Breathtaking mag. All rights reserved. Giorgos Salamas and Economic Neither this publication nor any part of it Development may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval Company system, or transmitted in any form or Design Director by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, The Breathtaking mag Charalambos Andreanidis President without the prior permission of the Ath- is a quarterly publication Aikaterini Katsabe ens Tourism and Economic Development of the Athens Tourism Editorial Team Company. and Economic Nikolas Dervenoulas CEO Development Company Where opinion is expressed it is that of Sakis Dimitrakopoulos the authors and does not necessarily Panagiotis Arkoumaneas Stavros Dioskouridis coincide with the editorial views of the Contact: publisher of the Breathtaking mag. All 7 Xenofontos Street, Syntagma Director, Tourism information in this magazine is verified Illustration Development 105 57 Athens, Greece to the best of the authors’ and the pub- Lila Kalogeri Manolis Psarros lisher’s ability. However, the Breathtaking mag does not accept responsibility for T. +30 210 32 53 123 any loss arising from reliance on it. Photography Director, Athens F. +30 210 32 16 653 E. info@atedco.gr Gerasimos Domenikos Convention Bureau www.breathtakingathens.com Dimitris Koilalous George N. Angelis Aggeliki Panagiotou Production Public Relations Director Translation Proofreading EKDOSEIS KORIFI S.A. Katerina Papadopoulou Yorgos Avgoustis 253, Ethnikis Antistaseos, Laura Bodger Pallini, Attica Danae Seemann T. 210 66 65 669 Michele Spurdle F. 210 66 65 810
  4. 4. 4 NANA MOUSCHOURI 16 A CHRISTMAS STORY IN ATHENS 12 BYZANTINE MUSEUM 18
  5. 5. 5 THE NATIONAL GARDEN 24 ATHENS IN 6 DAYS THE 32 CROWNE PLAZA HOTEL 44
  6. 6. 6
  7. 7. 7 EDITORIAL Panagiotis Arkoumaneas CEO / Athens Tourism and Economic Development Company DEAR READERs, Our efforts to promote Athens as an ideal city break destination throughout the year are continuing at a steady pace. In the past three months, we offi- cially presented the activities and goals of the Athens Tourism and Econom- ic Development Company, we strengthened our ties with international tourism organizations and we laid the foundations for a direct and consistent relation- ship with the private sector that operates in the tourism industry in Athens. This is a wonderful time for Athens as the urban regeneration that is taking place will enhance the modern image of the city and will contribute immense- ly to its economic growth. Over the next five years, Athens will become a showcase for major remodelling projects. Since our goal is to promote Athens as an ideal city break destination by in- triguing, informing and interacting with visitors, we have added some new sections in the magazine aiming to provide more useful information to the tourism professional. On the following pages, you will learn about the company’s news and all the latest developments in our city. For more information, please visit our web- sites www.athensconventionbureau.gr and www.breathtakingathens.com. Enjoy your reading, and we hope to see you in Athens soon.
  8. 8. 8 Bussines News AEgEAn EnTERs TRAm lInE nETwORk InTO CODEshARE AgREEmEnT TO ExTEnD TO PIRAEus wITh BRussEls AIRlInEs The project to extend the tram line to the Aegean Airlines and Belgium’s Brussels Air- Port of Pireaus has taken another step to- lines have signed a cooperation agreement ward completion. A Joint Ministerial Deci- which allows both companies to schedule sion was signed recently by the competent flights with common codes as part of their ministries (Environment, Physical Planning networks, enabling the companies to offer and Public Works; Transport and Communi- their customers significant benefits. cations; Rural Development; and Culture) to allow for the immediate call for bids for the According to the announcement, this coop- project in January 2009. A contract is ex- erative agreement, which goes into effect pected to be signed in May 2009, with work in January 2009, will enable Aegean Airlines scheduled to begin in July and to reach com- to add Brussels to its steadily growing for- pletion by October 2010. At that time, the eign flight destination network. Aegean will extension will begin trial operations. make seats available on Brussels Airlines’ daily flight from Athens to Brussels. At the same time, Brussels Airlines will offer its pas- sengers flights through Athens to three oth- er destinations in Greece – Thessaloniki, Her- aklion and Rhodes.
  9. 9. 9 news The Piraeus extension will result in: AnEk: “PAssEngER lInE Golden Hall spans three levels, plus an un- Of ThE YEAR” fOR 2008 derground car park (with 1,400 parking spac- - a reduction in traffic by about 15,000 ve- es), totalling an area of 60,000 m2. Some hicles per day; The Cretan ANEK SA. shipping line was voted 132 shops already open for business include “Passenger Line of the Year” for 2008 as part Gap, Pull and Bear, DKNY, Lacoste, Tommy - the improvement of the city centre and of the 5th annual Greek Shipping Awards spon- Hilfiger, Mandarina Duck, Bric’s, Liu Jo, surrounding areas through renewal sored by Lloyd’s List. Vardas, Zara Home, TAG Heuer, Germanos, projects; the support of commercial uses Mastic Spa, Mulberry, Porsche design, Tumi, of local and hyperlocal importance; The awards ceremony took place at a hotel Lapin, Bang & Olufsen and Bally. Eateries in central Athens and was attended by no- and cafes include Prytaneion Gold, Meat Me, - improved services for passengers travel- table figures from politics, business and Flocafe, Starbucks and Pastis. ling by sea; shipping to highlight the significance of this particular event for Greek shipping. The two first levels feature fashion, footwear, - a reduction in air and noise pollution, with accessories, jewellery stores, housewares an accompanying improvement in the ur- ThE gOlDEn hAll and a hairdresser’s salon, as well as book- ban microclimate; shops and several coffee and snack bars. The The Golden Hall is a new shopping destina- third level accommodates five up-market res- - the reconstruction and improvement of tion for luxury and fashion, launched by Lam- taurants featuring Greek and international pavements; da Development, which officially opened its cuisine. doors to the public on 28 November. Lamda - the renewal of public areas, as well as the said that 75 million euros have been invest- PAsAl DEvElOPmEnT Korai, Alikakou and Deligianni squares, and ed in the project. hOsTs AThEns hEART the area around Evagelistria Church. gRAnD OPEnIng AT PIREOs 180 On 4 DECEmBER The Athens Heart consists of four levels of commercial and entertainment space, as well as dining areas, according to a news release. Specifically, there are 80 stores with Greek and international brand-name cloth- ing, electronics and housewares, as well as select cafes, restaurants and bars, in a 20,000 m2 area. The movable glass roof on the second level provides plenty of light and a magnificent view of the Acropolis and Lyca- bettus Hill. There are also three levels of underground parking with a 750-car capacity. This new shopping and entertainment cen- tre is a major investment for Pasal Develop- ment, as noted in the news release, as it creates jobs while serving as a focal point for the local area. Already, 95% of the prop- erties have been leased. Sotiris Theodoridis, CEO of Pasal Develop- ment, said he was pleased that the Athens Heart was completed according to plan and is now ready to serve the Athenian public, helping to upgrade the area and adding to its interest and vibrancy.
  10. 10. 10 BRussEls, BERlIn, nEw AIRlInE AThEns AIRwAYs In- CITY Of AThEns BARCElOnA, vIEnnA AuguRATED fRIDAY 17 OCTOBER PROPOsEs RElIEf AnD vEnICE ARE AEgEAn’s 2008 mEAsuREs nEw DEsTInATIOns fOR BusInEssEs Athens Airways, founded in 2008, is a new Aegean Airlines continues its course of dy- private airline based in Eleftherios Venizelos Understanding the anguish business owners namic growth with the unwavering aim of Athens International Airport. Athens Air- faced due to the economic crisis and in light serving the market demands and offering ways seeks to serve major destinations in of the Christmas season, Mayor Nikitas Kak- quality service to its customers. As the sum- Greece safely, quickly and reliably, with an lamanis stressed the need to prevent all mer 2009 schedule gets under way, the net- emphasis on high-quality service. forms of bureaucratic delays and complica- work will be enhanced with the addition of tions. To this end, he announced his intention even more European destinations from Ath- Athens Airways will provide its passengers to submit a proposal to the Athens City Coun- ens. Five popular destinations will be added: the opportunity to enjoy a new level of serv- cil during its meeting on Monday December Brussels, Berlin, Barcelona, Vienna and Ven- ice before, during and after their flight as 15 2008 that would permit business owners ice. These additions follow on the heels of part of a complete travel experience. All pas- whose stores were damaged to undertake the introduction of Paris as a destination sengers will enjoy undifferentiated benefits necessary repairs without applying for the with two flights daily, a third daily flight to and services of travelling business class. permits normally required for such work. London, and one flight from Athens to Dus- seldorf. The Athens Airways fleet will initially consist Furthermore, Mayor Kaklamanis will pro- of four 50-seat Embraer ERJ-145 jets, which pose that stores which undergo repairs re- All of the abovementioned flights will be will be delivered between November 2008 ceive an exemption from the payment of fees scheduled exclusively on brand-new Airbus and February 2009. Starting in March, sched- for the occupation of pavements for the A320/321 aircraft, which by May 2009 are uled service will include destinations in north- course of the work. expected to total 21 aircraft. Ten are to be ern Greece and the islands. Sakis Andriano- delivered between November 2008 and May poulos is owner and CEO of the company, A proposal concerning the repair of dam- 2009. whose headquarters are in Koropi. aged building facades will also be put for- ward, suggesting that these buildings be in- swIss AIRlInE BABOO corporated - with priority status - into the COnnECTs AThEns Prosopsi (facade) restoration programme, TO gEnEvA AnD nICE as long as they satisfy the necessary condi- tions. Swiss airline Baboo, based in Geneva, is a fast-growing airline which begins service from Athens International Airport to Gene- va and Nice on October 26 2008. The com- pany will run a direct scheduled service from Athens to Geneva every Monday, Wednes- day, Friday and Sunday, and one flight with a stop-over in Nice every Saturday. There will also be a service to Nice with one stop in Geneva every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
  11. 11. 11 news Additionally, Mayor Kaklamanis an- Mr Karamanlis also announced the fol- Mr Karamanlis added that special at- nounced that, within the next few days, lowing measures: tention would be paid to support the the City would complete its documenta- hotels in the centre of Athens. tion of the damages caused to public - All tourism enterprises will be funded buildings. within the framework of the govern- He said that the government’s top pri- ment’s liquidity support plan for the ority would be to address the effects of The City of Athens will give priority to economy. the global economic crisis on Greek speeding up permit issuance proce- tourism, which significantly influences dures for buildings found to have stabil- - The National Strategic Reference the course of the country’s economy. ity problems. Framework 2007-2013 will be imple- mented immediately to provide funding He expressed his determination to do Aware of the problems facing the capi- for activities related to tourism infra- everything possible to help Greek tour- tal’s tourism industry, Mayor Kaklama- structure, services and enterprises. ism overcome the problems caused by nis said he would submit a proposal for the crisis. The government will take ad- hotels operating within Athens city lim- - The portion of the transient occupan- ditional initiatives to that end if they its - which will likely encounter booking cy tax paid to local administrations will are deemed necessary, he said, while cancellations due to the negative im- be reduced from 2% to 0.5%. stressing that Greece’s status as a safe ages broadcast by the international me- and hospitable destination gained in dia - to receive an exemption from pay- - The local tax offices will immediately 2004 must be maintained. ment of sojourn tax for the month of refund any owed value added tax. December. - The Credit Guarantee Fund of Small mEAsuREs PACkAgE and Very Small Enterprises will pro- sEEks TO BOOsT TOuRIsm vide working capital loans with fully subsidised interest up to the amount A package of new measures to boost of 350,000 euros. tourism was announced by Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, stating - Immediate priority will be given to the that the government is determined to payment of outstanding amounts do everything it can to help this strate- owed for funding given to enterprises gically important sector. inducted into the Investment Law of the public investment programme. - The seasonal unemployment benefit will be made an employment bene- fit. - The issue of regulating the operation of hotels will be addressed. - The number of vouchers provided by the Workers’ Foundation for social tourism will be increased by 21% in 2009. - Enterprises participating in training programmes will be required to absorb 30% of those trained.
  12. 12. 12 A Christmas Story in Athens
  13. 13. 13 AThEns wAs A POPulAR TOuRIsT DEsTInATIOn, lIvElY AnD AnImATED ChARACTER CAmE AlIvE Christmas in Athens EvEn AT PEAk wInTER hOlIDAY sEAsOn. ThE AT ChRIsTmAs, whEn ThE CITY wAs DECORATED CITY OffERED A vARIETY Of ExCITIng ACTIvI- wITh sPARklIng lIghTs AnD ChRIsTmAs CAR- TIEs, EnOugh TO sATIsfY EvEn ThE mOsT DE- Ols AnD sOngs COulD BE hEARD ThROughOuT mAnDIng AnD DIffICulT TAsTEs. ThE CITY’s ThE CITY sTREETs.
  14. 14. 14
  15. 15. 15 Syntagma Square, in the heart of Athens, was an oasis for Celebrations were held all over Athens and events were or- Christmas in Athens children and adults alike; they participated in various events ganised in various locations throughout the city. On the Sun- under the big Christmas tree and people from all over gath- day before Christmas, we enjoyed a live Greek hip-hop act, ered and celebrated together like a big happy family. The Goin’ Through, at Kolonaki Square. The live show was fol- City of Athens had organised several small events, including lowed by a DJ set with DJs from 95.2 Athens Dee Jay and an all-day band and choir performing Christmas carols, can- endless dancing. On Saturday 27 December we went to dy cane booths, pony rides for the young and a big old-fash- Keramikos Square for another spectacular live performance ioned carousel in the middle of the square drawing young by favourite Greek pop bands Raining Pleasure and Matisse. and old for a taste of Christmas festivities! The Christmas Even though the afternoon was rather chilly, dancing and village was built complete with elves and Christmas orna- the music from the DJs of 95.2 Athens Dee Jay kept us warm ments and children of all ages were entertained by clowns, until the show was finished. The party continued at the bars Looney Tunes characters and other performers. and clubs in the Gazi District, packed with energy and en- thusiasm, where we mingled and had a good time along with Just a few moments from Syntagma Square, at Zappeion, the young crowd of the city. young visitors wandered through the Garden of Fairytales. The National Gardens were transformed into an imaginary Over the holidays, we gained a few pounds from our visits land where children experienced the magical world of fairy- to the various restaurants and tavernas offering tradition- tales, not only from Greece, but also from other countries al Christmas menus with mouth-watering dishes such as of the world. The Biscuit House with its Biscuit People, San- roast pork or stuffed turkey and traditional Greek Christ- ta Claus’ house, the Workshop of Wishes, the Iceman, the mas sweets called melomakarona and kourabiedes. Despite Hut of the Little Drummer Boys, and the Goblins of the Wind- the cold and looming economic crisis, people were joyous- mill were only some of the main features of interactive en- ly roaming the streets of Athens bundled in scarves and tertainment in the Gardens to be discovered and enjoyed. mittens. The Megaron Athens Music Hall, only a few metro stops away The year 2009 was welcomed with dazzling fireworks, bus- from Syntagma, was an excellent choice to spend the early tling energy, music and plenty of wishes for a happy new part of an evening filled with Christmas tunes in a programme year all over town. Thousands of people gathered in the designed especially to conjure some holiday magic. streets of Athens to bid a shared farewell to 2008 and ex- press their joyfulness and hopes for 2009. We visited various A stroll from Syntagma down Ermou Street, which connects parties in clubs and hotels where everybody was celebrating Syntagma Square with Monastiraki, put you in the Christmas with dancing, flowing champagne and a big smile on their mood. The pedestrianised Ermou Street was filled with Christ- faces. Early in the morning, we had a fancy breakfast in a mas spirit, featuring plenty of street musicians, chestnut plush hotel in the centre of Athens and finished up a memo- sellers, performers of all kinds and thousands of people walk- rable night in a lovely way. ing around and enjoying the celebrations. The shops were magnificently decorated, and there were plenty of opportu- nities for last-minute Christmas shopping in an atmosphere of joy and merriment. Shopping in Athens during the holiday season was a unique experience that was enjoyed by family and friends.
  16. 16. 16
  17. 17. 17 Interview Interview Nana Mouschouri ◆ hOw DID YOu fEEl ThE fIRsT TImE ◆ hOw DO YOu fEEl whEn YOu YOu PERfORmED OuTsIDE gREECE? sEE gREEks ABROAD? It felt as if I was carrying inside me all my friends, the music, I always feel especially pleased when I meet a Greek living, as the optimism of my songs, the sun, the moon and the sea of I do, far from our country because we both feel the same nos- my country and of course its history. All of these things gave talgia and the same optimism, which goes hand in hand with a me strength, but I was well aware of the fact that, after a cer- certain anxiety about our future in a foreign land. We are both tain point, the responsibility was mine and mine alone. I had proud of our cultural heritage. But, like all people who live far these intense feelings of fear and joy and the knowledge that away from home, we share an admiration for our country be- I had to perform to the best of my abilities. cause we miss it so much, but we also see that the problems that Greece faces are not unique to our country, but more or less the same wherever one happens to be. ◆ whAT DOEs AThEns mEAn TO YOu whEn YOu ARE ABROAD? ◆ whAT Is ThE wORsT mEmORY YOu hAvE Athens is the magical city that I grew up in. I saw it cry and fROm AThEns AnD whAT Is ThE BEsT? smile and I saw it destroyed and reborn. I was born in this city and it was there I matured as an artist. I was influenced by its The worst memory I have from Athens must be the latest events philosophers, its poets and its musicians. Athens is the eternal from December 2008, which left me with a bitter feeling that city, the only city that exemplifies the historical existence and there is a lack of respect for our country and particularly for the cultural identity of our country. Athens is a unique city, humanity itself. It seems that there is no proper moral upbring- unlike any other. ing anymore and all that is left is love for money and power. The best memory I have from Athens is the ‘50s, an era when peo- ple used to dream about their future, created something and built a new life in a wounded city that had been devastated by ◆ whAT DO YOu mIss mOsT ABOuT AThEns? the war. Nothing was for free and we had to work hard to gain anything, and as a result we learned first-hand that in life you As I live abroad, I miss Athens a lot, especially its light and its have responsibilities and obligations, and not only rights. sky. I miss being able to see the Acropolis, Lycabettus Hill and Philopappos Hill, the sea and the small forests (the few that have managed to survive). There are also things from the past that I miss, like the reunions at the old Floca with Nikos Gatsos, ◆ whAT Is ThE OnE ThIng ThAT YOu wIsh Manos (Hatjidakis), Melina (Merkouri), Tsarouchis and a great YOu hAD DOnE In AThEns AnD hAvEn’T many other friends of mine from that era. I also miss the ser- AlREADY ACCOmPlIshED? enades, the scent of jasmine and acacia, the old taverns and in general the whole atmosphere of the period I grew up in. We I would like to permanently settle in an apartment with my should love and respect our city, we should be concerned about husband, who loves Athens as much as I do. I would like to be it and, above all, we should be proud of it. able to say good morning to joyful and hospitable people. Fi- nally, if I could, I would like to give this city a feeling of trust, joy and peace!
  18. 18. 18
  19. 19. 19 ChRIsTIAn ICOns, ElABORATE AlTAR sCREEns (ICOnOsTAsEs), AnD vEsTmEnTs museums TRImmED wITh gOlD ARE sOmE Of ThE ExhIBITs OnE CAn ADmIRE In OnE Of ThE mOsT REnOwnED musEums In ThE wORlD. A vIsIT TO ThE BYzAnTInE AnD ChRIs- TIAn musEum Of AThEns wIll PROvE ThAT ThE EnD Of hIsTORY hAs nOT BEEn wRITTEn YET. Byzantine and Christian Museum For those not acquainted with its austere architecture, the Museum resembles an urban monastery. However, the Byzan- tine and Christian Museum is not a monastery, but a place where treasure spanning centuries is kept: the treasure of an imperial past and a cultural heritage that opened the way to Europe’s future. Situated right at the heart of Athens, the Museum has more than 25,000 artιfacts in its possession, originating from the 3rd to the 15th century and arranged in collections. A new gallery featuring the post-Byzantine collection with objects from the 16th to the 20th century is due to open soon. The exhibits are mainly from Greece, Asia Minor and the Balkans. Sculptures, icons, miniatures, frescoes, pottery and fabrics, manuscripts, sketches, anthivola (preparatory drawings), etchings and incunabula, as well as repro- ductions of Byzantine and post-Byzantine frescoes and mosaics, can be seen in the show-cases of the Museum. A musEum BEfORE ThE musEum antine, and post-Byzantine periods, while the various artefacts, and Initially, the Byzantine and Christian Museum was housed in the the sculptures in particular, were set up in such a way so as to al- Academy of Athens, where the first collections were presented to lude to their original contexts. Icons and miniatures were exhibited the public in 1924. However, in 1930 the Museum was moved to the on the upper floor. The left wing of the compound houses various Villa Ilissia which had been built by the architect Stamatios Klean- illustrative types characteristic of Byzantine art, while the right this for the Duchess of Plakentia. The main building, whose exte- wing features manuscripts, reproductions of sculptures, mosaics rior is covered with marble tiles, consists of two levels and a base- and frescoes. In the centre of the whole compound there is a round ment. This building is a towering construction at the far end of the courtyard designed by architect Kimon Laskaris. courtyard and is complemented by two low wings on either side, initially built for ancillary purposes, and by a building at the front housing the entrance gate. Architect Aristotelis Zachos designed the interior of the main building so that it could house religious artιfacts. The most radical architectural interventions are visible in the basement of the main building where three halls were remod- elled to look like characteristic temples of the Paleochristian, Byz-
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  21. 21. 21 A hIsTORICAl flAshBACk A lIvIng hIsTORY museums The first part of the exhibition is related to the Paleochristian Before you leave the Museum, make sure you visit the gift and Byzantine period. This journey back in time starts with shop where you will discover faithful reproductions of icons, the introduction to the Byzantine Empire and its connection gravures, frescoes, jewellery and various accessories. You to the ancient world. It consists of six thematic subunits: old will also find CDs, CD-ROMs, audio- and videotapes, books, forms – new symbols; the secular world; the temples of the cards, posters, children’s books, games and jigsaw puzzles. new religion; the Christianization of ancient temples; Chris- tian Egypt – coptic art; and final resting place: the Christians before death. The second major thematic unit attempts to gEnERAl InfORmATIOn give a picture of the world of Byzantium presenting impor- Address: 22 Vas. Sophias Avenue, 106 75 Athens tant aspects of Byzantine society and it consists of nine sub- Telephone: +30 210 72 11 027, +30 210 72 31 570 units: power and administration; the critical milestone; wor- Fax: +30 210 72 31 883 ship and art; the frescoes of a Byzantine temple: Diocese of URL: www.byzantinemuseum.gr Evritania; Attica: a Byzantine province; Francs and Romans E-mail: bma@culture.gr in Byzantium; facets of public and private life; the last days of glory; and the fall of Constantinople. Soon there will be a Open: Tuesday - Sunday: 08.30 - 15.00 new subunit featuring the period up to the 20th century. Tickets: €4 (reduced €2) lIfE InsIDE ThE musEum How to get there: It is a 15-minute walk from Evagelismos The Byzantine and Christian Museum is not merely a place Metro Station or from Syntagma Square. If coming by bus or that brings us closer to the past. Through its various activi- trolley, use the Rigillis Street stop. Both indoor and outdoor ties (exhibitions, workshops, scientific conferences, musical areas of the Museum are fully accessible to visitors with dis- events, lectures and book presentations) it builds a cultural abilities. relationship with all aspects of the modern era. One example is the “Adventure of a Monument,” as is the name of one the educational programmes that are being prepared by the Mu- seum in accordance with the main theme and the structure of its exhibits, as well as the regular exhibitions that are hosted there. Such programmes are intended both for or- ganised groups of visitors and for primary and secondary school students. Leaflets with information about its past and current projects can be found at the Museum ticket office.
  22. 22. 22 EvERY sEAsOn hAs ITs Own sPECIAl ChARm BuT wInTER Is AlwAYs AnD fOREvER In OuR hEARTs: sTROllIng AROunD wITh fRIEnDs, gOIng TO PARTIEs, shOPPIng, BuYIng hOT ChEsT- nuTs fROm sEllERs On EvERY CORnER, wARmIng OnE’s hAnDs wITh OnE’s Own BREATh AnD lOTs Of jOYOus lAughTER. AT nIghT, AThEns TAkEs On AnOThER PERsOnAlITY, BE- COmIng mORE glAmOROus, mORE sPARklIng, mORE sEDuCTIvE, OffERIng mORE ThRIlls ThAn AT AnY OThER TImE. ThIs Is ThE AThEns wE lOvE. Winter in Athens: The ‘hottest’ days of the year
  23. 23. 23 DOwnTOwn In mOTIOn hOllYwOOD BlOCkBusTERs Athens and in several surrounding areas winter (210-3453111) always offers a variety of The cool – and sometimes chilly – breeze We may not award Golden Globes here exhibits for its visitors to admire along makes you really feel the winter but it is but we surely like our spectacles grand with its permanent displays. The Muse- so invigorating that it is like a breath of and glamorous. At the Badminton Thea- um of Cycladic Art (210-7228321-3) offers fresh air. Hand in hand with our friends, tre (210-8840600) you can see ballet exhibitions of works of international re- we walk the streets. The most beautiful ranging from Romeo and Juliet to pro- nown, in addition to its many ancient and walk is on Dionysiou Areopagitou Street ductions by the National Theatre Ballet modern exhibits. There is also the Tech- (the pedestrian zone right below the of Prague. Another thing that you simply nopolis of the City of Athens (100 Peiraios Acropolis). There we can see the new must do is watch a movie at one of the St.), which is an art exhibit in itself, Athens meeting with the old one. Dionys- many Village Cinemas (210-8108080) housed in the former city gas works now iou Areopagitou is a place where cultures where each hall features a different film. transformed into an art venue. Your chil- spanning many centuries come join to- There is also the multi-purpose audito- dren will not be disappointed, either. The gether. A short walk from there brings rium Bios (210-342533) where you will Hellenic Children’s Museum (210- us to the National Garden, a real oasis be able to enjoy an alternative theatrical 3313995) provides little ones a gateway for quiet relaxation. The Monastiraki performance in a venue that encourages to the magic of life. area provides a flashback to times long experimental productions. As for the Pal- gone (its cafes are peerless) and for las (210-3213100), its own experimental, evening entertainment there is the Psiri avant-garde shows are always the “talk area, an impressive place ideal for food, of the town.” sTAR mIChElIn drink, theatre, or simply walking around and enjoying the night. Walking in and Contrary to popular opinion, Greek cui- around Syntagma Square at Christmas sine is not only mousaka; it is highly rat- time is a must, since the lighting of Pan- shOPPIng mARAThOn ed in the renowned Michelin guide while epistimiou Street, Vassilissis Sofias Av- our chefs are real maestros in their kitch- enue, Vassilissis Amalias Avenue and Shopping in Athens is fun as Athenians ens. It is a well known fact that Athenians Ermou Stret creates a spectacular set- are famous for their consumer prowess. are famous bon viveurs. There are many ting for those night excursions around The Attica Centre (211-1802600) is a rel- great restaurants, especially in the the centre of the city. ative newcomer, but is one of the places downtown area, such as The Brasserie that you must not miss and it is located Valaoritou (210-3641530) in trendy pe- right in the centre of Athens. If that is destrianised Valaoritou Street, the Peo- not enough, then a stroll in Kolonaki will ple (210-3389334-5) with a huge bar and lET ThE musIC BEgIn certainly make you want to stay in Ath- a modern menu, or the Rosebud (210- ens forever. There you will be able to do 3392370), whose decor is inspired by Music brings every part of Athens to life. some window shopping and visit any of cinema. The area around the Sacred Whatever it is that you like, you will be sure stores in the area cater to all tastes and Rock (Ieros Vrachos), the name of the to find it in one of the hottest spots of this budgets. Further away, in Maroussi, there hill on which the Acropolis stands, is artistic town. The centrally located Athens is The Mall Athens (210-6300000) where home to many clubs and restaurants that Concert Hall (Megaron Mousikis) (210- you are sure to find anything you desire. are certain to lift up your mood, such as 7282333), specialises in classical reper- Returning to the centre of the city, you the Athinaion Politia (210-3413795), the toire, while the Greek National Opera (Eth- should not neglect going to Ermou Street En Athinais (210-3453018), or the Stavlos niki Lyriki Skini) (210-3612461) offers all (in Syntagma Square) as its stores are (210-3467206). If you fancy a drink, head kinds of operas, 18th century to modern, some of the most famous in Athens and for the Psiri area, where many small bars operettas and ballet. The Half Note Jazz – the most important – the street will lead like the Buzz (210-3469559), the Koo- Club (210-9213310) is an alternative venue you to the archaeological site of Plaka. Koo (6933 331003), or the Kinky (210- hosting jazz, rock and folk groups from 3210355) are an indispensable part of around the world. The Gagarin 205 (210- this up-and-coming area. Needless to 8547600) is the ideal destination for those say, you should also book your table at with alternative experimental musical All ABOuT ART the famous Spondee (210-7564021) and taste, while the Glass Music Theatre (Gi- Varoulko (210-5228400), which is owned alino Mousiko Theatro) (210-9316101-4) is Athens is the city of art, with numerous by award-winning chef Lefteris Lazarou, a first-rate choice for those who enjoy museums that host world-class exhibi- as both restaurants are considered to be good music. Also, the Heaven’s Grove (To tions. The National Gallery (210-7235937- among the best in town. Perivoli tou Ouranou) in Plaka (210- 8) will amaze you not only with its own 3235517) has special Greek nights for permanent collections, but also with its those who enjoy listening to traditional exhibitions. The Benaki Museum (210- Greek music in a lively environment. 3671000), with buildings in the centre of
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  25. 25. 25 SMALL PONDS, NARROW PATHS AND TALL TREES WHICH OFFER PLENTY OF OXYGEN Parks AND WHOSE SHADE OFFERS A WELCOMING PLACE FOR PEOPLE TO SIT AND RELAX. WHILE WALKING DOWN THE MANY NARROW PATHS INSIDE THE GARDEN YOU HAVE THE FEELING THAT YOU ARE IN THE COUNTRYSIDE AND NOT JUST A FEW FEET AWAY FROM THE CENTRE OF ATHENS. THIS GREEN OASIS DOES NOT ONLY HAVE A HISTORICALLY NOTABLE NAME, BUT ALSO A COMPLEX AND INTERESTING HISTORY. The National Garden Let us then begin with its history. Once upon a time, there which still give the Garden its distinctive quality. In 1851-52 was a king whose name was Othon, the first king of mod- all the area that we see today was completed. In 1860, a ern Greece. In accordance with his own Bavarian heritage, committee of town planners charged with the city plan the King decided to build a palace right in the centre of finalised the garden’s boundaries and formalised its use, Athens that would be more impressive than the one in and in 1927, the garden ceased to be a private royal garden Versailles and at the same time reflect the nobility of and became a public park, open to the public. It was during Greece. The result was the building that now houses the that time that it was rechristened the National Garden. Greek Parliament. Nearby he decided to build (1839-40) the first official park. He first called upon the French bota- nist and landscape designer Louis Barrault to supervise the construction of this huge garden. When Barrault tired A CulTuRAl gARDEn from all the planting, Prussian botanist Friedrich Schmidt assumed the responsibility of finishing the task. Schmidt The National Garden is not only a place where you can enjoy had studied under the Bavarian Smarat and had the bril- a breath of fresh air. Queen Amalia wanted the park to in- liant idea of transporting an estimated 15,000 plants from clude cultural elements as well, to be a place that would Genova. The King asked Gerasimos Metaxas, an engineer make her walks spiritually as well as physically invigorating. with the Greek army, to do all the technical work, that is So, inside the park you will find: build the narrow pathways, the ponds, complete the pav- ing, and of course take care of the plumbing. Yet, nothing ◆ A children’s library with two reading rooms and near- would have been completed on time if it were not for Ot- ly 6,000 books. One of the reading rooms is for read- hon’s wife, Queen Amalia. The garden’s design and the ing stories and listening to music and the other, – the planting took some time, as it was not easy to transport entrance hall -- is specially designed to acquaint its so many plants and have the irrigation system ready to young visitors with its books and various activities. water them all. Initially, only 3 hectares were planted with The first Saturday every month the group “Paramith- the 15,000 plants from Italy. Later on, plants were brought osentouko” (story chest) organises readings of Greek from France, Spain, Germany, Algeria, Egypt and other traditional fairytales accompanied by live music. The nearby countries. Many species of ornamental plants that library is open daily from 9.00 – 15.00, except Sunday are now very popular in Greece were first planted on Greek and Monday (Tel: 210-3236503). soil in the National Garden. The same holds true for many species of the Greek flora, not to mention the palm trees
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  27. 27. 27 fOR ADulTs AnD ChIlDREn Parks ◆ A playground in a large space (half a hectare) The National Garden is a park ideal for walking. It is located in the on the east side of the park (near Irodou At- centre of Athens, next to Syntagma Square. It is open from sunrise tikou Street) for lots of fun and games. to sunset and there is no admission fee. There are four different entrances: one on Vassilissis Sofias Avenue, one Irodou Attikou ◆ A small collection of animals and birds (also on Street, one on Vassilissis Amalias Avenue, and a small side entrance the east side of the park) consisting of ducks, from the Zappeion Garden. You can get there on lines 2 and 3 of geese, guinea fowl, peacocks, parrots, wild the Athens Metro (Syntagma stop), by tram, by trolleybus, and by goats, a donkey, etc. bus. (For more information, call 185 or visit www.ethel.gr, www.oasa. gr, www.ametro.gr, www.isap.gr, www.athens-trolley.gr). National ◆ A small botanical museum, featuring a collection Garden, 1 Amalias Avenue, 105 57 Athens. Tel: 210 7215019, 210 of specimens of the ornamental plants present 7216542; fax: 210 7215019) in the park. ◆ A sun dial located at the Amalias Avenue entrance so that you always know what time it is! hOw BIg Is ThE nATIOnAl gARDEn? ◆ The mosaic floor of a Roman villa (425 m2) lo- The National Garden covers a total area of 15.4 hectares and it is a cated near the Vassilissis Sofias Avenue en- closed park with huge areas with trees and plants which alternate trance. with narrow, shaded pathways. Its pathways have a combined total length of 7.5 km. The clumps of trees and bushes and the flower-beds ◆ The remains of Roman baths which are located cover an area of 12 hectares. There are 7,000 trees – and 40,000 near the children’s library. There is a section of bushes in the park, 25 percent of which are deciduous and 75 percent the marble epistyle (with a Latin inscription) of evergreen. Of all the ornamental species (trees, bushes, climbing and the Adrian aqueduct which is in the area of mossy plants), 100 are part of the Greek flora and 400 have come Kolonaki. from abroad. The first two hothouses in Greece were built in the Na- tional Garden, while the water used for irrigation comes from an ◆ The iron polygonal seat of Queen Amalia which ancient aqueduct, originally built by Peisistratos, the ancient tyrant, is located on a high rock (near the playground), (6th century BC) which provides 1,085 m3 of water a day, with the where she used to sit and admire the ancient help of five wells, each giving 315 m3 of water. monuments. ◆ Six busts of historical figures (poets, politicians, musicians, etc.) ThE REBuIlDIng BEgIns ◆ Five trellises with climbing plants, the biggest Given that such a long time has passed from the time the National of which (near the artificial cave) has got a peb- Garden was built, the Greek authorities have decided that the time ble floor (465 m2) and a small fountain. has come for a general overhaul of the whole park. For that reason, a group of 14 scientists from the National Technical University of ◆ Six small ponds, the biggest of which (around Athens will be in charge of the entire process. In about 18 months, 1,000 m2) is located in the centre of the park all the unpaved pathways will be paved, all the other pathways and and has got a wooden bridge, a small waterfall, squares will have their paving replaced, the zoo buildings will be and two small islets, which double as fountains. renovated and, finally, the playground will be expanded. Plans also These ponds also function as water reservoirs call for the installation of a drainage system, new lighting, water for watering the entire area. purification system, filters and biological processes. There will also be specially designated areas to promote environmental awareness. ◆ And so the story ends and they lived happily When it is finished, the National Garden of Athens will be on a par ever after in our magical garden. with the greatest parks in Europe. The story goes on. gETTIng TO knOw ThE PARk To avoid getting lost among the narrow pathways ,you can always call 210 3231841 to get information on scheduled guided tours. The point of departure for these tours is at the Vassilissis Sofias Avenue entrance.
  28. 28. 28 Getting Around WITH THE UNDERGROUND METRO SYSTEM
  29. 29. 29 ThE AThEns mETRO Is nOT jusT A mEAns Of TRAnsPORT. IT AlsO funCTIOns As An Transportation unDERgROunD musEum sInCE mAnY sTATIOns DIsPlAY ARChAEOlOgICAl fInDs AT ThE ExACT sPOT whERE ThEY wERE DIsCOvERED, AnD OThERs ARE DECORATED wITh wORk fROm ThE mOsT wEll-knOwn ARTIsTs In gREECE. TRAvEllERs CAn slOw DOwn ThE PACE Of ThEIR jOuRnEY TO TAkE A lOOk AT ThE DIsPlAYs, whEREAs vIsITORs TO ThE CITY CAn PlAn TO sTOP Off AT sElECT PlACEs TO sEE EIThER fInDIngs fROm EARlIER CEnTuRIEs OR COnTEmPORARY CREATIOns. During the construction of the Athens Metro 50,000 objects were The 27 stations which currently operate on the two lines of the excavated from the depths of the earth. The history of Greece was metro system were opened to the public in stages from the year revealed in layers. Roman baths, a section of the Peisistratian aq- 2000 onwards. The work is still in progress, so that this rapid means ueduct, the bed of the Iridanos River and the ancient road which of transport will eventually reach most areas of the city. One of the led to the municipalities of Messogia were all unearthed at Syn- plans, for example, is to link the port of Piraeus with the airport. At tagma station. Two mass graves which date back to the beginning present, the lines cover a total of 51 kilometres and serve 650,000 of the Peloponnesian War were discovered not far from the station passengers. The two lines join up with the old Piraeus to Kifissia at Keramikos. The archaeological excavations carried out at Monas- train line and also with the tram line which leads to the closest tiraki station exposed the remains of settlements dating from be- beaches. Using the Metro gives passengers a general picture of the tween the 8th century BC (Geometric Period) and the 19th century city as a whole. Now that the Friday and Saturday services have AD. The embedded Iridanos river bed, which has been made acces- been extended to provide a night time service (until 2 am), the sible to passengers, was also unearthed at this spot. At the Acrop- Metro can also be used for evenings out. It is not coincidental that olis station, the excavation revealed graves from the Mid- and Post- centres of entertainment with restaurants and bars have sprung up Helladic periods, as well as dwellings, workshops, roads and in the areas surrounding the new stations (such as at Keramikos baths. and Fix). The Metro service is entirely safe to use at any time of day or night. It is constantly monitored and policed, and uses the most The metro connects the four points of the compass and all the ar- up-to-date fire fighting equipment and earthquake proofing. eas of Athens which serve different purposes: from the commercial quarter with its working-class districts to the more industrial areas The station at Syntagma is different to all the rest. It is located in with their well-to-do suburbs. From an architectural viewpoint, eve- the heart of the city at a point where two underground lines meet ry station is compatible with the area where it has been built. Dif- and where the tram starting point is located. It is considered to be ferent building materials (such as marble, granite or tiles), different the busiest spot in Athens, so it is no surprise that the large space aesthetics and variations in the use of space all characterise the which is available to rent is much in demand. Organisations from city beneath the ground. Artistic works of the most famous Greek both the private and public sectors choose Syntagma to promote artists have also been put on display. One example is the two works their work. Charities requesting donations, writers reading poems of art created by Alekos Fasianos especially for Metaxourgio sta- for the Ministry of Culture, and numerous bazaars are all encoun- tion, which is located in the neighbourhood where he grew up. Us- tered. The area is also used for practical purposes. For example, this ers of the Metro can see an illuminated statue of Taki (at Fix station), summer the central office of the Ministry of Economy used the a work of art created by Nikos Kessanlis (Omonia station), and a space to collect a special land and property tax, serving 30,000 structure with trees created by Kostas Tsoklis (Ethniki Amyna sta- citizens daily. In short, Syntagma station is available to anyone who tion) to mention but a few. It is worth planning to make a few stops wishes to communicate with the residents of the capital. to get a taste of both contemporary and ancient Greek civilisation. The whole scheme is of an informative nature.
  30. 30. 30 The Mall Athens THERE IS NO BETTER PLACE TO EXPERIENCE THE CHRIST- MAS SEASON THAN THE BIGGEST SHOPPING CENTRE IN ATHENS: THE MALL ATHENS, THE SHOPPING CENTRE THAT HAS BECOME THE PLACE TO MEET FRIENDS AND, OF FUN, FASHION AND FOOD COURSE, SHOP. ISN’T IT TIME YOU VISITED?
  31. 31. 31 When you first see the Mall Athens from EvERYThIng YOu wAnT Is hERE DOn’T mIss shopping a distance, it gives the impression of a huge modern art installation. As you Such a huge mall could not fail to pro- - free phone spots: make as many approach, you realise that it is indeed vide all services that you may need calls as you want, free of charge, to a place full of life that is certain to lift within easy reach. On the ground floor all national and international net- your spirits. It offers 200 different you will find the ELTA (the Greek Post works! choices for shopping, fun, and food. Its Office) so that you won’t miss the construction marked a new era and chance to send a card to your loved - Events: The Mall organises various changed the way Athenians think about ones back home. You will also find an seasonal events almost every month. shopping and entertainment. The OTE shop for your mobile phone, a dry- For instance, on November 16 there brandname chain stores, the restau- cleaner’s, a Takouni Express, in case was a fashion show where one could rants and the coffee shops, the modern your shoes need some repairing, a phar- see all the new designer trends for cinema halls and the amusement facil- macy, in case you have got a hangover the coming winter. Also, the Christ- ities for all the family satisfy every con- from too much shopping, the L.A. Hair mas shopping season began on No- ceivable need. The modern architec- Styling salon, you never know, a super- vember 15 in full holiday spirit.. tural design ensures that when you market, so you can stock up on your visit the Mall your visit will be care-free, way home. There is also an information pleasant and safe. The Mall Athens has office, many ATMs, in case you need a total area of 58,500 m2. It is located more cash, a first-aid station, a crèche InfORmATIOn in Maroussi, in the heart of the Attika and a babysitting service. You will also region, and is a few minutes’ walk from find ramps, restrooms and parking Opening hours: Mon. – Fri. 09.00 -21.00, the Neratziotissa ISAP electric railway spaces for those with disabilities, as well Sat. 09.00 – 20.00. The Mall’s car park station and from the Attiki Odos motor- as special parking places for mothers can accommodate 2,100 cars. It is con- way (Andrea Papandreou 35, Maroussi, with children. structed in three levels and has spe- Tel. 210-6300000) cially designated parking spaces for people with disabilities. It is open from 08.30 to 02.00. Restaurants and cine- gETTIng ThERE mas have their own opening hours. If you decide to go by car, you can take the Attiki Odos (Exit 11). If you come from areas that connect to Kifissias Avenue, A shORT guIDE TO ThE shOPs when you reach the Maroussi rounda- bout you turn left and follow the road The shops in the Mall Athens cover all parallel to the one that leads you to At- your shopping needs; all you have to do tiki Odos. Access by public transport is is decide whether you want to buy also very easy: clothes, shoes, toys, electronics or whatever else you want. The spacious - By ISAP Electric Railway (Line 1), use corridors, the escalators, the pleasant Neratziotissa Station. lighting and the right atmosphere will surely make you want to buy everything. - By Proastiakos Suburban Railway, On the ground floor, you will mainly find follow the pedestrian bridge be- all the big stores (supermarkets, banks, tween the Neratziotissa Station and electric goods and phones), general the Mall. This will lead you to the en- services and the amusement park. On trance of the Mall Athens. the first floor, you will find stores that sell clothes, shoes, toys, and jewellery. For more information you can visit the On the second floor, you will find stores following links: www.ethel.gr, www. that cater to younger tastes, such as oasa.gr, www.proastiakos.gr, www.ose. accessories, casual wear and more gr, www.ametro.gr, www.isap.gr, www. mainstream items. The third floor is the athens-trolley.gr, www.ktel.org, www. place to go if you want to have fun (cafés, ktelattikis.gr pizzas, snacks) or go to the movies. The fourth floor is devoted to restaurants. You do not want to leave feeling hungry, do you?
  32. 32. 32 Athens in 6 days DAY ONE ACROPOlIs PlAkA It’s probably stating the obvious, but the For a late lunch, you can go to Plaka, one of best way to spend the first day of your vis- the oldest neighborhoods in Athens. There it to Greece is with a visit to the Acropolis, you can find numerous good restaurants and considered to be one of the world’s greatest tavernas where traditional Greek cuisine and cultural monuments. So wake up early, dress ouzo can be enjoyed. Make sure that you comfortably and get ready to discover the visit Anafiotika, an area within Plaka where sensations of Athens. Metro line 2 or the the houses are influenced by the Cycladic Athens Sightseeing Public Bus, line No.400, architecture and it feels as if you are on an will take you to the Acropolis. If you take Aegean island. If you are still not tired, you the Metro, make sure that you check out the should walk toward Thission, following Di- archaelogical findings on display at the onisiou Areopagitou around the Acropolis, Acropolis station. When you arrive, you can which will lead you to the pedestrianized Ap- take a walk up Dionysiou Areopagitou Street, ostolou Pavlou Street. At Thission you will a cobbled, pedestrian road along which, you find plenty of cafés, bars, restaurants and a can admire examples of the different eras, lot of young people that make the area quite all present at once in a city that has been lively. inhabited for centuries. You can see modern apartment blocks, neoclassical buildings of the late 19th and 20th centuries and, of course, the city’s landmark, the rock of the Acropolis with the Parthenon at the top and the Herodeon Attikou amphitheater at its base. The proper entrance to the site is lo- cated at the Propylaia. The Propylaia direct you to the Parthenon, the ruins of which still dominate the center of the Acropolis.
  33. 33. 34 nATIOnAl gAllERY Athens in 6 days DAY DAY The National Gallery, across from the TWO Evangelismos Metro Station and near TREE the Hilton Hotel on the corner of Micha- lYCABETTus lakopoulou and Vasileos Konstantinou PAnAThEnAIC sTADIum avenues, offers a cultural journey into A landmark of this Greek city, Lycabet- the realms of 19th and 20th century On the third day in Athens you should tus offers wonderful trails for walking Greek art, as well as international visit- start with a visit to the Panathenaic Sta- and finding a peaceful spot in nature. ing exhibitions introducing the Greek dium. Located at Vasileos Konstantinou There is a funicular railway that can take public to artists and art movements of Avenue, it is one of the most impressive you all the way up the hill to St George’s worldwide renown. monuments in Athens. In ancient times, church or you can choose to hike the it hosted the Panathenaic Games in distance through shrubbery and trees, skOufA sTREET honor of the goddess Athena. The Sta- enjoying a little exercise and a magnif- dium hosted the first modern Olympic icent view (look out for the swimming When night falls, stay in the area and Games in 1896 and in more recent years pools on the rooftops!). walk back to Skoufa Street where a new it was the venue for the archery com- bar springs up every few weeks, making petition and the finish of the Marathon kOlOnAkI the area a must for bar flies and young in the 2004 summer Olympics. The bril- people enjoying a night out. Alterna- liance and magnificence of the stadium Minutes later on the way down, you will tively, make your way to Exarchia to is highlighted by the luminous white find your way to the elegant, well-kept discover an alternative “indie” crowd marble, in contrast with the rich green- streets of Kolonaki, the classy and glam- and their hot-spots. ery of the hillside of Agra and Ardettus orous part of town offering an array of which surround it. expensive, trendy restaurants serving various cuisines, as well as some of the hADRIAn’s gATE best Greek tavernas and coffee shops, not to mention a variety of stores for If you walk down Vassilissis Olgas Av- some of the most exciting shopping! If enue as far as its junction with Amalias you are a strict follower of design fash- Avenue, you will find Hadrian’s Gate, the ion, Diane von Furstenberg, Armani, entrance to the temple of Zeus, the fa- Lanvin, Marc Jacobs or other brands of ther of all Greek gods. He was honored avant garde art and fashion can be in this 6th century BC temple that was found in beautifully designed shops and so big it once comprised 104 columns art galleries exhibiting the hottest new that took 700 years to complete, but trends in art and architecture. today, 2,600 years later, just 15 re- main. musEum Of CYClADIC ART Making your way even further down, you can enjoy a drink in the Dexameni area, the best spot for people-watching, before heading toward the Museum of Cycladic Art. This is one of the most modern and important museums of pre- historic and ancient Greek art where you can get a glimpse into the depths of Greek history. The museum is housed in a beautiful building on Neophytou Douka Street.
  34. 34. 35 nATIOnAl gARDEn BEnAkI musEum Of IslAmIC ART DAY Opposite Hadrian’s Gate you can take a walk With a full stomach, take some time to ex- in the National Garden, a peaceful, green FOUR plore the magnificent Benaki Museum of Is- refuge in the center of Athens. This public lamic Art, situated at 22 Asomaton St and park was once the palace garden of the roy- mOnAsTIRAkI flEA mARkET 12 Diplou St. The new Museum opened in al family. It contains gardens, a zoo and small June 2004 and is the only Museum of Is- lakes and ponds, complete with ducks, swans Day 4 would not be complete without a vis- lamic Art in the Balkans. and a few peacocks. You can also find sev- it to the city’s flea market in Monastiraki. eral cafés hidden away - ideal places for a The train or the Metro (Monastiraki Station, PsYRRI snack! Lines 1 and 3) is the best way to arrive quick- ly and efficiently in the heart of the city and At night you may bar hop in Psyrri, one of sYnTAgmA squARE explore its narrow paved cobblestone the oldest neighborhoods in Athens which streets, leading to numerous traditional is full of restaurants, bars, clubs, art galler- You can exit at Vassilissis Amalias Avenue stores offering Greek souvenirs and para- ies and theaters and has become a main- and walk towards Syntagma Square. At Syn- phernalia as well as leather goods, antiques, stream entertainment area for many young tagma, just in front of the neoclassical Par- jewelry, clothes, music and many more treas- Athenians! One thing not to be missed is liament Building, it is worth watching the ures. trying the Cretan rakomelo and you are guar- Evzones in the changing of the guard. These anteed to spend the rest of your night on are soldiers dressed in the traditional attire AnCIEnT AgORA fire! If you are lucky, you may find open some that the soldiers wore when rebels won the of the city’s hottest galleries, which Psyrri War of Independence in 1821. Continue your long walk towards the ancient seems to be swarming with, and maybe pick Agora, the place where democracy and rhet- up a few pieces to bring back home. ERmOu sTREET oric were born. Beautiful ruins give a his- toric feel to the city that no other European The commercial Ermou Street, down the capital can boast of. While discovering the road from Syntagma, is an enjoyable way of birth of all ancient Greek virtue, you may spending your afternoon. You can find shops reward yourself by eating a souvlaki and sip- for all tastes and there are plenty of trendy ping a glass of ice-cold ouzo in one of the and hip bars and restaurants at which to plentiful little tavernas hidden away in dif- enjoy your evening at the nearby Koloko- ferent parts of the area. Remember, you are troni Street and Karytsi Square. below the rock of the Acropolis so the high- er up you walk, the better view you will get, and the the greater the appetite you will have to enjoy the Greek delicacies offered nearby!
  35. 35. 36 36 nEw BEnAkI musEum vOulIAgmEnI Athens in 6 days DAY If you want to go on with your explora- On your way back to Athens (or on your FIVE tion of Athens, your next stop should way to Sounion if you prefer) you should be the recently refurbished new stop and go for a dip at Lake Vouliag- nATIOnAl ARChAEOlOgICAl Benaki Museum at 138 Pireos. Metro meni mineral spa, which is reported to musEum Line 3 (Keramikos Station) will take you have many healing effects for dermato- there. Enjoy the modern architecture, logical diseases, neuralgia, headaches, Your visit to Athens would not be com- the light-filled space and the exhibits disfiguring arthritis, chronic gynecolog- plete without a visit to the National Ar- of modern Greek and international art. ical diseases and other problems. The chaeological Museum. The Museum is Make sure that you visit the exquisite lake contains minerals such as lithium, located at 44 Patission Ave, just a five- café-restaurant on the ground floor potassium, calcium and iodine. These minute walk from Victoria Station or a that offers interesting gastronomic se- minerals are known to alleviate bone and 10-minute walk from Omonia Station lections. muscle problems, as well as those men- (Line 2). The National Archaeological tioned above. If you’d rather go to the Museum is the largest museum in gAzI sea, don’t worry. Just across the street Greece and one of the world’s great mu- you can find Vouliagmeni beach, one of seums. Although its original purpose At night you really must pay a visit to the most popular beaches in Athens with was to secure all the finds from the 19th the latest hip place in Athens: Gazi. A plenty of cafés, bars, tavernas and res- century excavations in and around Ath- district full of trendy restaurants, chic taurants nearby. ens, it gradually became the central cafés, cool bars, music, and art, close National Archaeological Museum and to the old city gas-works which has been glYfADA was enriched with finds from all over turned into a museum-cultural center Greece. Its abundant collections, with that may be the only one of its kind in Another place you should visit if you go more than 20,000 exhibits, offer a pan- Europe. Take Metro Line 3, get off at to the south of Athens is Glyfada. Glyfada orama of Greek civilization from the be- Keramikos Station and make sure that stretches from the bottom of the Hymet- ginnings of prehistory to Late Antiquity. you have fun! tus Mountain and extends to the Saronic Gulf. It is the residence for many Greek kYPsElI millionaires, politicians and celebrities. It is a fashion-conscious suburb of Athens Areos Park and Kypseli lie beyond the DAY and is well known for its chic cafés, fa- museum. Kypseli is one of the oldest mous restaurants, stylish boutiques and neighborhoods in Athens and, despite SIX cosmopolitan open-air summer clubs lo- the fact that it is one of the most heav- cated next to the sea. Make sure that you ily populated areas in the world, it is a CAPE sOunIOn – TEmPlE Of visit one! Glyfada has been called beautiful place to be. The historic POsEIDOn “Knightsbridge on Sea” or the “Hellenic Fokionos Negri, a pedestrian road with Hamptons.” numerous cafés, restaurants and a park On your last day (which we hope it won’t along its length, runs through the mid- be) you should head off the beaten track dle of the district and is the perfect place and visit the Temple of Poseidon at to relax, eat something or have a frap- Sounion. Cape Sounion is one of the pé and watch the world go by. most famous and picturesque locations in Attica. It is the southern-most point in Attica and offers a breathtaking view of the Aegean and the islands. In ancient times, the temple was the last sign of civilization the Athenians saw as they sailed away from home and the first as they returned. If you have time, one sug- gestion is to stay and admire the sunset there, one of the most amazing sunsets one can witness. Close to the temple you can find a couple of tavernas to sample some fresh fish dishes and have a glass of cold ouzo.
  36. 36. 37 podimatas
  37. 37. 38 ThERE wAs AlwAYs sOmEThIng In ThE AIR In gAzI. gAzI Is A nEIghBOuRhOOD ClOsE TO ThE CEnTRE Of AThEns whICh Is OnE Of ThE fEw REmAInIng AREAs Sizzling In whICh YOu CAn sTIll COmE ACROss sInglE sTOREY hOusEs AnD ThE sCEnT Of jAsmInE. ThE AREA TAkEs ITs nAmE fROm ThE PuBlIC gAs wORks whICh OPER- Nights ATED In ThE AREA BETwEEn 1864 AnD 1884. IT wAs, AnD sTIll Is, knOwn As ‘gAzOChORI’ (gAs PlACE). in Gazi

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