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40 pictures that will make you want to visit Athens...


I was not really sure what to expect about Athens. As a cultural traveller I was looking forward to exploring the birthplace of Western Civilisation and visiting the city’s archaeological gems like the Acropolis and the awe inspiring Temple of  Hephaestus. Also as a ‘more for less’ traveller, I had heard great things about the city’s legendary streetfood scene. Beyond that, I had little clue. Given the recent economic woes, I was curious. I was curious to see how the locals were coping under the impact of the harsh austerity measures.

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I am happy to report that I came away pleasantly surprised. Despite the weight of economic uncertainty, Athenians were getting on with their day to day lives. People were pleasant, friendly and welcoming wherever we went in the city. Thanks to record tourist arrivals, the city seems to be coping well. I can’t remember seeing such a high concentration of cool chic bars, cafes and restaurants in one city. Athens has a thriving nightlife scene to rival Barcelona and Berlin. Thanks to the free this is my Athens greeters scheme, I met the fantastic Andreas and Magda who gave me a tour of the hip (non touristy) districts of Metaxourgiou and Koukaki. No tips. Just passionate locals who are keen to volunteer and show their city to visiting tourists. How cool is that?

On the recommendation of Andreas, I discovered that Athens has a beautiful stretch of beaches and sleepy seaside towns popularly known as the Athenian Riviera. Just 45 minutes away by tram, me and Sofia swam in clear, warm aquamarine blue waters at an almost empty beach in Piraiki. This was followed by a cracking, very affordable seafood lunch there. I will reveal the whole itinerary soon in a 72 hour guide of Athens but until then, I will leave you with a photoessay of our time in Athens which gives you an idea of what we discovered on the trip. 40 ( think maybe more!) of my best pictures from the trip. Hopefully, they will inspire you to

The world is waiting with bated breath for the next round of announcements on Saturday, November 22, and Saturday, November 29
New official announcements concerning the ancient tomb at Amphipolis are due to be made by the Ministry of Culture at 1 p.m. on Saturday. Culture Minister Kostas Tassoulas is holding a press conference at the Amphipolis Museum concerning the latest findings and the next stage of development at Kasta Hill. It is still uncertain whether new photographs will be issued concerning the excavation process during Saturday’s announcements.

The total result of the excavation is going to be presented at 11 a.m. on Saturday, November 29, by lead archaeologist Katerina Peristeri at the amphitheater of the Ministry of Culture in Athens.

16= Athens, Greece

When did the earliest inhabitants settle? 1,400 BC

The cradle of Western Civilization and the birthplace of democracy, Athens's heritage is still very evident. It is filled with Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman monuments and remains a hugely popular tourist destination.

Alexander the Great: “How great are the dangers I face to win a good name in Athens.”



Next year Finnair will add a seasonal service to Athens, Greece, on 5 April. The Greek capital will be served twice a week, on Wednesdays and Sundays, with Airbus A319s or A320s.

The flag carrier of Finland will also launch seasonal services to Dublin on 30 March and Malta on 2 April.

Timetables for the new routes will be designed for optimal connections with Finnair’s network of Asian destinations.

“With these new destinations we are responding to growing demand, particularly from Asia, so timetables for each of these new routes are tailored for the best possible connection to Finnair’s Asian flights,” says Petri Vuori, Finnair’s VP Global Sales.

“At the same time of course our Finnish and Baltic Rim passengers will also be able to enjoy what these fascinating destinations have to offer,” he added.

Service to all three destinations lasts until late October. The routes are now open for bookings, according to an announcement.

11 Free Things to Do in Athens

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Are you interested in visit Athens on a budget? If so, you’ll really enjoy this list of the Best Free Things to Do in Athens!

Studying abroad in Greece and living mere blocks from the Acropolis lent me the unique opportunity to know ancient Athens on an intimate level. On a student’s budget, I dedicated my free time to uncovering the secrets of the city, and unearthed some amazing experiences along the way.
Monastiraki Flea Market

Handcrafted goods, fresh fruits and stacks of soccer jerseys and jewelry dominate the stalls of Monastiraki’s bustling flea market. Literally meaning “little monastery” Monastiraki is named for the Pantánassa church monastery located in the center of the neighborhood’s square. Here more than bargain goods are to be found; Monastiraki is also home to the ancient ruins of the Roman Agora and Hadrian’s library.
Mars Hill

Mars Hill, known as Areopagus by the Greeks, has been the site of many speeches, trials and meetings over history. St. Paul the Apsotle preached here, and The Council of Nobles and the Judicial Court met on this hill. After thousands of years of weather damage and earthquakes,

The Acropolis Museum will celebrate the August Full Moon on Sunday 10 August 2014 with opera classics, film music and famous Greek melodies, performed by the historic Hellenic Air Force Band.

On the occasion of the August Full Moon, the museum will remain open from 8am to 12 midnight (free entry for all visitors from 9am onwards), giving visitors the opportunity to stroll through the galleries and enjoy the view of the Acropolis under the moonlight.

The Hellenic Air Force Band will perform at 9:30 pm in the museum’s entrance courtyard.

The band consists of senior and junior officials- high-level musicians who studied at various conservatories in Greece and were admitted into the ranks of the Air Force after passing certain examination. The Hellenic Air Force Band also participates in worldwide musical ceremonies and leads the 5th Avenue parade in New York City dedicated to the 25 March celebrations of the Greek expatriates.

Environment Ministry and City Hall working together to find a way to either salvage or demolish some 1,200 abandoned structuresDot Clear


Attikon Dot ClearDot Clear


The Environment Ministry and the City of Athens have launched an initiative aimed at restoring emblematic buildings in the Greek capital that have fallen into a state of disrepair by working with their owners to ascertain whether there is the will to salvage them or they should just be demolished. The cornerstone of the plan is for the state to cover the cost of reconstruction if the owner agrees to hand over the property for a certain number years. This model had been applied in the past with historical properties being ceded to the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) for commercial use, an initiative that helped save examples of traditional architecture in many parts of the country. 

On Tuesday Environment Minister Yiannis Maniatis met with Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis and Vivi Batsou, the head of the Organization of Athens, a service that is slated for closure. The subject of the meeting was buildings that have fallen into a state of ruin in central Athens, a burgeoning problem considering that they now number at least 1,200.

“Abandoned buildings create a string of sanitation and safety problems. The problem is quite acute in the Municipality of Athens, especially in parts of the center,” Maniatis told Kathimerini. “Together with the municipality and the Organization of Athens we are studying an entirely new approach to the problem and hope to have some solid proposals by September.”

The first problem that they have found, said Maniatis, lies in the legislation. 

Odeio“We plan to ascertain the exact ownership status and then find ways of coming up with the funds needed,” he explained. “Our aim is to create a new framework that will be applicable not just to Athens but Greece as a whole.” 
According to Batsou, there are currently 1,200 buildings in the Municipality of Athens that have been listed as abandoned, a third of which are listed for preservation.

“We aim to create a process by which we can locate all the owners and make them an offer,” she said. “For example, if a building is in very bad shape we can offer incentives for demolition. Likewise, if restoration is possible, we can offer incentives to that end as well.”

What happens, however, in the very likely case that the proprietors are not interested in getting involved in costly and lengthy restorations?

“We will give them a grace period and if they fail to take steps within that time, then the municipality will move in and undertake the cost of restoration on the condition that it is allowed to use the building for a certain period of time before handing it back to the owner,” explained Batsou. “The funds may come from the Green Fund or from the new National Strategic

Plans for the Maria Callas Museum were presented on April 2, at a press conference in the building which will host the museum in downtown Athens.

The museum will be located in a neoclassical 4-storey building at 44 Mitropoleos Street. According to Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis, the creation of the museum will cost 1 million euros and will open its doors in 2015.

The museologists Andromachi Gazi and Erato Koutsoudaki-Gerolympou said that they are focusing on giving a theater sense in each room, with stage sets and subdued lighting, and a background of Callas’ voice through her speeches and interviews which will accompany the visitors during their tour. “Our goal is to let the visitors plunge into the voice and the performance of Callas,” the museologists stressed.

During the tour, visitors will also be able to learn about the life of the great Greek artist and the historical context of her era by audiovisual documents from her performances or interviews, photographs, several exhibits and interactive applications which will help them reveal the complex life and personality of Callas. The majority of the exhibits belong to the collection of “Technopolis” but the museum will also


Aristotle Lyceum

One of the sites on the "Green Cultural Routes" program organized by the Culture Ministry’s Directorate of Museums, Exhibitions and Educational Programs Department is Aristotle’s Lyceum, which opened its doors to the public on Wednesday after an introductory event last month aimed at acquainting the public with the site and the tour.

The tour was led by the head of the Third Ephorate of Classical Antiquities, Eleni Banou.

The Lyceum, located between the Officers Club, the Athens Conservatory and the Byzantine Museum on the junction between Rigillis Street and Vassileos Constantinou Avenue will be formally inaugurated later in the summer, but is currently open to visitors from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Admission is free of charge.

Aristotle’s Lyceum is believed to have been established as the ancient philosopher’s seat of learning in 335 BC.

Signposts located at the site are insightful, informing the public about the history of the site that Aristotle rented in

The marathon is a defining event in communities around the globe. For participants, that sense of community is even greater and extends to an international group of runners who often times compete in the same events year after year.

Even many of those who do not race in the 42.195 km events regularly participate in supporting activities, including organizing races, handing out water during the events and cheering along the race routes.

An International Sense of Community

Sadly, this year, the sense of community was shattered by two bombs tearing through the crowd and participants of the 2013 Boston Marathon. Hundreds were injured and maimed and several killed by the heinous act of two brothers, one of whom faces prosecution. When those bombs went off, the Boston Marathon became more than a mere running event.

As subsequent tributes during other marathon events showed, the bombings strengthened the sense of community that extends around the globe among marathon runners.

20 Of The Most Powerful Marathon Photos Of 2013

The carnage from the domestic terrorist attack during the Boston Marathon easily proved to be the most compelling of all marathon events during 2013. 
Photo Credit: AP Photo/The Boston Globe, John Tlumacki

Two young brothers converted pressure cookers into time bombs that killed three and injured or maimed 281 competitors and bystanders during the event. One of the bombers was killed during a subsequent shootout with

A thousand doors

Friday, 18 April 2014

05.05.2014 till 30.06.2014

NEON and the Whitechapel Gallery are collaborating to present an exhibition of works by Greek and international artists at the Gennadius Library curated by Iwona Blazwick OBE, the Director of the Whitechapel Gallery. The exhibition will be installed throughout the venue, both inside the library spaces and outside them in its formal gardens. The selected works are executed in a wide range of media, and include video, sound and sculpture installations.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of programmes (free guided tours, open discussions, and educational programmes) created by Greek and international curators who have participated in the Curatorial Exchange Programme organized by NEON and the Whitechapel Gallery since 2012.
Participating artists include Edward Allington, Matthew Barney, Christian Boltanski, Pavel Büchler, Michael Dean, Nina Fischer and Maroan El Sani, Ceal Floyer, Isa Genzken, Shuruq Harb, Nigel Henderson, Georg Herold, Susan Hiller, Hannah Höch, John Latham, Mark Manders, Juan Muñoz, Giuseppe Penone, Elizabeth Price, Michael Rakowitz, Annie Ratti, Meriç Algün Ringborg, Daniel Silver,

A visit to the Byzantine and Christian Museum does not resemble a solemn pilgrimage or an intrusion into a holy of holies, in spite of the churchy and otherworldly connotations ascribed to its name and collections. Sculptures, wall paintings, icons, objects of minor arts, ceramics, textiles, manuscripts and early-printed books, paintings, mosaics and other opulent artifacts of the Byzantine legacy are the contents of this arc of treasures, whose secrets -unlike those of other treasuries of the past- become unravelled before the eyes of its visitors.

Upon arriving at the museum and its surroundings, a historic complex of buildings and gardens (the latter still being under construction) originally pertaining to Sophie de Marbois-Lebrun, Duchess of Plaisance (1785-1854), the visitor descends to its ample semi-underground exhibition space for a time travel into the Byzantine and post-Byzantine era. Its clerical, artistic, decorative and everyday life objects are displayed in loose chronological order and grouped in units that place them dashingly and comprehensibly in the socioeconomic, intellectual, spiritual and artistic milieu of their time; different aspects of the religious and secular life of Byzantium unfold as the exhibits mark the

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