Athens Things to Do Tips by Maryimelda
Athens Things to Do: 1,736 reviews and 2,949 photos
The statue of Archbishop Damaskinos Papandreou in front of the Athens Cathedral is a particular favourite of mine. This man was a true hero who showed courage beyond measure when he championed the Romaniote Jews in Athens during the German ocupation in WWII. He arranged for Jews in danger to be issued with false certificates of Baptism for their safety and he asked that all Orthodox families hide Jews in their homes. He publicly denounced the treatment of the Jews as he insisted that all Greek citizens should be treated equally by the occupying forces regardless of race or creed. When threatened with execution by a firing squad himself, he made the famous statement which is engraved on the statue,
“ According to the traditions of the Greek Orthodox Church, our prelates are hanged, not shot. Please respect our traditions!”
He was instrumental in saving the lives of about 10,000 Jews. He died in 1949 aged 58 years.
"The Archbishop was being boldly sarcastic, as he was referring to the lynching and hanging of Patriarch Gregory V of Constantinople by a Turkish mob in 1821, the point being made that the SS commander would act in a similarly barbaric fashion if he were to carry out his threat."
Address: Metropoli Square
Directions: In front of the Athens Cathedral
Tower of the Winds
North of the Acropolis and not far from the Plaka area stands the ruins of the Roman Agora. It is linked by a pathway to the Ancient Greek Agora. These were built as the commercial centres in ancient Athens with the Roman Agora eventually replacing the Ancient Greek Agora. The Roman Agora dates back to the 1st or 2nd centuries BC. This is a matter for debate as some say the 1st and others say the 2nd century which was the Hellnistic period. In the eastern section of the Roman Agora there still stands the remains of the Tower of the Winds. This is an eight sided structure that was designed as an asronomical clock.
Directions: Not far from the Plaka
Quirky cafe in the Plaka
The Plaka area was the original settlement in Athens and sits in the shadow of the Acropolis. It is a fascinating area filled these days with shops and cafes. It is a fabulous place to stroll around either before or after visiting the Acropolis. Some souvenir shopping, a photo or two and a coffee or glass of wine in the late afternoon makes for a wonderful day in Athens.
Church of Panaghia Gorgoepikoos
This is the cutest little church, which is also known as the Little Cathedral as it stands right next to the Cathedral of Athens. It is a byzantine structure, made of marble taken from an Ancient Temple which stood on the same site centuries before.
Directions: Right next door to the Athens Cathedral
Cathedral undergoing restoration
the Cathedral was built over a period of twenty years in the 19th century. It was then dedicated to the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary. It was built using materials from 72 other Greek churches which had been demolished.
The famous Patriarch Gregory V to whom I referred in my tip about Archbishop Damaskinos, is buried here. His statue, like that of Archbishop Damaskinos, can be found in the square in front of the Cathedral.
When I visited in September, 2009 there was major resotration work being done and the cathedral was surrounded by heavy scaffolding.
Address: Plateía Mitropóleos, Pláka, Athens, Greece
The new Acropolis Museum
The New Acropolis Museum is situated right across the street from the entrance to the Acropolis site. It covers an area of 25,000 sq metres with 14,000 sq metre of displays.
Tuesday to Sunday: 8.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m.
Last admission: 7.30 p.m.
Galleries cleared at 7.45 p.m.
Closed: 1 January, 25 March, Easter Sunday, 1 May, 25 December and 26 December.
General admission fee: 5 euros.
Reduced admission fee: 3 euros.Purchase tickets on site or on the website:
Public entrance at Dionysiou Areopagitou Street.
The house next door.....
Right next door to the new Acropolis Museum and directly opposite the Acropolis and Parthenon stands this lovely old house which was at the centre of a huge controversy before
the Museum was built. It was planned to destroy this house to make more room for the museum. There was so much public outcry, that one thing led to another and the house was saved. It is an historical building in itself in terms of design and age. The outside walls are ornately painted and give a beautiful building a superb finishing touch.
Directions: Opposite the Acropolis and right next door to the new Acropolis Museum
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