D for Dexameni: Summer Evenings in the Square

Named for the Roman-era cistern that still exists here, Dexameni Square is a popular summer evening hangout.


This text is part of the article “And the Living is A-Z”, published in Greece-Is Athens, Summer 2018 Edition. By Paulina Björk Kapsalis, Maria Coveou, Nena Dimitriou, Alex King, Maria Korachai, Pagona Lipsati & Alexandra Tzavella.

Dexameni is the Greek word for “cistern” and it’s also the name of a favorite Athenian haunt: a cool, shaded public square and pedestrian strip running between Irakelitou and Xanthippou streets high up in the neighborhood of Kolonaki, at the base of Lycabettus Hill.

 

The Roman-era cistern that was part of Hadrian’s Aqueduct (and that gave the square its name) is still there, underground; restored in the 19th century, it provided Athens with water from 1870 until around 1950. Its “rooftop” is now home to an open-air movie theater, also called Dexameni, a favorite among locals.

The ever-popular Café Dexameni, meanwhile, is where they go before or after the movie for an ouzo and meze. The café is a historic establishment that started life as a traditional kafeneio in the early 20th century – when much of the area was still mostly grazing land – and became a haunt for great Greek writers like Alexandros Papadiamantis, Nikos Kazantzakis and, later, Nobel laureate Odysseus Elytis. A statue of Elytis stands in Dexameni Square.

Tip: As you climb up the steps to the square at night, take a look behind you to catch a wonderful view of an illuminated Acropolis.



Read More

Democracy

A Violent Experiment

The glorious myth of ancient Athens is a poor model...


Athens

Secret Parnitha: An Unknown Hike Unbelievably Close to Athens

Athens is not normally associated with hiking, but nearby Mount...


Athens

Discovering Pangrati: Athens’ Best Kept Secret

Until recently overlooked by the majority of visitors, this residential...


Health

Head in the Clouds: The Nefeli Nine Health Retreat Just Outside Athens

Look out to sea, let your stress melt away and...


Greece Is Blog Posts

An Ode to Local Products

BY Yiouli Eptakili

No more avocado toast and croque-madames. From Thessaloniki to Crete...

read more >

How Can Greece Become a Gastro-Tourism Destination?

BY Yiouli Eptakili

It’s about more than just taking a trip...

read more >

Leaving Room in Greece for Everyone

BY Greece Is

Labor Day, this year September 5, marks the...

read more >