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Syntagama Square

Syntagma Square modern Greece's Political major centre

The heart of modern Greece beats in the historic centre of Athens—but contrary to what you’d think, it has little to do with ancient ruins. Syntagma Square is with Omonia Square one of the two historic poles of Athenian political and economic life of the last 150 years!

It is worth mentioning that the numbering of the streets in Athens starts from Syntagma, and all distances to the major cities of Greece are measured from Syntagma, as well. Due to its extremely close proximity to the original Palace and current Parliament building, the square has been at the center of many major political and social events, such as the 3rd of September revolution, the raucous rallies on the day of Greece’s liberation from the Germans on October 12, 1944, the civil war events of December, 1944 and, naturally, most political speeches given by party leaders during election times.

The square was laid out in about 1835/36 as part of the expanded street plan of Athens as the new capital city of Greece and the original name given to it was the "Square of the Muses". The new plan of Athens abandoned the radical ideas of the urban plan drafted in 1831 by Kleanthis and Schaubert about demolishing the old unplanned town of Athens and built a modern European City.

Friedrich von Gaertner, the main architect of the Royal Palace, an imposing building erected between 1836 and 1842, proffered a rectangular open space here rather than the original circular one. The resulting square was renamed as "the Palace Square" and formed one of the focal points of the new city, lying beyond the limits of the late Roman/Byzantine/Ottoman town of Athens on the southern side of the Acropolis.

The coup. Colonel Dimitrios Kallergis (Commander of the Athens cavalry) on horseback, King Otto and Queen Amalia at the windows of the Old Royal Palace.

The revolution of 3rd September 1843 view from the Royal Palace

Syntagma = constitution

Almost immediately the square get a political character: the people of Athens demonstrated there protesting against the rulling as an absolute monarch of King Otto (the son of the Ludwig I of Bavaria). They were demanding constitutional rights for the citizens of the new kingdom of Greece and the expulsion of the be-hated Bavarian royal advisers. The bloodless revolution of 1843 succeeded, ushering the period of constitutional monarchy (under the 1844 constitution) and universal suffrage in Greece. The square renamed once again and gets his name from this historic events.

The old Royal Palace, Hellenic Parlement (Vouli). Just in front is the «Tomb of the Unknown Soldier»

Today the old Royal Palace is the siege of the Hellenic Parlement (Vouli). Just in front is the «Tomb of the Unknown Soldier» where the «Evzones», the members of the Presidential Guard dressed with their traditional uniform, are mounting the guard standing motionless for two 20-minute intervals during their 1-hour shifts.

the «Tomb of the Unknown Soldier»

Every hour on the dot is taking place the impressive changing of the guard witch is a major tourist attraction of Athens. A more ceremonial change of guards takes place on Sundays at at 11:00. A parade of Evzones and a military band starts from the camp of the Evzones (just behind the Parliament Building) and through Vasilissis Sofias Avenue, and reaches the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where a ceremonial change of guards takes place. On this occasion, all the three official uniforms of the Evzones can be seen.

Syntagma Square it's not only a political center. It's also one of the most important businesses districts of Greece and a luxury accommodation and shopping area. The «Syntagma» Metro Station, located beneath the Syntagma Square, is the most central station in Athens’ Metro network, where Lines 2 and 3 converge with busses and trams.

Aside from the station’s impressive antiquities collection, its interior is also decorated with works from many contemporary Greek artists like «Ethrion» by Giorgos Zoggopoulos, and «Metro’s Clock» by Theodoros.

«Metro’s Clock» by Theodoros


selected hotels near Syntagma

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