Syntagma (Constitution) Square is the most famous square not only in Athens, but in the whole country! This is the meeting point of many people every day, and also the center of political life. This is because of its position, being placed in front of the greek Parliament, meaning that most protests start or finish there! If you want to have a short walking tour in Athens, Syntagma Square is maybe the best spot to begin your morning stroll.
Its history starts back in 1935, when Luis I made the decision to build the square in front of the Royal Palace. As a consequence, the square was called “Palace Square.” With the advent of the new royal couple, queen Amalia ordered the creation of the fountain that is located in the middle of the square until this day. After the Revolution of September 3, 1843, two greek soldiers led their troops in front of the Palace and with the help of British diplomats forced King Otto to create a constitution, the first Constitution of Greece.
In 1929, Eleftherios Venizelos decided to build the new Greek Parliament in the same place where the Old (Royal) Palace was. Over the years, the mansions built on Otto’s years around Syntagma Square were demolished. The only remaining one today is the Dimitriou Mansion, the building that now houses the Hotel Grande Bretagne.
The monument of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was inaugurated during March 1932. It was placed outside the Greek parliament, after dramatic conflicts about where the monument should be created. In October 1944, the liberation of greek people from the occupying forces is a fact. Athenians “drunk with joy” -as the newspapers of the time mentioned- flooded the square with Greek flags in order to celebrate their freedom.
In modern history, the Syntagma Square was the point where most political parties gave their political rallies. During the 90s the construction of the metro begins and today, the Syntagma Metro Station is one of the most beautiful metro stations in the whole world, with its own museum of artifacts, found during the construction process.
Today, the Syntagma Square is the Centre of the modern City of Athens, a square with large open space surrounded by shops, restaurants and office buildings.
Visit Syntagma Square as a local:
– Buy a koulouri (circular bread encrusted with sesame seeds) from the guys selling it, in front of the Metro entrance.
– Begin a long walk towards Ermou Street. It is one of the most famous Athenian streets, as it is full of shops, cafeterias and restaurants. Your walk will end in Monastiraki Square, one of the most famous places in the Centre of Athens.
– Buy a coffee (Athenians really love to do that – walking and holding a cup of coffee!) and have a walk into the National Garden, that surrounds Greek Parliament.
– Watch the change of the guard (wearing classical Evzones dress) which takes place once every hour in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Then, feed the pigeons that gather in front of the monument, by buying them a koulouri!
If you’d like to enjoy a family-friendly Athens walking tour incuding Syntagma Square, then join us into a Neoclassical Turns experience.