Syntagma Square - Parliament, Athens
The centre of Athens is actually quite small, thinking of a tourist's point of view. The most significant sights are inside a triangle of three squares; Monastiraki, Omonia and Syndagma Square pictured here.
Syndagma Square is the center of Athens and also the location of the Greek Parliament building. On the square area there are located several embassies, ministries, large companies offices, banks and luxury hotels. Syndagma Square is also the center of tourism in Athens as many major travel offices are located on the surrounding area.
Syntagma (Constitution) Square is arguably Athens' most central focus and with its magnificent Metro station is the hub of the city's public transport system with connections to lines 2 and 3 of the Metro and to the bus and tram system. The square itself is an Island in the midst of the Athens traffic and is a popular meeting place for Athenians and visitors alike.
This, like the nearby Monastiraki, is a great place to sit in one of the terraced cafes with a cold beer and just watch the world go by - though beware that a beer will be about 5 euros and a coffee at least 3!
The square is also a free Wi-Fi zone provided by the city municipality.
Syntagma is undoubtedly one of the top must see activities. Named after the constitution that the people of Athens demanded demonstrating in front of the palace on September 3rd 1843, Syntagma is the very heart of the city.The dominant building of the square is of course the Greek Parliament. This imposing structure is the most prominent neoclassical building of Athens and it was built in the period 1836-1842 to house the royal palace and residence of Greece's first king,Otto. Yet,since 1924 it houses the Greek parliament. Don't miss to visit the parliament's precious exhibits that include the first Greek constitution and many valuable paintings but also a large library.
Syntagma Square is the heart of of modrn city.it’s the main area in Athens with wireless internet access cover and many shopping streets and centers around(like Ermou st.).The first king’s palace built in 1834,is to the east of the square,which is now the greek parliament.it’s the monument,which remind the 1834’s demonstrations which led to the first constitution from king Otto.in front of the palace,there is the raised desighn and a monument of an unknown soldier.there you can see changing the guard ceremony every 20 minutes too.
When you visit the city's main square you will find tanding at the top, Parliament, formerly the royal palace, completed in 1838 for the new monarchy. The best feature of the building is the stone's magical change of color from off-white to gold to rosy mauve as the day progresses. Here you can watch the changing of the Evzone guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier -- in front of Parliament on a lower level -- which takes place at intervals throughout the day.
The Greek Parliament building was actually the former Palace of the Kings which was built between 1834-1838. This three-storey building is constructed of pentelic marble and limestone.
In front of the Parliament building lies a monument dedicated to the "Unknown Soldier". The monument is guarded, day and night, by the Evzones.
The Syntagma Square has a broad sloping area which has in its upper reaches the former Royal Palace, now called the Parliament Building. Below this is a parade ground containing the Unknown Solider. Here a pair of soldiers stand on guard dressed in the typical Evzones dress. These National Guards are changed each hour. On Sunday at 11AM there is a changing of the Guard ceremony as well. The secod part of the square continues below the metro. There is a memorial statue and fountains at the upper edge while the large square is surrounded by staid benches which are minimally used. Before 2000, the area was covered by outdoor cafes with lounge chairs at which to drink and eat.. The good old days are gone. On the north side of the square are the ancient fine hotels, the King George and the Grande Bretagne. The south and east side of the square are occupied by commercial buildings and their busy streets of traffic.
In 1843, the current House of Parliament (also known as Vouli) was built. It used to be the palace for the imported and very impopular King Otto Wittlesback. He was 17 years old, German and son of Ludwig von Bayern.
Due to a lack of money of the king, architect Friedrich von Gartner, started to complain that the building wasn´t as beautiful as he planned it to be. He had planned lots of decorations on the walls and the roof. But because of this reason the palace stayed the way it is now: a straight, solemn building.
The palace had 365 rooms and only one bathroom. This was covered by weeds and cockroaches, so it wasn´t really a nice place to live in. The palace was abandoned soon.
In 1910 the building was adapted to become the House of Parliament for the new Greek government. Today it still has this function: it shelters the National Meetinghall, the archives and lots of services and offices.
In front of the Parliament you´ll find the Grave of the Unknown Soldier.
You will get a treat when you enter some metro stations in downtown Athens because during the excavation & construction works, they uncovered many underground buildings, artifacts and other priceless items from the past. These items were restored and displayed at the metro stations where they were found.
The Syntagma Square metro station holds a secret about the third river that flowed in Athens. Currently only two rivers flow, Kifisós and Ilissus rivers, but during the excavation, they found the dry riverbed of Eridanos River, which used to flow from Lycavittos Hill. You will see this through a glass wall of the metro station, including ancient graves from Ancient Greek, Byzatine period & Early Christian time on top of the other.
Admission is FREE!
We were a little disappointed by the square, as most of the middle was blocked off. Granted, I'm sure they were getting prepared for the Christmas Market, so what did we expect visiting in early December. The square was still bustling with activity and it was nice to sit and enjoy a couple beers watching the traffic go by, while being amazed we didn't see a number of accidents. It was also a good point to catch the different trains and to start the walk to the Monastiraki area.
This is fun although you have to be sure you can handle Alfred Hitchcock.
These birds must be the best fed in the world, just buy a bag of bird food for EUR 1,00 and they will come to you... hold some in your hand and they will fly onto your amrs and head.... after some starting problems Emily very much enjoyed this and with a heroic look on her face accepted the fact that the doves´ feet and claws left scratches on her arms.
Syntagma Square, also known as the Square of the Constitution, is the heart of Athens. You can´t miss it while you´re on a trip through the city. There are three subway-entrances, the major shopping street Odos Ermou passes the square and on of the biggest attractions of the city, the changing of the guards, is at the top of Syntagma.
The top of Syntagma Square is dominated by the Parliament. The big building covers the full width of the square. In front you´ll see the changing of the guards.
In the middle piece of the square, there is a the nice, quiet part of Syntagma. Trees, grass, lots of benches, made of beautiful white marble and a nice gentil fountain, gives you a peacefull feeling in the middle of such a chaotic city.
And at the bottom of Syntagma the chaos of Athens starts. Cars drives madly across eachother, thousands of people moves like ants through the streets, banks and McDonald´s are trying to get full attention by the neon-lightning, and the Odos Ermou, full of modern shops is right there, pulling people in.
Syntagma is the perfect start for your tour through Athens. Culture, peacefullness and chaos at one point, together in harmony, that is Athens...
Syntagma Square is my base of Athens. Always start and end up here. It is a good place to start to get to know Athens. It is also in walking distance of Plaka, Monastiraki and Acropolis. Many luxurious hotels, airline offices and travel agencies.
Just to the northeast of the Plaka and right across the street from Syntagma Square is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Its location right doesn't make it the most peaceful place in Athens, but it is conveniently located within walking distance of the city's major attractions and therefore should not be missed. Try to go when the changing of the guard takes place so you can witness this interesting ceremony. I just love the guys in their off-white mini’s.
While I'm sure there is more to Syntagma Square and the Parliament Building then just feeding pigeons I just happened to have a lot of fun doing just that. Much like St. Marks Square in Venice there is a mass build up of pigeons due to the fact there are vendors selling bird feed for a euro a bag. But again I digress...as I was saying there is more to Syntagma Square then just pigeons...for example there is the changing of the guard in front of the Parliament Building that always attracts a crowd...and not just the pigeons...unless you happen to have a bag of bird feed. Syntagma Square is also a nice place to sit and people watch as it seems to be a main hub of city life for the locals as well as the tourists. You could also pigeon watch...if you were so inclined.