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Short tour at the Omonia square
A taxi driver who took as in his cab one night, told us in his own words the story about the Omonia square. He was a proud Greek man, around 65 years old. In his point of view, Omonia should have been today as best as the Syntagma square if not more. But today, the square knows as a place drug dealers ,and drunks, and prostitutes, not just in the heart of the square but in nearby zones around.
The next day, we were walking at the square , and we found there nice places to shop and eat. But when we reached to tohe Square itself, there were policemen in every single corner, looking around, and seeking for problems in their eyes.
Since I believe that a main place such as the Omonia Square is a place that its important to visit at, I would definitely say that it is a place to walk at through the day, and to stay away at night. But go there and take a look, since it is important part of Athens.
Always busy, always ugly! It’s amazing that after every new renovation this bustling square becomes even worst! This is the main square of the business centre and it means "amity/concord". It’s a pity what they have done to the square. 50 years ago there was a shading arc of palm trees but now you can see only cement.
The only good memory I have from this square is that we came to celebrate some victories of Olympiakos in football or basket. The square is usually used for sporting celebrations such as the Euro 2004, Eurobasket 2005 etc
Maybe you will find interesting the side streets with a dozen of shops run by Indian and Chinese people. After downfall it’s kind of dangerous though because there are a lot of junkies, prostitutes and other nice people that you probably want to avoid because all those side streets aint like Red Light District in Amsterdam…. The periptera(kiosks) stay open 24 hours and sell many foreign newspapers and magazines (with immigrants gathering around and chatting about the news from their countries) while other kiosks focusing on the porn magazines.
Some major streets start from the square, like Patision, Peireos, Stadiou, Athinas, El.Venizelou(Panepistimu) etc. I’ll create separate tips for most of them because it’s worth to walk in some of them. For exable Athinas Street connect Omonoia square with Monastiraki, El.Venizelou avenue and Stadiou street connect Omonoia Square with Syntagma Square.
Have a wander around the Omonia area.
Gritty, noisy, a bit edgy.........the area around Omonia Square is how I remember London's Soho years ago. Frantically busy in the daytime with people and traffic, pavements crowded and streets equally so.
It's far more the 'real' Athens than the Acropolis area.
I understand that it has been cleaned up over the past few years, but even so I would not fancy walking around the area by myself late at night.
But it's worth exploring the market area. Originally, the streets around Omonia each had their own specialities.....similar traders clustered together. This is less obvious now, although there were still signs of how things once were: lots of fabric shops in one street, for example, machinery and tools in another.
The meat and seafood market is fascinating........especially the seafood. For a landlocked Brit like me the sheer variety of fish available is amazing, and I did enjoy my wander (even the shark's head!). I didn't venture into the meat part but I suspect it is not for the squeamish (I'm not, just didn't have time).
The fruit and vegetable market was packing up when I arrived, but its colours, smells and cries made it worth a stroll.
There is a flower market too, but either it wasn't happening that day or I was too late: only a few stalls remained, selling plants rather than flowers.
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The Omonia square is the Athens oldest square. It's surrounded with fast-food stores and the enormous famous old cafeterias.
Greeks have rebuilt the square several times in the last few years to 'get it right'. The current version of Omonia square is a mystery because nobody knows if it is finished or not but personally I would have loved to see a few more trees there... (If you go downstairs into the metro station you can see old photos of this square in the glory days).
During the Olympic Games the square was transformed in a stage where we had the possibility to watch free concerts of different music styles.
There is a big and famous "Hondos Shopping Centre" in front of the square.
Traffic, traffic... possibly drug-trafficking too (in the night, that is)!
Someone once said, there's this hotel here... with a soul... really?
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The streets were quiet, the cabs were scanty... what happened?
In Paris, Strikes! In Athens, Football match!
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