In the center of Athens every corner is a surprise!
In the center of Athens every corner is a surprise! There are areas with high buildings and traffic and areas with green parks or playgrounds, areas with a lot of noise and areas where you do not hear a thing! With commercial buildings and buildings exclusively for residence. Areas with night clubs and areas with small cafes and bars. Besides all these, which are hard to miss, we located a special place in the center of Athens that is unique, historical and the inhabitants feel lucky to live in!
Of course we do not refer to the Acropolis, the Parthenon and the other monuments of Athens, nor to the places that tourists visit at the capital and enjoy when traveling to Greece. This is a nice place that is different and is located in Plaka...
Plaka is famous for its taverns and shops for Greeks and tourists. It has an area of about 3.5 square kilometers. Old restored mansions and two or three store houses with a specific architecture, imprints of another era with its own stories, full of nostalgia for their owners.
Walking through the picturesque streets of Plaka, do not be surprised if suddenly in front of you, you see a completely different neighborhood, so well integrated into the particular environment but also so different, named Anafiotika. Houses built with Cycladic architecture capture the look, gain impressions and give the by passers the feeling that they are on an island. However, you are in the heart of Athens! Anafiotika is located below the north side of the Acropolis rock.
The Delphi Oracle had prohibited the exploitation of the area in order to protect the sanctity of the place. Its name has been taken by the inhabitants of the island of Anafi, who were the first settlers in 1860, when they came to work in Athens. Some worked at the Acropolis and others were craftsmen, builders etc., who came looking for a better life and working at the city's construction sites. These were the people who built Anafiotika. They built their homes within a few days after finding the necessary materials. They had passion and will and they built their homes very simple having only the necessary facilities. They followed this architecture because either they wanted to bring with them their origins or to prevent themselves from being overwhelmed by the rhythms of the city life. Whatever the reason was, we can only feel fortunate, because they created this beautiful neighborhood that transfer us in an Aegean island, leaving behind the noise of the town!
Today, some of the houses are inhabited by the descendants of the people who created them, some were sold and unfortunately some were demolished. The visitor who walks in the narrow streets perceives the story hidden behind the walls of these houses. The point is that at this side of Athens, in this part of Plaka, some wrote their own story, which is worth to know. It’s an oasis, most perfect for a short break from work. It’s a fantastic journey that reliefs you from stress! Well it is worth to make an alternative... walk under the sacred rock to the... island alleyways.
Text & Photos: Elena Papakonstantinou