It was a lovely morning with temperatures hovering around 20 Celsius, more akin to autumn, when this, the first winter edition of Greece Is Athens, went to print. The city’s outdoor cafés were doing a brisk business and even the beaches drew a handful of people still working on their tans.
The temperate climate is one of the reasons why we Athenians love our city, despite the fact we may forget to express it – so common in committed relationships that become bogged down by routine. Take, for example, our biggest architectural pride and joy, the magnificent neoclassical trilogy of Athens University, the Academy of Athens and the Library on Panepistimiou Street: there is nothing like it in the world, but we rarely stop to admire it. We’re just content that it’s there.
Visitors to the city need not be so blasé. Whether it’s your first time in Athens or not, whether you’re here on a lightning business trip or enjoying a few days of R&R, you will likely experience the thrill of exploration, the urge to discover everything the city has to offer. From the wonderful treasures of antiquity to new and hip hangouts, you will feel that delightful curiosity, the rush of love at first sight. And it is precisely the role of this magazine to stir that sentiment.
Shall we? At the Acropolis Museum, which has honored us by being the exclusive distributor of Greece Is, we will get into conversation with emblematic statues that tell us their stories so we can better understand their era. From the much-photographed Tomb of the Unknown Soldier – where the Evzones of the Presidential Guard hear all manner of comment from “You make your parents proud, son” and “Dad, I want to be like him” to “What the hell, they’re real!” – we will follow the foustanella-clad soldiers where only very few are allowed to enter. We will learn their history and be made privy to all the little secrets, such as how those amazing red tsarouchia clogs are made.
In the historic center of Athens, that labyrinth of streets and squares where Byzantine churches stand beside uncomely grey office blocks and workshops covered in graffiti, we will seek out authentic experiences that awaken the senses. For our cultural tour we will visit some of the most interesting exhibitions of the season, enjoy an opera at the same theater where Maria Callas once performed and meet the esteemed ambassadors of the avant garde at the Onassis Foundation Cultural Center. And when those hunger pangs strike, our Gastronomy section features recommendations from authentic no-fuss tavernas to temples of fusion gastronomy.
We hope Greece Is Athens will be a good companion and help you have an unforgettable time in the Greek capital.