Walking PATH: OMONOIA to ERMOU STREET
Omonoia Square (aka Concorde Square) used to be round. Not anymore. Somehow the Modern Greek state managed to square the circle and thus solve an ancient challenge. Undoubtedly Omonoia Square has a long history and it revolves around everyday commerce and trade. From the past to recent days it has been the gate to the city for migrants from the rest of Greece and foreign migrants arriving in Athens during all major urbanization phases of the capital. It offers the most compelling sights and sounds of urban Athens, as well a multicultural ethnic mix. It is also the starting point of all grand avenues of Athens. It is an accommodation hub for tourists with small or grand hotels for all pocket sizes and walks of life. The few surviving neoclassical buildings are a pleasant contrast to the vast concrete domination in the area.
North of Omonoia extends the busy Patision Avenue. A major avenue that is crowded with bus and trolley lines that connect the city center with a number of adjacent neighborhoods. It is also the avenue that hosts the National Archaeological Museum, which is an essential visit when in Athens. Next to the museum is the National Technical University of Athens - also known as Athens Polytechnic. Its long history is connected with the overthrow of Greece's military dictatorship (junta). Patission Avenue is lined with malls, plenty of clothes outlets and discount shops for smart buys. At the same time the Pedion tou Areos Park, just off Patision Avenue, offers a pleasant stroll during the day.
The Varvakeios Food Market: The whole food culture of Athens revolves around this inner market. It is the most vibrant meat, seafood & fruits and vegetable market of Athens, where you could just browse around its halls and purchase all sorts of fresh fruits, herbs, vegetables even second-hand furniture and books. It occupies almost an entire block bordered by Athinas, Evripidou, Eolou and Sofokleous streets. The heart and soul of Varvakeios is,of course, the merchants themselves. Always raucous and vociferous but cheerful they will invite every buyer to taste their products whether it is an olive or a piece of feta cheese. No wonder that the most acclaimed Greek composer, Manos Hatzidakis made an album about it called Ballad of Athinas Street. In it he wrote: "Athinas Street is the heart of Athens. Athens is the heart of the nation. That is why all that praises Athinas Street is both national and Greek. And as the street bears the name of a Goddess and lies under the blessed shadow of the Parthenon, no man can possibly doubt its national value throughout Greece.
Plateia Kotzia is the closest to an Athenian Grand Place. It is a pedestrianized ample square, which is surrounded by the impressive Town Hall and other weighty neoclassical buildings. Eolou once led to one of the main gates of Ancient Athens and there are several sites of archaeological interest to see while shopping. Last but not least as you walk down the Eolou Street it is impossible to take your eyes off the impressive view of the Acropolis.
Heading up to Monastiraki one comes across the unique bazaar areas of Athinas Street.
Athinas Street is home to a plethora of hardware stores and clothes shops on both sides of the road. There someone can find stores selling tools, open air eateries and specialized shops for brass-work or glassware. It is also a very hospitable business area for street vendors. However, the market that stands out and attracts large crowds on a daily basis is....