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Monastiraki Part Two: Neighbourhoods of Athens on the foothills of The Acropolis

train

 

In my previous post we went to Monastiraki and from there we walked to the Ancient Agora, where we visited the Stoa of  Attalus, the  Museum and the Temple of Hephaestus.  Then we strolled in the Youssourum (flea market).

Anafiotika map-of-archaeological-sites

Today we are going to visit Anafiotika, which is a scenic tiny neighborhood of Athens, part of the old historical neighborhood called Plaka.

Starting again from Monastiraki, after passing the Mosque and Hadrian’s Library, this time we shall turn left.

souvenir-shops

The other side of Hadrian’s Library is situated on Aeolou Street.

Hadrians Library1

 

On the corner of Pelopidas and Panos Stree we will find another mosque, called Fethiye (which means Mosque of the Conquest).  This is another 15th-century mosque, constructed during the Ottoman occopation.

 

fethiye-mosque

It was built in 1456/1458, on the ruins of a mddle Byzantine basilica. From 1834, after the Greek independence, and until the early 20th century, it was used as a military bakery.

Since then it was used mostly as a storage place for various finds from the excavations in the Agora and other antiquities.

 

fethiye-mosque-rear-side

 

Right next to the mosque is the entrance of the Roman Forum which was built next to the Ancient Athenian Agora, during the second century B.C. after the Romans conquerred the Greeks.

 

 

 

It combined the market place as well as a meeting place of the Romans, as the Romans wanted their own Forum.

 

Athens Roman Forum

Under the Northern side of the Acropolis and just opposite the Gate of Athena Archegetis is one of the most prominent remains in the site of the Roman Agora, which is the Clock of Kyrristos, also known as the Tower of the Winds.

It was built by the Greek  astronomer Andronicus of Cyrrhus during the era of Sulla around 50 BC.

aerides

 

The tower,  also called horologion (timepiece), is an octagonal structure, 3.20 metres wide and 12 metres high, made of Pentelic marble.  The structure features a combination of sundials, a water clock, and a wind vane.

aerides-wind-tower

 

aerides wind tower

 

Walking around the area of the Roman Agora there are many Museums you can visit, or you can just walk through the picturesque, narrow streets with beautiful old houses.

anafiotika-old-house anafiotika-old-house2

 

Personally, this reminded me of the beautiful old city of Nafplion.

 

 

 

 

 

Anafiotika old door

From there we headed toward the direction of Acropolis, for the neighbourhood of upper Plaka, called Anafiotika.
anafiotika

Anafiotika  lies in the northerneastern side of the hill of The Acropolis.   The first houses were built in the era of King Othon (Otto), when workers and craftsmen, from the Cycladic island of Anafi came to Athens during the 19th century, in order to work as constructor workers for the construction of various buildings in Athens, including King Otto’s Palace.
anafiotika

The new neighbourhoold was built following the architectural style of the Cycladic islands.  The workers, including carpenters or even stone and marble workers, also restored two of the churches of the 17th century, that of St. Symeon and Agios Georgios ton Vrahon (St. George of the rocks).

 

anafiotika

 

After the events of 1922, immigrants from Asia Minor also settled there, altering the population that was up to that time only from Cycladic islands. In 1950, part of this neighborhood was destroyed for archeological researches and in 1970 the Ministry of Culture started buying the houses. Nowadays there are only 45 old houses which have been restored and are protected and maintained as historical buildings.

 

the-old-university

One of the largest mansions of the 19th century, housed the first University of Athens, constructed by Architect Stamatios Kleanthis.  It is situated on Tholos Street and today it operates as a museum.
naos-metamorphoseos-tou-sotiros-anafiotika

 

On Theorias Street, is the church of Metamorphosis tou Sotiros, built during the 14th century, with its characteristic high dome. Aghia (saint) Paraskevi, also lived an ascetic life there.  Near the church, Odysseas Androutsos, a hero of the Greek Revolution, was found killed under the Acropolis on the 5th June, 1825.

 

naos-metamorphoseos-tou-sotiros-anafiotika

Like most of the churches which were built during the Byzantine era, material from ancient temples were used to build these churches,  including this one.

 

anafiotika-old-town

 

Heading downwards for our return back, we passed from tavernas, restaurants and caffeterias, where one can eat or rest, enjoying the view, drinking a cup of coffee.
anafiotika-old-town

That was exactly what we needed after walking uphill for some time.

 

anafiotika-old-town

 

After a short rest, we returned back to Aeolou Street. This street was named after Aeolos, who was the ruler of the Winds, according to Greek Mythology.  The street was originally called Aeolic Street because it ended at the site where the Tower of the Winds is situated.
hadrians-library-aeolou-street

 

We returned back to Monastiraki Street and just opposite we headed towards Athinas Street,  an interesting street to explore.

agia-kyriaki

The church of Saint Kyriaki (28 Athinas Street) was built during the Ottoman occupation.  This church was situated inside a cemetary, according to Greek tradition, which ended somewhere near Pantanassa Church, at Monastiraki.  At the time the cemetary was, of course, outside the boundaries of the city.

 

athinas-street

The street is particularly interesting for foodies as there one can buy all sorts of household traditional objects, as well as all sorts or traditional products.  At the junction with Evripidou street and other roads one can also find spices from all over the world..

 

spices

On Athinas Street you can also visit Varvakeios, the Central market of Athens, which you may read about in a prvious post.

Other relevant posts:

Athens

Monastiraki Part One:  Neighbourhoods of Athens on the foothills of The Acropolis

The Acropolis Museum

Eclipse over The Acropolis

Mount Hymettus, a paradise so close to Athens

Varvakeios:  Athens Central Market

A visit to the First Cemetery of Athens

Other Places to visit in Greece
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5 Responses

  1. A beautiful quarter I remember very well! We had a meal there…

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  2. PG

    Beeeeeeeautiful!

  3. Monastiraki is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Athens. Lovely place!
    Jess & Brandon recently posted..Visiting the Acropolis in AthensMy Profile

  4. Beautiful pictures of the area! I’m in Athens now and will have to wander over to the neighborhood. Thanks for sharing!

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