HO Bars and Cafs

JThe first in a row of super-trendy late night caf -bars overlooking the Delfinario, Wild Thing pulls in the 30-something crowd. The young in search of adventure hang out at this bar-nightclub, which plays out disco and techno tracks until 6am - time for an early breakfast. Order water on the terrace if it all gets too much. Akti Dilaveri 15, Mikrolimanc Open-top jeeps and motorbikes pull up outside this vast bar-nightclub, with white leather armchairs on three levels and industrial air...

More than a Building

The small worn-around-the edges Acropolis Museum had never really done justice to the stunning treasures it held within. But the Greek government's multi-storey, all-glass showpiece of a new museum at the foot of the Acropolis Old Acropolis does. Most of the old Museum museum's contents are scheduled to be moved to the new museum when it partially opens in 2007. However, there's an ulterior motive to the construction of this new museum, which is to send a pointed international message. In 1799,...

Filopappos Hill

The pine-covered slopes of Filopappos Hill offer a pleasantly shaded maze of paths leading through monuments marking centuries of history. Known as the hill of muses in antiquity, countless poets have drawn inspiration here. On the first day of Lent, the hill is swarmed with hundreds of Athenians, who traditionally gather here to fly kites. Q Though perfectly safe during the day, the paths of Filopappos Hill are best avoided after dark. Q Though perfectly safe during the day, the paths of...

Ouzeries and Mezedopoleia

Two cats wind around wooden benches in this old Athens house waiting for generous patrons to toss them scraps of the excellent pork roasted with peppercorns and olives. Themis-tokleous & Methonis > Map D2 > EiThere's no sign, but you'll spot this cult favourite by all the students tucking into Uncle John's hearty dirt-cheap dishes. Emmanouil Benaki 94 > Map D2 > Taverna dishes with a twist and a pinch of spice are served in this funky, gay-friendly eatery. Themistokleous 66 Map D2...

Beyond Athens P

Left Fallen column,Temple of Olympian Zeus Centre Plaka restaurants Right Plaka streets THE WINDING MEDIEVAL ALLEYWAYS of Plaka, the old quarter below the Acropolis, are easily the most charming part of Athens. Naturally, they are also the most visited, and in midsummer some streets can be packed with touts and cheap gift shops. But Plaka is also very good at concealing places of untouched delight. The working-class areas of Makrigianni and Koukaki are shaking off old dust, and must-see...

Temple of Olympian Zeus

The majestic temple to the ruler of the pantheon was the largest on mainland Greece. Inside stood two colossal gold and ivory statues one of the god, and one of the Roman Emperor Hadrian. Though the temple's construction began in 515 BC, political turmoil delayed its completion nearly 700 years. To thank Hadrian for finishing it, in AD 131 the Athenians built a two-storey arch next to the temple, whose inscription announces Hadrian's claim on the city. O To get the best light for photographs of...

General Index

Page numbers in bold type refer to main entries. Academy of Arts 87 accommodation tips 139 Acharnes Olympic Cycling Venue 63 Achinos restaurant, Piraeus 105, 106 Acrocorinth 117 Acropolis 6, 8-11, 44, 69, 71 Acropolis House 143 Acropolis Museum 9 Acropolis Select hotel 142 Adoration of the Magi (El Greco) 23 Adrian hotel 142 Adrianou 53, 82 Adromeda Hotel 140 Aegina 126 Aeschylus 36, 64 Aghiorghitiko wine 59 Agora 6, 12-15, 45, 79, 81 Agora Museum 14-15, 46, Agora 20 AKS Porto Cheli 146 Akti...

Roman Forum Tower of the Winds

In the first century AD, the Romans moved Athens' marketplace here from the old Agora. Smaller than the original, the marble-pillared courtyard was a grander place to set up shop, and this became the commercial and administrative centre until the 19th century. Its greatest attraction was the unique and brilliantly designed Tower of the Winds. Euros,the southeast wind, Tower of the Winds Euros,the southeast wind, Tower of the Winds Q During the harvest moon in late August (considered to be the...

Best of the Rest

The majestic outlines of Hadrian's Library served as the model for this fine Neo-Classical building's fa ade. Performances by the National Theatre troupe are Greece's finest. Agiou Konstantinou 22 Map B2 210 522 3242 .-.Athens City Hall EsThe headquarters for managing Athens' chaotic sprawl. The archaeological dig in front reveals an area just outside Athens' old city walls. Athinas 63 Map J1 This gallery presents both Greek and foreign contemporary artists. Visits by appointment. Check the...

North to Delphi

THE LANDSCAPE CHANGES as soon as you drive through Athens' northern suburbs the sight of pristine, pine-clad Mount Parnitha opens the way to the wide, varied landscape of central Greece. The region, Sterea Ellada, is fringed with mountains, lined with coastal towns and dotted with Byzantine monasteries and ancient ruins. Delphi is the undoubted star and, indeed, the country's most beautiful Classical site. Here, the fabled Oracle voiced its prophecies, telling Oedipus, among others, his...

Things to Avoid

Athens' taxis might be cheap but one occasionally hears stories of tourists being overcharged. To avoid this, simply check that the taxi's meter is displayed and that it is switched on at the start of your journey. are thronged with touts, eager to pull passers-by into restaurants and souvenir shops. To a lesser degree this is true of other city-centre neighbourhoods. Most of these establishments offer perfectly good services, but don't let yourself be bullied into eating or shopping somewhere...

Info

Athens 53 First Synagogue of Athens 82 Folli Follie 97, 99 food 58-9, 136 Food Company 101 48 The Restaurant 56 Frame bar-restaurant 100 Frantzescos taverna 57 Frissiras Museum of Contemporary European Painting 72 funicular 133 Gaia wines 117 Galaktopoleion Amaitheia caf 74 Galaxidi 113 Gate of Athena Archegetis, Roman Forum 21 Gazi see Monastiraki, Psiri, Gazi and Thissio Gennadius Library 98 Geometric art 42 Glyfada 123 GNTO services 131 Golden Age of Athens 34 Goudi Olympic Complex 62...

Highlights of Athens

Athens is simultaneously known as the Classical, marble-pillared cradle of Western civilization and as a modern urban sprawl of concrete and traffic. Between the extremes lies a kaleidoscopic city, where the influences of East and West entwine in the markets, cafes and tavernas, built upon ancient ruins and rubbing shoulders with gold-leafed Byzantine churches. The crown jewel of Greece, if not all of Europe. Its temples are the most Influential buildings In Western architecture. (See pp8-ll.)...

National Archaeological Museum

More than just the best museum in Greece, this is one of the most important and exciting museums in the world. It is packed with famous, influential and beautiful works from the great Bronze Age cultures described by Homer to the Golden Age of Classical Athens and beyond. The temporary closure of part of the museum since 1999 has afforded the chance to improve the display of the priceless finds amassed here. Q There's so much to see here that it makes sense to go twice - and to invest in one of...

Luxury and Boutique Hotels

This grandiose hotel and former retreat of the rich and famous reopened in 2004 after a 14-year closure. The 104 rooms and suites, all with marble bathrooms, are individually furnished with select antiques. d Vas Georgiou A, Syntagma Map M3 210 322 2210 www.grecotel.gr With its marble lobby, oriental carpets and glittering chandeliers, this grandiose establishment exudes timeless luxury. The opulence continues through 327 rooms and suites, a rooftop restaurant and pool, and the fitness centre....

Artistic Styles

The prehistoric Cycladic civilization flourished on the islands of Naxos, Paros, Amorgos, Santorini and Keros which form a rough circle in the Aegean, hence the name for 1,000 years before mysteriously disappearing. It left behind hundreds of marble figures most are elegant, angular, minimalist female figures, probably used in a goddess or fertility cult. The Minoans of Crete were sensual, social, nature-loving and matriarchal. Ceramics are painted with flowing lines based on natural motifs....

Cafs and Bars

Bakaliarakia Tou Damigou

This tiny, quiet bar-caf behind the Tower of the Winds is surrounded by flower pots and pastel-hued buildings. Locals love it as it's nicely tucked away. Thrasiboulou Map K4 EiThis pink-and-gilt shrine to late Greek actress and national heroine Melina Mercouri was once her favourite caf . Lyssiou 22, Aerides Map K4 Stop by this small, cosy spot on a rainy night. The elaborate antique mirrors, old jukebox, huge selection of teas and crackling woodstove will keep you warm. Tripodon 16 Map K4...

Is Monastiraki Psiri Gazi and Thissio

Plaka Thissio Psiri

FOR DECADES THESE OLD NEIGHBOURHOODS of warehouses and workshops lay quiet, crumbling and neglected, enlivened only by the Monastiraki flea market, which spills out antiques, kitsch and junk from Plateia Avissynias. However, in recent years the appeal of central location, cheap rent, chic renovated factory space and an authentically funky atmosphere lured first galleries, then clubs, caf s and restaurants, to move into what's now the hippest area in town. Gentrification hasn't robbed these...

Greek Inventions

The first recorded games were staged on the plains of Olympia in 776 BC. Dedicated to Zeus, they lasted one day and featured running and wrestling. In 472 BC - with the addition of boxing, the pancratlon another form of hand-to-hand combat , horse racing and the pentathlon sprinting, long-jump, javelin, discus and wrestling - the event was extended to five days and held every four years. Masterpieces of ancient shipbuilding c.700-500 BC , triremes were the key to Athens' naval strength....

HO Festivals and Events

Haralampos Stelianos

The Blessing of the Waters',' when ports, boats and beaches are blessed, and young men dive for crosses cast into the water by priests it's a year's good luck for the successful divers. The Greek Orthodox Carnival begins 58 days before Easter. Festivities, especially glamorous masquerade parties, last for days. In Athens, the colourful celebrations centre on Plaka, where the streets are packed with celebrants and masked musicians. Greeks celebrate the first day of Lent by going to the country...

Omonia and Exarcheia

Athens Polytechnic Uprising

EXARCHEIA AND OMONIA are among Athens' oldest, most well-worn districts. Though neither qualifies as beautiful, both are steeped in history, some of it quite recent. In 1973, the Polytechnic student uprising in Exarcheia was crushed by the junta, but it did eventually lead to the fall of the hated military dictatorship. The students left behind a neighbourhood full of caf s alive with political debate this is also the best place to hear rembetika, the gritty Greek blues. Below Exarcheia is...

Into the Peloponnese

Argos And Its Heraion Map

OUTSIDE ATHENS, the Peloponnese is the part of Greece most steeped in myth and history. The Mycenaean kingdoms of Homer's Iliad were once believed to be merely legendary, until 19th-century German archaeologist Heinrich Schleimann unearthed their fabulous palaces on the Argive Peninsula. Now these sites compete with those in Athens as the most important in Greece. But, unlike Athens, the landscapes of those legends - the plains where, according to Homer, great armies assembled, and the fields...

Is Best of the Rest

Great bunches of colourful flowers sold around the church of St Irene. A good place to take pictures. Plateia Ag Eirinis Map K3 Early morning-early afternoon daily One of the best-established of the cluster of Psiri galleries, Artio is known for promoting the work of cutting-edge conceptual artists. Pallados 3 Map J2 noon-4pm amp 6-9pm Tue-Fri, noon-4pm Sat Quintessential Psiri the square is surrounded by hip bars, old-fashioned tavernas, and dirt-cheap student hangouts. Map J2 This great...