Plaka owes its name to Arvanites that settled there during the 17th Century and named this area pl(i)aka - meaning old - when it was rather uninhabited.
Ever since then, even though very few buildings maintained their initial form, it has been inhabited continuously - a fact that makes Plaka the oldest area in Athens. It is located under the Sacred Rock of Acropolis, on its northern slope and it is practically surrounded by the streets Mitropoleos, Aiolou and the Vasilissis Amalias Avenue. It is by far the quaintest neighborhood of Athens and a morning stroll there is something more than that: it is becoming familiar with the recent history of the city, a certain sweet flashback to the past, when life was simpler.
Plaka is full of neoclassical buildings - preserved and not - with houses from previous centuries (see on number 27 of Tripodon Street) that give a feeling of a village inside the capital itself. Walking around the area underneath the Sacred Rock, without a doubt one will have the impression that he or she is on an Aegean island. Anafiotika, full of white houses and narrow streets, owe their name to the builders from Anafi that came in 1841 to help with the reconstruction of Athens. In the most tourist streets of Plaka, the variation of the crowd, the items for sale and the offered services reaches its peak on Adrianou, Pandrosou, and Kydathinaion or in any other small street that suddenly appears as you walk around Plaka. On front display are the t-shirts printed with ancient Greek phrases and signs, statues of every kind, restaurants, leather sandals and jewelry, the "outsiders" (sponges from the islands), the helmets and the café - targets of sunny mornings.
We would not exaggerate if we mention that one's love for Athens begins in Plaka. Traditional hospitality lives there, inevitably mixed with the essence of commercial exploitation. Under no circumstances should Plaka become a strictly tourist zone. What the residents, shop owners and patrons of the area fear most of all is Plaka's transformation into a museum-like area that would not interest Athenians. This fear is based on the removal of the cultural center during the decade of 1980. Fortunately, the Sunday stroll in Plaka remains for Athenians, even today, one of the most simple and, at the same time, strongest escape from the daily frenetic activities.
HOW TO GET THERE
BY FOOT: From Syntagma Square, follow Filellinon Street and any road you choose to go down on the right will take you into the area of Plaka.
HOT SPOTS - What we propose
During the summer nights, enjoy the latest movies under the stars and the view of Acropolis. (Kydatheneon 22)
Small and smart café in Plaka with friendly ambiance and interesting tastes. Favorite hangout of the Athenians with ouzo and snacks. (Ag. Geronta 2 & A. Chatzimichali)
Churches and Monasteries
Hills of Athens
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