This is an exciting project of finding the heart of Athens from the concrete jungle.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Exarchia - Bohemian Rhapsody

Spell it Exarchia, Exarcheia, Exarheia or Exarhia (Greek: Εξάρχεια), it is one of the most laid-back, bohemian, hip and controversial district in downtown of Athens. It is surrounded by Panepistimiou Street, Patission Street, Alexandras Avenue and it´s elitist neighboring area Kolonaki. Check your map and pin point The National Technical University of Athens and Srefi Hill, and you will find also Exarchia. Its nearest metro stations being Omonia or Panepistimio.

Architectonically area has some neoclassical and art-deco buildings with one of the first apartment buildings in Athens called The Blue Building.

Copyright 2011 Jan
What is so interesting in this neighborhood? It is famous of its freedom and anarchistic nature attracting mostly young people. It used to have a very bad reputation because of drug dealing, bloody riots and all sorts of shady business around them. Even more it is known of its historical student sit-in at the Athens Polytechnio of November 19073, under the junta. More fresh unfortunate memory in people´s minds is the shooting of 15 years old Alexandros Grigoropoulos in December 2008 that caused major riots in Athens and all over Greece. You can visit the Shrine to Alexander Grigoropoulou, on the corner of Mesolongiou and Tzabella Streets, now unofficially named Alexander Grigoropoulou Street. 

Copyright 2011 Jan
Well, if you don´t mind riot police hanging on the corners of an area, omnipresent graffiti, some alternative cool shops and colorful people, this is your relaxed place to be. At the same time it has its own unique vibe of never knowing what is going to happen next. That said this is not probably the best area to have a nice all family weekend with kids in Athens but for the young and restless person with a sharp head over his or her shoulders trying to find some cool rock clubs or Greek blues (rembetika) clubs.

Copyright 2011 Jan
The most famous meeting point is definitely the Exarhion square (the intersection of Themistokleous, Ikonomou and Stournara streets) where occasional theatrical shows and concerts take place. It is surrounded with cafes, bars and countless amounts of computer shops nearby which also gives it another name, Greek Silicon Valley. Vibrant and alternative area has also all the fair trade shops, organic food shops, comic/t-shirt/record shops and bookstores you can wish for. Places, where inhabitants such university students, immigrants, artists, intellectuals and politically active people will spend their leisure time. 
Copyright 2011 Jan
If you feel it, join for a political conversation or wander around the neighborhood (at the day time) to find something interesting that only Exarchia can offer to you. Like one of the unofficial people´s parks that are built to pressure local officials to turn Athens more ecological and green place to live. You can find anarchists planting trees and flowers or building up a coffee shop to emphasize their message to the world to change it a little bit better place.

Copyright 2011 Jan

1 comment:

  1. Μπράβο σου Γιαν... πολυ Καλή δουλειά... κρατά το ψηλά! Γιάννης