Sunday 4 August 2013

The Centre at night


We decide to go to the centre of Athens for a night out. First stop, The Black Duck.

The area around Karitsi Square is full of bars and is becoming the 'in' area, taking over from Gazi, I am told

There are certainly lots of bars here. It's 8:30, and still quite hot, so most people won't come out until later

We reach the square, and that is certainly buzzing with people, out for a drink

The church is in the centre of the square, and all the bars are around it

All the glass fronts have been removed so that there is a continuation of inside and outside, and it all looks very pleasing

Athens is not an attractive city - all the beautiful neo-Classical buildings have been demolished, replaced by (mostly) unattractive apartment blocks

but it's a very vibrant, exciting place, full of life and people know how to enjoy themselves.

We now walk down Kolokotroni Street, towards St Irini Square, our destination

the shops are still open, and there are quite a few people window-shopping

this shop sells Icons

and church incense-burners - there are hundreds hanging from the ceiling

the small Byzantine church at the end of Ermou Street

We reach St Irini Square, and it's buzzing with people

How can all these people afford to go out in these times of austerity? you may ask. What they do is they buy one drink, quite often coffee, and this will do for the whole evening.

A mural on the shutters of this shop

it's extremely pleasant around here

one of the few neo-Classical buildings that are still around

and another

a side-view of the church

a stylish, minimalist bookshop

We move on to a side street and eat here, Melilotos, an exciting new discovery. The food is neo-Greek cuisine, very adventurous, delicious, and extremely cheap - our bill is 34 euros and that includes a litre of draft wine. Amazing. Don't be fooled by the empty tables: an hour after I took this photograph there were queues of people waiting for a table.


  1. I see that some of the neo-classical building is for rent. I used to love the proportion of the rooms in such buildings. So many have gone from Greece, Thessaloniki had many which I loved as a child, with cool dark gardens and vast marble halls where I would wait while aunts visited, or did business, or whatever. I loved the bannisters, the few that were fitted with ancient lifts. Time somehow slowed down in one of those buildings.
    The Byzantine churches look like ornaments now, so small and overlooked by their neighbours. On my last visit to Thessaloniki some four years ago, I had to hunt for old favourites, now even more squashed between new polikatikies.

  2. It's such a shame that these beautiful old buildings have gone. There are only few left. As you say, so well proportioned, with so many features, and so cool in the summer too. And, like you say, the Byzantine churches look so tiny now, almost irrelevant. Such destruction - all in the name of progress. 'Greece wounds me' said Odysseas Elytis: it's as true today, as when he wrote this.