An exploratory walk through Athens:
The countless known and lesser known antiquities of Athens makes it necessary to do a first exploratory walk. This walk can very well be done on the visitor”s day of arrival in Athens, although a certain degree of fitness is necessary. This exploratory walk takes visitors past many of the city’s antiquities, which can certainly be visited in greater detail later on.
Given the numerous (cheap) hotels around the famous Omónia square, the walk starts here. Omonia is one of the oldest squares in Athens, planned as early as 1833 (as “King Otto Square”), known from 1862 as Omonoia Square (“Unity Square”).
* Walk up from Omonia de Panepistimiou (“university street”), a road that passes the university’s highly classical buildings, surrounded by a variety of well-equipped bookstores, and walk down the road to Syntagma (“square of the Constitution”).
* Syntagma Square quickly became the main square of Athens after the construction of the royal palace for King Otto (originally the square was turned into a walking garden for Queen Amalia), and has remained so even after King Otto was chased away. The Voulí (“Parliament Building”), in which Otto’s palace was transformed from 1910 onwards, never actually was finished because lack of money the young king was forced to skip the many decorations added by the architect. In front of the palace is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, guarded 24 hours a day by the guard of honor of the Evzones.
* From Syntagma square you walk straight through the central park of Athens (“The National Gardens”) to arrive at the back to the famous Kallimarmaro, the ancient stadium of Athens, which was completely made of marble by Herodes Atticus around 150 AD was renewed with marble for the first modern Olympic Games in Athens (1896) more than 1,700 years later . In 2004 the square was completely renovated, and therefore definitely worth a visit, although the bright white marble with which the square is covered in the summer sun can only be enjoyed with sunglasses.
* Then walk through the Vasílissas Olgas (“Queen Olga Street”) past the great temple of Olympian Zeus and Hadrian’s Arch, which mark the Roman city quarters of the old town, cross the wide Syngrou, and walk through the Dionysiou Arepagitou past the Dionysos Theater and the Odeion of Herodes Atticus, where you turn left to climb the hill of Philopappos for a breathtaking view of the sea of concrete and antennas that is the modern city of Athens (the view runs to the harbor from Athens!), but also over the acropolis and Lykavittos hill.
* Descend the same way you came and cross the road to walk through the Theorias along the Acropolis to the by few appreciated Areiopagos, the place where the ancient nobility of Athens used to gather on murder matters, and where also the apostle Paul delivered his famous speech to the Athenians, hoping to win over the Athenians, who are always engaged in religious matters, to Christianity.
* Immediately after the bronze plate in which the words of Paul have been immortalized, turn left (past the cave of the Eumenides) to descend over wooded steps to the agora (“market square”) of Athens, with the Stoa of Attalos (the agora museum ) and the Theseion (actually the temple of Hephaistos), which is open to the public on Sundays free of charge, to cross via the Polygnotou (“way of Polygnotos”) past the Roman Agora and Hadrian’s library to Monastiraki (“the monastery ”), The beating tourist heart of Athens (with the many streets full of souvenir shops, one of the two well-preserved mosques from the time of Turkish rule (without a minaret, and turned into a museum of folk art). When your feet alreadyseriously hurt you better skip the next point and go straight to the alternative end of the walk.
* If you still have enough stamina to make an extra detour, it is worthwhile to walk from Monastiraki (opposite the mosque) into the Adrianou (“Hadrian’s Street”) past many restaurants that are very popular with the Greeks (especially during lunch very busy and cozy), along the agora (beautiful view of the Stoa of Attalos and the Theseion), turn right at the end of the street, and via the Ermoú left to the ancient Kerameikos district, the antique cemetery of Athens, with a beautiful museum including antique tombs (from geometric vases to classical tombstones) and the large double city gate of ancient Athens, the so-called Dipylon gate. From here you return via the Pireós (“Piraeus Street”) to Omónia.
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* (Alternative end) From Monastiraki, walk straight across the Athinas (with the great meat and fish markets of Athens, the town hall, numerous kiosks and some pet shops) straight back to Omonia.
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