Saturday, January 31, 2015

Syntagma Square, c. 1900

Syntagma Square, post card c. 1900
As we were walking around, we passed what must be the headquarters of Alpha Bank. Along its massive walls were historic photographs of street scenes and the surrounding neighborhood. Fascinating stuff. Click the link below to see more historic photographs of Athens and the surrounding country.

Respectfully Inside

OK, I definitely DON'T recommend this. But, since he didn't see any sign on the doors, and it looked like it was empty, Chuck discreetly snapped a few pics inside one of the absolutely stunning Orthodox churches here in Athens. This one is actually right across the street from our flat. We have had the pleasure of going into a couple of churches now, but were forbidden to photograph (and I understand why). These are places of worship, and the utmost respect must be paid to the worshipers and the sacredness of the space, absolutely. However, having said that, I feel privileged to have at least a couple of lovely pics from the inside this fantastic church.

this church is amazing - so much history and symbolism

no damaging flash was used for this pics

Chuck said he was captivated by the sunlight coming through the windows
into this ornate sanctuary

I will be visiting this church for service as part of my
Orthodox Church class later in the semester

The iconography is incredible. There are little shops all around Athens that sell touristy-type icons, and they are nice. But we were thrilled to find an artist real close by our place that prepared an icon of the archangel Michael for us. We picked it up today - to say its lovely would be a gross understatement. Like I said, he is an artist, and applied the gold leafing by hand. He told us that he only uses techniques from the 6th century, and that many students from CYA have purchased icons from him. And lucky they are - such treasures he creates! I will certainly treasure this special remembrance of our time in Athens.

I can't wait to get inside myself!

Four Hellenic Women

In the National Gardens

Πλατεία Συντάγματος - Zyntagma Square and thereabouts

the Parliament building

I have NEVER seen so many shoe stores!!

yep...that's coconut!

Greek breakfast

Chicken Gyros

We dubbed this Taverna Row! Lovely eateries with kind people overlooking ancient ruins and the Acropolis

back to Zyntagma - and the lovely fountain

and then there is the nut vendor :-)

A Visit to a Local Winery

today we got a personal tour of this wonderful local winery

as usual for me, while the rest of the group listened intently to the guide, I snuck some snaps...

The god of wine - Dionysos, son of Zeus

the wine tasting was my favorite part!

yah-mas, to your health!

our purchases - a lovely Rose, and the new white wine,
a smaller bottle of Ouzo to try at the apartment, and
some incredible balsamic vinegar (not shown) also
produced at the winery
CYA arranged the tour, taking us on a luxurious tour bus for about an hour's ride through Athens. They even managed to get us back in time for lunch! Here's more pics I snapped at the winery - we really had a great time! (click on slideshow to go to Fotki.)


The Zappeion is one of the most important buildings of Athens next to the National Garden, its construction was financed by Evangelos Zappas. The neoclassical mansion is inherent with the modern history of Greece and now is used for public and private exhibitions and ceremonies.

In 1869 the Greek government donated 80,000 square meters of public land for the building of Zapeion in the area between the palace, the gardens and the ancient Temple of Zeus. The Greek Parliament also passed a legislation on 30th of November 1869 specifically for the construction of buildings for the Olympic Games in 1896, the Zappeion was the world's first building that was built exclusively for the Olympic Games.

Evangelos Zappas

The Zappeion has about 25 rooms. The initial use of the building and the courtyard space was for an agricultural, industrial and technical exhibition set to take place every four years. Zappeion was also used by the National Institute of Radio EIR from 1938. The building was Used in the Olympic Games in 1896 for the fencing championships, while during the Olympics of 2004 was a press and events centre. Many historical events took place in Zappeion with paramount the historic signing of the Treaty of Accession to the European Union (then EEC) of Greece in 1st of January 1981 by the Greek prime minister K. Karamanlis. Zappeion is the press centre in all General Elections of Greece where the leaders of the major political parties give an interview to the mass media after the end of the elections.

Information taken from