Exploring the Plaka – Historical Neighborhood in Athens
With the Parthenon as its backdrop, it is easy to get lost in the past in the Plaka, one of the oldest and most historic neighborhoods in Athens. This is a place where the past and the present intersect. Whether you eat in a fine restaurant or an outdoor taverna you will have a chance to experience both the past and the present of this beautiful city.
Neighborhood of the Gods
The neighborhood is found on the eastern and northern slopes of Athens Acropolis. Labyrinth streets and neoclassical structural design, attributes that attracts visitors from all over the globe, define it. The locals also refer to it as the “neighborhood of gods” because of the multiple archaeological sites and the fact that it is close to the Acropolis.
Visit Museums and Historical Sites
There are very many museums that you can visit while at the Plaka. The Museum of Greek Folk Art features traditional art, which is housed in four separate annexes. The Athens University Museum has a wide collection of old photos and manuscripts. If you want a place your children will enjoy, too, you can visit the Museum of Greek Children’s Art, which has art that has been created by children, and plenty of hands-on experiences to keep the little ones interested.
Historic Attractions in the Plaka
Aside from museums, the Plaka also has plenty of historic attractions. Here are some of the best.
- Monument of Lysicrates. Built around 335 BC. This circular monument is mounted on a square pedestal and has six Corinthian marble columns.
- Ancient Agora. The Plaka was built around the ruins of the Ancient Agora, a thriving marketplace and common area that sat at the base of the Parthenon. It was also where the Athenian government was located.
- Roman Agora. This area was built during the Roman time period in Athens. It featured multiple structures, such as the Tower of the Winds and the Gate of Athena Archegetis.
- Kerameikos. This area is actually an ancient cemetery. It is also part of the Sacred Gate and Themistoclean Wall.
Shopping in the Plaka
No matter where you walk in the Plaka, you will find places to shop. In fact, as one of the main tourist attractions, you will find a wide variety of items such as jewelry, furs, Greek art, and even traditional Greek souvenirs. The main shopping centers are Hephaestou, Pandrosou and Adrianou. This is as much a part of the Plaka as its history.
Experience One of the Many Restaurants
The Plaka is also a prime place to experience authentic Greek cuisine. Whether you want a modern take on the old classics or traditional Greek foods built around tradition, this neighborhood has many fine choices. There are also wine bars and small bars that you can try out if you want to enjoy some great night life.
If you want a memorable place to stay while you are in Athens, you may consider finding a hotel in the Plaka. Here, you will find a mix of restaurants, bars, historic sites, and museums. This neighborhood is a great example of how Athens is able to both honor the past and be a modern, westernized city.
This post was written by Greek Boston