Piraeus (Athens), Greece Day 2

                                                                 The Plaka (Athens’ Oldest Neighborhood)

April 10, 2012

For our second day in Athens we chose an excursion called ‘Ancient Agora, Plaka, and Greek Mezedes’.  This was a walking tour that took us through the famous Plaka neighborhood, pictured above, along with one of the antiquities sites and a stoa from the Agora.

Our bus dropped us off in the Plaka, the oldest neighborhood in Athens, and today the center of all commerce in the city.

We walked along several streets until we got to the Agora.  As you walk in to the Agora, if you look up you see the Acropolis.  The building in the foreground in this photo is the upper part of the stoa shown in the photo below. 

The Agora was the original marketplace, the center of commerce, and a place where people gathered.  It was here that you would find the equivalent of our city hall, and any other public offices.  The Agora was really the equivalent of todays shopping mall.  The actual commerce took place in the Stoa.  The stoa building in the photos was restored with money donated for that purpose by John D. Rockefeller.  Our guide mentioned that the group of philosophers known today as the stoics were so named because on days with inclement weather, they would retreat into the stoa to continue their discussions.

The stoa is now a museum that houses many of the antiquities that have been found in the Agora area.  

When we finished our tour of the Agora we walked back into the Plaka, where we quickly came to the ruins of the Roman Agora, which was built with donations from Julius Caesar and Augustus.

The other significant ruins we saw were Hadrian’s Library.

We passed through some older-style shopping areas and residential areas on our way to the cafe where we would get to try Mezedes, the Greek appetizers that are equivalent to the Spanish tapas or Italian antipasto.  And ouzo, of course.  How can you visit Greece and not try ouzo?  Even though neither of us is a big fan of licorice, we both enjoyed the ouzo.

Our walk to the the cafe took us down Pandrossou Street, to the area where the Mitrópoli Cathedral is located.

The mezedes were delicious.  The cafe offered pleasant relaxation after a fairly lengthy walk.  We also had time for shopping after we finished eating.  We met the group again at the appointed time and walked back to our bus, which was waiting for us across from the parliament building.  Along the way there were many shops, a couple of fountains, and a group of street musicians to entertain us.

This was a very enjoyable excursion.  Athens is a beautiful city and it would be nice to be able to return and explore it more.

Please check the photo album for the photos from this tour.

© Susan L. Stone 2015                   rovingstones@me.com