A fun city of the senses!
The cosmopolitan aura of the ancient capital of culture and humanity. Athens, is he city of history and ancient civilisation. of the Parthenon, the Acropolis, the Ancient Agora... At the same time, a modern metropolis - a lively convivial capital, full of energy, that ‘gives generously’. A city that embodies humanity and the allure of the Mediterranean. A new city, bustling, free, unexpected and charming. A city that never sleeps. Full of flavours, desires and pleasures. A city that you must certainly visit at least once in your life. Welcome to Athens.
• Panepistimiou – Voukourestiou –Stadiou – Amerikis:
Athens’ ‘golden square’ bustles with life, with its historic cafés, luxury and designer shops, theatres and the wonderful shaded Spyromiliou Arcade. Even Athenians themselves may not be aware that the former Palace of the Military Pension Fund, a typical example of public building architecture during the interwar period, housed the royal stables during the Ottoman period, and that in 1923 a circus of wild animals was erected here! Opposite the building, which now houses the City Link shopping centre, you will find the Numismatic Museum of Athens, where you can enjoy your coffee in one of the city’s most beautiful gardens.
• The Royal Gardens:
Offering a green oasis in the centre of Athens, the National Garden embraces the Greek Parliament Building and extends to Zappeion Gardens. It was the palace gardens of Greece’s first royal couple, and its current size of 38 acres was demarcated in 1839. The vegetation is rich with many imported species brought to Greece by Queen Amalia’s agriculturists, as well as a variety of endemic plants. Stretching from the Presidential Palace, the Maximos Megaron (mansion), the Kallimarmaro (Panthenaic Stadium), and the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Zappeion Gardens is a favourite recreational area in the capital’s centre. The impressive mansion itself was completed in 1878 by the Danish architect Theophil Hansen, and is a semi-circular neoclassical building with a Corinthian portico. It is well worth going for a walk or a jog in the beautifully maintained gardens, and taking a break for coffee or lunch.
• Below the Acropolis:
The walk to Dionysius the Areopagite and St. Paul’s in the area below the Acropolis is perhaps the most beautiful walk in Athens’ city centre. The cafes, the new Acropolis Museum, the Makrigianni mansion, and a series of the most elegant neoclassical buildings of Athens facing the Acropolis greet you at the start of the walk. Then comes Herodion– an ancient theatre that has hosted monumental performances, and has held international events for over half a century. If you prefer, take a detour to see the site of Pnyx and then continue the walk to St. Paul’s, where the whole area of Thissio unfolds before you with dozens of cafes, ouzeries and restaurants along the wide walkway. Discover the Hill of the Nymphs with the carved Sanctuary of Pan, and take the ‘astrophysical walk’ to see the National Observatory of Athens and its museum, enjoying the view across to Piraeus and the sea.
• In Poseidon’s Temple:
Sea, sunlight and the Attic sky mingle in Sounion and the famous Temple of Poseidon, creating the perfect holiday setting that never fails to impress. Paradise can be found just a few kilometres away from Athens. The celebrities’ resorts and their luxury wellness centres, villas with private coves and swimming pools, hot tubs, gyms and massage areas. Mini golf, luxury marinas, sailing, bike rides, diving, tennis, spas. Sunset cocktails, meals of authentic Mediterranean flavours under candlelight. Breathtaking views from Sounion, and Lagonisi, Kavouri, and the seas of Vouliagmeni!
Top Destination 2017!
The respected New York Times recently chose the Greek capital out of 52 destinations around the world (15 from Europe) that they recommend their readers to visit this year - rather than one of the Greek islands, or another picturesque part of the country.
The reason for choosing a capital that has experienced the unbearable weight of an endless economic crisis - which the newspaper does not fail to point out - is the art, which converts the misery of the crisis into beautiful creation.
The title of the entry is: ‘A Post-crisis Art Boom in an Ancient Capital’, while the accompanying picture shows the impressive Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre, which was designed by the newspaper’s beloved architect, Renzo Piano. “The Greek debt crisis has not dampened Athens’s thriving arts scene” the NYT comments, making reference to a plethora of new galleries, collective initiatives and non-profit organisations that support the development of the arts.
The text mentions Radio Athens (institute for the advancement of contemporary visual culture), which hosts pop-up lectures and performances, the immigration-focused Nomadic Architecture Network, the renovated EMST National Museum of Contemporary Art which opened in a former brewery, and of course,
The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre, among others that attract visitors from around the world. Another main reason for Athens securing the 28th position in the list of the NYT’s 52 favourite global destinations (and 9th place among European destinations) is the premier artistic event of the season: documenta14, an international influential art exhibition that Athens will co-host with Kassel, Germany this year (8/4-16/7).
This high level artistic meeting is held every five years in Kassel. This year, an exception has been made for the event to be held in Athens, with a theme of recent Greek history - starting with the seven-year dictatorship.
The arts are booming despite the economic crisis, and the selection of Athens by the American newspaper for purely cultural reasons is not only flattering, but also an essential endorsement. It confirms that 2017 can the year for realising the vision of transforming the capital into a cultural centre of southern Europe; one that is capable of attracting tourists from around the world, not only for its ancient history, but also for its present, modern and vibrant artistic ‘noise’ and creation.