Best of Athens. Athens is an open Museum... and our Athens private driver tour guide, will introduse you the best of this city....
The history of Athens begins more then 3000 years ago when during the prehistoric times its first inhabitants created their first settlement on the rock of Acropolis. It took hundreds of years until the sacred rock of Acropolis find its glory during the golden age of Pericles 495 - 429 BC with the construction of most of its Monuments like the Parthenon by the famous architects Iktinos and Kallikrates and the Sculptor Phidias.
During those thousands of years Athens went through times of Glory and times of decline. Finally became the Capital of Greece in 1834 mostly for its location and historical importance.
The Historical center of Athens is the most important area of the city for the thousand of tourists who are visiting the Greek capital in order to admire the shrine of Democracy the Acropolis, the Parthenon, the museums and the monuments and theatres from the glorious past of Athens.
THE GREEK PARLIAMENT. The plain, neoclassical building which is the Parliament of the Greeks today, was built between 1834-1838 as the palace of the first kings. In front is the monument of the Unknown Soldier, with the two guards, called "Evzoni", who are the presidential guards (changing of the guards every two hours). Every Sunday there is a parade and a band playing the National Anthem at 10:45 a.m.
SYNTAGMA SQUARE. Here beats the heart of the modern city. The Parliament at the east of the square reminds us the deviation of its name. In 1843, the Greeks, received their first constitution from King Otho, after numerous and persistent demonstrations.
NATIONAL GARDEN. The green lung in the center of the city. Beautiful and rare flowers, trees and bushes as well as little ponds decorate the garden, which is open all day long.
PANEPISTIMIOU STREET El. Venizelou street, which is known as Panepistimiou street, is one of the central roads of Athens. Beautiful neoclassical buildings decorate it: "Iliou Melathron", meaning the palace of Troy. This was the house of Erik Schliemann. "The Academy", the highest spiritual institution of the country. "The University", "the National Library" with thousands of manuscripts and books, "the Bank of Greece" etc. These buildings are typical copies of ancient Greek architecture and will help you to imagine how Athens looked 2500 years ago.
Panepistimiou Street "University Street", named after the University of Athens, the central building of which is on the upper corner) is a major street in Athens that has run one way for non-transit vehicles since 2002 from Vasilissis Amalias Avenue, Syntagma Square and Vassilissis Sofias Avenue to Omonoia Square in which is now a pedestrian crossing and before an intersection. Its total length is about 1.2 km. The street was formally renamed as Eleftherios Venizelos Avenue in the 1980s (after the famous Prime Minister) but is still usually known by its historical name. It has six lanes, of which five are for traffic and one eastbound lane for transit buses only. Most of the street runs almost diagonally from southeast to northwest.
Buildings along the street include the Bank of Greece, Athens Eye Clinic, which it is a Byzantine style, the University of Athens, the Academy of Athens, the National Library, the Numismatic Museum, Titania Hotel, Attica Department Store,as well as a part of the Grande Bretagne Hotel and the Catholic Cathedral of Athens. Many buildings as high as ten to fifteen stories line this street. Old neoclassical buildings of no higher than two to three stories used to exist until the 1950s, when a construction spree, which lasted several decades, demolished all but a few of them.
HERMOU STREET. This is unquestionably the most chic commercial street of Athens, especially since it became a pedestrian precinct that shows off its elegant facade. Without doubt, hearing the word "shopping" is one of the first associations that the Athenian women have with this street. Starting as a pedestrian precinct at Syntagma Square, it continues as a roadway to the corner of Aiolou Street until Agion Asomaton Square – where it once again becomes a walkway until it reaches Pireos Street (across from the Technopolis complex in the area of Gazi). We could say that walking this street, one passes in front of the most important places of the center of Athens, going through Monastiraki and Psiri and continuing to view Thisio on the left and Kerameikos on the right.
Whilst visiting Greece you have a good opportunity for Athens shopping , man and women can find very good shopping prices on high quality items like shoes and clothing in many boutiques near the center like Ermou ,Metropoleos and Aiolou streets. For designer clothing the area of Kolonaki at Voukourestiou street. At Solonos and Academias street as well. Prices are about the same like in other EU countries but if you are on times of summer and winter sales you can find very good prices mostly in clothing. In the Syntagma Square area is a multitude of fur shops offering a wide range of coats, jackets and fur hats, with classic and modern designs.
NATIONAL ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM.
The National Archaeological Museum is one of the largest in Greece and one of most important museums in the world devoted to ancient Greek art. The neoclassical Museum building was founded in 1866 on a plot donated by Eleni Tositsa and was brought to completion in 1889 under the supervision of the German architect Ernst Ziller. It was constructed to house unique works of art from Greek antiquity, and its galleries are a panorama of the long evolution of ancient Greek art from the prehistoric period to Late Roman antiquity.
The Prehistoric Collection, which includes works of the great civilizations that developed in the Aegean from the sixth millennium BC to 1050 BC (Neolithic, Cycladic, Mycenaean), and finds from the prehistoric settlement at Thera.
The Sculptures Collection, which shows the development of ancient Greek sculpture from the seventh to the fifth centuries BC with unique masterpieces.
The Vase and Minor Objects Collection, which contains representative works of ancient Greek pottery from the eleventh century BC to the Roman period and includes the Stathatos Collection, a corpus of minor objects of all periods.
The Metallurgy Collection, with many fundamental statues, figurines and minor objects.
And, finally, the only Egyptian and Near Eastern Antiquities Collection in Greece, with works dating from the pre-dynastic period (5000 BC) to the Roman conquest.
PLAKA. Come to the heart of the city, to the neighborhood of the Olympic Gods, come to Plaka. 5' walk from Syntagma. At the foot of the Acropolis, there spreads out, the most alive part of the city, an open exhibition of the history of Athens and a panorama of people, monuments and tastes too. Narrow small roads, numerous taverns, restaurants, coffee shops, small picturesque squares and beautiful interesting corners. Walk through it- get to know it - feel it. Being in Plaka, you cannot but come upon some monument, witness of the past. You cannot but have at every corner an opportunity to do your shopping, to buy something for the ones you love and care about. Plaka is a place of contrasts. It can be vivid and tranquiller, it can be crowded and quiet, noisy and calm. It all depends on the place you pick to enjoy a cold glass of beer or iced coffee. After dark Plaka comes alive. The taverns with their cavernous rooms decorated with barrels and their trellis covered terraces are illuminated with multicolored lights: savoring Greek cuisine with glasses of retsina, listening to the bouzouki music and the latest singers and dancing to the modern sirtaki.
MONASTIRAKI. This was the center of the Turkish town during the Ottoman Empire, with the bazaar and the shops as well as the main mosques and administrative buildings. Monastiraki counts as the most visited area of Athens, for both Greeks and tourists it is one of the most picturesque areas of Athens, neighboring and connected to Plaka it is the easiest way to go up to the Acropolis ,to visit the Ancient Agora, the Roman Agora ,the Attalos stoa and the temple of Hephaestus. Now it is a popular commercial district incorporating the Athens flea market. Start from Syntagma Square. Go west down Odos Ermou, a busy shopping street lined with boutiques selling feminine apparel, dress materials and ready - to - wear clothes, furs and shoes, leather goods and jewelry. Some columns from the Adrian's library are in site, a mosque which has been turned into a library and a beautiful small church (Kapnikarea built on 11 C) are some of the interesting monuments of this place.
ATHINAS STREET. A central road of Athens connecting Omonia square with Monastiraki. It is here that one can feel the oriental character of the city. The main market of the city, the little shops, with their peculiar merchandise make this busy, noisy street very attractive. View Athens Photos
The restoration of Plaka, and then Thission, Psyrri and the other old neighborhoods in the centre of Athens started in the early 1990s. A vast network of pedestrian streets, together with financial incentives given to the owners of properties to renovate their homes completely changed the face of these areas. They have now become favorite spots for a quiet stroll during the day or at night. Athenians and tourists alike gather at the multitude of tiny restaurants in Psyrri, or climb up to the northern side of the Acropolis, walk through the picturesque streets of Plaka, lined with beautifully restored private homes. The so-called historic triangle of Athens, the old commercial part of the city, has also improved dramatically. Ermou, the principal commercial street, as well as many other narrower side streets have been freed from traffic and turned over to pedestrians, giving new life to this lovely part of downtown Athens, which for years had declined progressively.