Travel: Monastiraki • Athens, Greece

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Visiting Monastiraki in Athens?
Monastiraki • Athens
Best of Monastiraki, Athens, Greece

✍️ Monastiraki is a quite busy area in the heart of Athens - the capital city of Greece - a unique blend of styles, multi cultures and eras, with emblematic attractions, such as the ruins of the Hadrian's Library, the Ancient Agora of Athens with the Temple of Hephaestus and the restored Stoa of Attalos, which houses a museum with Athenian and Roman exhibits.
The open-air market of Monastiraki has small coffee shops, restaurants and taverns with traditional Greek food and recipes, as well as local shops with handmade sandals, T-shirts and interesting Greek souvenirs.
Many of Monastiraki streets and shops overlook the world famous Acropolis hill with the Parthenon temple.

Acropolis view from Adrianou street, Monastiraki, Athens, Greece
My photo from Monastiraki, Athens, Greece

Lily's Tips:
Monastiraki, Athens:

Best things to do and see:
The monuments, the museums, the neighborhoods, its hidden spots and gems

Monastiraki neighborhood (Greek: Μοναστηράκι, pronounced [monastiˈraci] that literally means little monastery) is a flea market neighborhood in the old town of Athens, Greece and is one of the principal shopping districts in Athens.
The area (check here Monastiraki area on Google maps) is home to many cafe and restaurants, clothing boutiques, souvenir shops, specialty stores and is a major tourist attraction in Athens and Attica for bargain shopping.
The area is named after Monastiraki Square, which in turn is named for the Church of the Pantanassa (or of the Dormition of the Theotokos - in Greek: Koimiseos tis Theotokou) that is located within the square (this church was built in the 9th-century).
The main streets of this area are Pandrossou Street and Adrianou Street.
The Monastiraki Metro Station, located on the square, serves both Line 1 and Line 3 of the Athens Metro.

• Situated in southern Europe, Athens became the leading city of Ancient Greece in the first millennium BC, and its cultural achievements during the 5th century BC laid the foundations of Western civilization.

How to get to Monastiraki, Athens:

By Athens METRO and railway: 1 (Green Line), 3 (Blue Line), Station "Monastiraki",

By bus: No 025, No 026, No 027, No 035, No 200, No 227, No 500,

By Athens Tram: Line 3 & 4 - You go to Syntagma square (Syntagma station) and from there you can reach Monastiraki area on foot,

On foot: From Syntagma Square, follow Ermou Street all the way down until you meet up with Monastiraki Square, where the Church of Pantanassa is located.
This will take approximately 10 minutes.

Tourist attractions in Monastiraki, Athens:

1. Monastiraki square

One of the oldest and bussiers squares in Athens, recently paved with mosaic “flows” of marble, stone and wrought iron, symbolizing the diversity of the Mediterranean.
In Monastiraki square you will find:

• The Church of the Pantanassa (or of the Dormition of the Theotokos - in Greek: Koimiseos tis Theotokou) that is located within the square.
This small old church - from which the area is named after Monastiraki was built in the 9th-century, during the period of the Byzantine Empire.

• Tzistarakis Mosque (an Ottoman mosque) was built in 1759, when Greece was under the Ottoman rule and was named after the homonymous Ottoman governor of Athens.
According to tradition, Tzistarakis used one of the pillars of the Temple of Olympian Zeus to make lime for the building, although it is more likely that he used one of the columns of the nearby Hadrian's Library.
This act led to his dismissal as the Turks considered it a sacrilege which would cause vengeful spirits to be loosened upon the city, a superstition that some Athenians believed to have been confirmed when there was an outbreak of the plague later in the year.
The mosque was also known as the "Mosque of the Lower Fountain" or "Mosque of the Lower Market" from its proximity to the Ancient Agora of Athens.
During the Greek War of Independence, the building was used as an assembly hall for the local town elders.
After Greek independence, it was used in various ways: thus it was the site of a ball in honour of King Otto of Greece in March 1834, and was also employed as a barracks, a prison and a storehouse.
In 1915, it was partly rebuilt under the supervision of architect Anastasios Orlandos, and was used to house the Museum of Greek Handwork from 1918 (in 1923 renamed to National Museum of Decorative Arts) until 1973.
In 1966, it was provisionally refurbished to provide a place of prayer during the stay of the deposed King of Saudi Arabia, Saud, in the city.
In 1973, the main functions of the Museum of Greek Folk Art moved to 17 Kydathinaion Str., with the mosque remaining as an annex to it.
The V. Kyriazopoulos pottery collection of ceramics remains in the mosque to this day.
In 1981, the building was damaged by an earthquake and was re-opened to the public in 1991.
Tzistarakis Mosque is now functioning as an annex of the Museum of Greek Folk Art (which was first named Museum of Greek Handicrafts).
It features items of Greek folk art like wooden sculptures, objects made of silver, puppet theatres, stone statues and displays numerous fabrics and embroideries used to make the various Greek regional costumes.
I believe that the building that the Greek Folk Art museum is located is more interesting from its exhibitions so far. If you insist on visiting its interior, I suggest you - if it's possible - to visit this museum only in a Free Admission Day.

• Monastiraki Metro station and Kifissia - Piraeus station stop (Monastiraki station is an interchange station on the Athens Metro, between Lines 1 and 3) and is one of the oldest metro stations in Athens.
The Kifissia - Piraeus railway station is located in a neoclassical building.
Lots of Greek ancient ruins and valuable artifacts are showcased in both stations and someone could say that those stations also stand as small Greek museums themselves.
Both stations - with different entrances - are right beneath the Acropolis and next to the site of the Ancient Agora of Athens.

2. Stoa of Attalos in the Ancient Roman Market

Attalos stoa was constructed and presented as a gift by the king (of Pergamos) Attalos II (159-138 BC) to the ancient city of Athens.
The Stoa of Attalos was for the Athenians a meeting place, a promenade and a great commercial center of the time.
Read more here

3. The temple of Hephaestus in the Ancient Roman Market

The Temple of Hephaestus, more widely known as 'Thissio' is one of the best preserved ancient doric temples of the Greek space (helped a bit in this that later turned into a Christian church, which the believers were protecting through the years) while initially there was a place of worship both of Hephaestus god and of goddess Athena.
The Stoa of Attalos was for the Athenians a meeting place, a promenade and a great commercial center of the time.
Read more here

4. Hadrian's Library

Hadrian's Library is located a few meters away from Monastiraki square.
It was a large library in ancient Athens.
It was named so because it was founded by the Roman emperor Hadrian in 132 AD.
The library was also called the University of Athens.
The building followed a typical Roman forum architectural style, having only one entrance with a propylon of Corinthian order, a high surrounding wall with protruding niches at its long sides, an inner courtyard surrounded by columns and a decorative oblong pool in the middle.
The library was on the eastern side where rolls of papyrus "books" were kept.
Adjoining halls were used as reading rooms, and the corners served as lecture halls.
The library was seriously damaged by the Herulian invasion of 267 and repaired by the prefect Herculius in AD 407–412.
During Byzantine times, three churches were built at the site, the remains of which are preserved: a tetraconch (5th century AD) a three-aisled basilica (7th century) and a simple cathedral (12th century), which was the first cathedral of the city, known as Megali Panagia.
Around the same period as the cathedral another church, Agios Asomatos sta Skalia, was built against the north facade, but it is not preserved.
Today Hadrian's Library looks more like Ruins of a Roman library and a cultural complex built.

Admission Tickets - Price:
Full: €6, Reduced: €3
Tickets are available at ticket offices on site as well as online.
From November 1st to March 30th (01/11-31/03) of each year, reduced rates apply exclusively to single-use tickets for all archaeological sites and museums belonging to the State.

Find Hadrian's Library in the map here

5. Hephaestus Street Market

Hephaestus Street starts pretty close to Monastiraki square and ends up (with a mall turn to the left) a few meters away from the Ancient Greek - Roman market and the Hephaestus Temple.
Hephaestus Street is a very busy street - for pedestrians only - mostly famous for its clothing market, where you can find from shoes and Greek leather sandals to T-shirts, bags and jackets, Greek souvenir shops and even a Cannabis Store.
Super important in order to feel the antique vibes of this market is visiting Avissinias square (if you turn right to Avissinias street from Hephaestus street) where is located a second-hand flea market where you can mostly find old housewarming gifts from another era.
Even if you don't want to buy anything, this short walk is quite interesting and a short trip to the past.
Also there are many cafes and restaurants around to enjoy your coffee, snack or food.

Acropolis view from Monastiraki, Athens, Greece My photo from Monastiraki area, Athens, Greece

Acropolis view from Monastiraki, Athens, Greece My view of Monastiraki, Athens, Greece

Map: Monastiraki neighborhood • Athens

Come back soon for more useful information and photos from Monastiraki, Athens, Greece.

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