Syntagma Square - Parliament, Athens
This is the main square of Athens, located in front of the Greek Parliament and probably the first and the last thing you see before heading back to the airport. I do the same every time I go to the airport by bus X95 which departs from here but I also use the square as a meeting point because I live in the center.
Sintagma means “constitution ” and there’s a story behind this name, Otto of Bavaria was chosen by the great powers to rule Greece after Greece liberation from the Turks so the greeks now have to fight against the tyranny of the Bavarians (Otto was too young, in fact a military force that came with him ruled the country). When greek soldiers(the leaders were D.Kalergis and I.Makrigiannis) got into palace demaded the king to get rid of the foreigners and forced him to create a constitution. That was back on September 3, 1843.
You can stay for a coffee at the outdoor cafes (pic 2) and check the busy people passing by. Most of the political demonstrations take place here because the square lies in front of the Greek Parliament, where you can see the Tomb of the unknown soldier. Check also the Grand Bretagne hotel, walk down Ermou or Stadiou Streets for shopping, walk into National Garden that surrounds the Parlament etc
Ah, yes! There’s free wi-fi internet access at high speeds offered by the Municipality of Athens but I will feel sorry for your poor laptop if you put it under the sun during August in Athens. RIP… :)
Beneath the marble steps leading to Amalias Avenue lies the Syntagma metro station. What’s more Tram lines departs from Amalias avenue and of course a dozen of buses passing by to/from many directions of Athens.
As elsewhere, Syntagma square is the zero point in Greece, the point from which all distances in Greece are counted. There’s not something special to dominate it (for example a sign) but yes you are in the center of Athens :)
No local stands here anyway, we seem so busy most of the times, except the days that a concert or a demonstration takes place but even then sometimes the police ‘forces’ people to move. The tourists have to see the square open and clean! :)
The square is bordered by Vassileos Georgiou A' Street to the north(Grande Bretagne hotel is here), Othonos Street to the south (bus X95 for the airport stops here), Filellinon Street to the west(where McDonalds and Public Store are) and Amalias Avenue to the east(the Parliament lies on this side).
In fact there isn’t anything special to see except some shade trees and a water fountain where pigeons drink before they go to eat from tourists’ hands. During Christmas is better as the Mayor use to put a huge tree decorated with silly colors and sometimes small wooden houses selling sweets etc It was very funny some years before when everyone went there to take sweets because they thought they were for free but got shocked after hearing the incredible prices…
Last but not least the kiosks at the square stay open 24 hours and sell many foreign newspapers, magazines among other things like cigaretes, beers, maps, Disney comics etc Just outside the main entrance to the metro there’s a guy selling koulouri (circular bread encrusted with sesame seeds), it’s very typical light snack (very popular in Turkey too)
The parliament building was formerly the King's Palace, built at 1843 by King Otto in neoclassical style which originated in Greece and is the dominant style of all the old public buildings, houses and mansions of Athens. The building used also as a hospital and a museum until 1929 when decided to house the Parliament. In front of the parliament you can see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a monument built in 1932.
The parliament house holds the Parliament of Greece of course, a unicameral legislature of 300 members, elected for a four-year term. On December 8, 1974, a referendum was conducted to decide about the nature of the form of government and the Greeks decided against monarchy and for a parliamentary republic. Before that there was a military dictatorship for seven years. Most of political demonstrations take place in front of the parliament because most of the bills are voted there to become laws of the state later. These demonstrations affects the daily life because of the traffic jam in the center but some laws are even more difficult to accept than a small delay of the bus for some of us! I wouldn’t suggest tourists to be there during demonstrations, there are numerous interesting cornerns in Athens to spend their time so they better walk and check the attractions and return later when it’s quieter.
The parliament operates a television station, "Vouli TV", a boring channel most of the times as it broadcasts sessions most of the times but sometimes broadcasts films or historical documentaries. Yes, only a few people watch this channel… but the other greek channels aint much better…Parliament organizes some exhibitions but I never managed to visit one so I don’t know much about it.
Pic 5 was taken at the left side of the parliament, it’s a statue of Eleftherios Venizelos, the eminent greek leader of early 20th century
Syntagma square which means costitution square is the heart of Athens, from there you can eaisly move around both walking or using public transports.You can read in cultural tips what kind of surprise I found there. In this square there is also the parlament.
Every hour there is the change of the guard in front of the tomb of the unknown solder.
Syndagma Square is the political and urban heart of Athens and all of Greece for that matter. Architectually speaking it is not really that interesting expect for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It sits at the base of the Parliament Building and is guarded by two Greek soldiers in traditional Greek uniforms. These soldiers are the Evzones and there uniforms are a symbol of Greece. The woollen leggings, kilts and tassled caps may make the soldier look rather effete but they are not. The Evzones are the elite of the Greek army and where at onetime recruited from the hardy mountain villagers who had fought against the Turks and later, the Germans for Greek independence. Oddly enough you have to be 6 feet high to join this particular unit which is a rarity amongst Greek men.
I stayed just two blocks west from the Syndagma so I spent alot of time wandering through the square. It is also here that you can catch the bus to the airport.
The historical Syntagma Square is central to the political and social life of the capital for. On one side of the square stands the celebrated Grande Bretagne Hotel, and on the other side the Voulis Square with the monument of the Unknown Soldier, over which dominate the Hellenic Parliament. Syntagma Square is also the commercial centre of the city, from one side looking towards Stadiou Street and from the other side towards Ermou Street.
During the excavations undertaken while constructing the metro system, many significant archaeological finds from the late Mycenaen period to the late Roman period (1100 BC - AD 300) were brought to light. Some of these finds are now exhibited in special showcases in the metro station.
Syntagma Square is the main square of Athens, located in front of the Greek Parliament. The Square is named after the Constitution King Othon was forced to grant the people after a popular and military uprising in 1843.
The eastern side of the square is higher than the western, and dominated by a set of marble steps leading to Amalias Avenue. Syntagma also includes two green areas to the north and south, planted with shade trees, while in the center of the square a large water fountain traditionally hosts the occasionally sighted Syntagma pigeons, along with heat-tormented Athenians during the summer.
You may watch my high resolution photo of Athens on the Google Earth according to the following coordinates 37º 58' 31.54" N 23º 44' 9.08" E or on my Google Earth Panoramio Syntagma Square .
The focal point of Syntagma Square is the Athens PARLIAMENT BUILDING. Built in 1840 under King Otto, the building served as the Roayal Palace until 1910 when it was destroyed by fire. It was reconstructed and reopened in 1935 as the seat of the National Assembly.
The Changing of the Guard takes place in front of the Parliament Building every hour on the hour. This ceremony is performed by a larger group of soldiers, the Evzones, every Sunday at 10:00 a.m.
The building of Parliament is a neoclassical three-floor structure designed by Friedrich von Gärtner and completed in 1843. Originally it served as a palace for the Greek monarchs. After suffering fire damage in 1909 it entered a long period of renovation.
The building was then used for many different purposes - functioning as a makeshift hospital and a museum among other things until 1929 when the government decided that the building would instead house the Parliament.
You may watch my high resolution photo of Athens on the Google Earth according to the following coordinates 37º 58' 31.54" N 23º 44' 9.08" E or on my Google Earth Panoramio Parliament .
You may watch my 2 min 58 sec VIDEO-clip Greece Athens with popular Greek music by Demis Roussos.
At the renovated Syntagma square you'll also find the zero point, i.e. the point from which all distances in Greece are counted. Contrary to other cities, it is not a painting or something like that, but a column. You are in the very center of Athens! In the square have a drink at the brand new café and watch passers-by...
I had read much about Syntagma Square in my guide book and had expected much more than what I actually saw. Its a busy street with many cars, red lights, and people. The Parliment Building stands in Syntagma Square. After all of the beautiful historic buildings I saw in Athens, the Parliment building was a bit of a disappointment for me. I did enjoy watching the guards though. I found their uniforms interesting. I did feel a little sorry them the day I visited. It was extremely warm that afternoon and they had to stand guard motionless in the heat with no shade anywhere nearby. There is a picture of the guards inculded in this group of pictures for this tip.
This noclassical building was built between 1834-1838 as the palace of the first kings. The monument of the unknown Soldier, with the two guards, called "Evzoni", who are the presidential guards. The change of the guard is every hour and it is very famous
Located in Syntagma Square, the Parliament building still serves as the seat of the Hellenic Parliament and contains various offices of the government. In front of this building, many political rallies and events have occured since the building was erected in 1840. It has undergone many changes since then, the result of which is a beautiful building in the heart of Athens.
Syntagma Square means "constitution square". It got this moniker from its long and storied history.
Long ago Greece was controlled by Turkey, but they were overthrown and Otto of Bavaria was installed as the leader. However, his government was as corrupt as the one before it, so the people rose up again. Two soldiers, Dimitrios Kallerges and Ioannes Makriyannis, together with the support of the British, drove to their troops into Syntagma Square, in front of the Parliament and demanded the king ousted and the production of a constitution within thirty days. Hence the name constitution, or Syntagma Square.