the city magazine of SUMMER 2022 Year 22 #146 ISSN 1790-3114
We should keep and accentuate the virtues of the city, and also come to terms and find peace with the rest of the city. Don’t pick and choose or try to find the best view with no solar panels. Accept Athens for what it is.
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Publisher-Editor Sudha Nair-Iliades Graphic Design Giorgos Kyriakakis Client Relations and Sales Lefteris Varelis Accounts Dimosthenis Therianos Administrative Assistant Stephanie Xynogala, Nadia Tarfaoui Illustrations: Daniel Egnéus Photos Christos Drazos, Christos Dimas, Nikos Karanikolas, Robert McCabe, Kostas Mpekas, Nicoletta Menti, Studio Panoulis, Shutterstock Contributors in this Issue Tyler Boersen, Joa Grammenou, Tom Hall, Els Hanappe, Elena Panayides, Ranbir Singh Sidhu, Katie Silcox, Michael Wyatt, Sofka Zinovieff Founder Steve Pantazopoulos Legal Counsel Christos Christopoulos Printing PressiousArvanitidis Website and Digital Marketing Webolution Subscriptions Athens Insider published in English in Greece € 20, Abroad € 40 To subscribe, email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.athensinsider.com www.bonjourathenes.fr Athens Insider is published quarterly and its brand, logo and all editorial content is held worldwide by: Insider Publications Ltd. located at Archelaou 8, 11635 Athens Tel.: 210.729.8634 VAT: 099747145 E-mail: email@example.com Reproduction in whole or in part, by any means whatsoever, is forbidden except with the express written permission of the publisher. Although Athens Insider has made every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, the publisher cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions it may contain. Athens Insider maintains a strict policy of editorial independence and preferential treatment is never guaranteed to advertisers. Athens Insider ISSN 1790-3114 Code: 216548 www.athensinsider.com
publisher’s note T
his summer, Athens Insider toasts 22 incredible years of magazines, events, and a very long engagement with Athenian social life. We’ve been here through the highs and lows, and this year we’re celebrating that ingenious spirit of Athens that has powered forward to become the hottest destination for the creative set. As its rumbling energy converges and intensifies into a cultural renaissance – and as Athens gains attention from international brands while more long-term visitors put down roots – there are new opportunities as well responsibilities for a magazine such as ours to serve a growing and demanding international community who have chosen to make Athens part of their life story. Strategically, that means organising high-profile events and reaching out to thought leaders who are helping to elevate the cultural moment in Athens to a competitive global level - people like Deputy Minister for Contemporary Culture Nicholas Yatromanolakis, John Bennet of the British School at Athens or Savvas Savvaidis of Sotheby’s International Realty. It also means returning to our roots and doubling down on our role as an instigator and occasional provocateur to bring people together and to make sure that people have a reason to stay for the long-haul. In this new moment for the city, Insider is extending its reach beyond the magazine and working at the intersection of Athens with international trends. So far this year, we have organized major international events such as a high-profile conference with Figaro, the big-time French media group which arrived this spring to celebrate the rich legacy of Athens while getting a taste of contemporary hospitality. Insider also developed a pilot series of literary salons in collaboration with the This is Athens City Festival to bring together writers who have committed their careers to interpreting the city for a global audience. With hundreds of participants across these events, we’ve helped to create new cultural ambassadors for Athens while extending the reach of our brand and its flagship magazine. We’re working on new ways to engage our community while reshaping the content of the magazine to promote our newly expanded mission. This issue has a rich critical eye. It’s full of stories about artists and designers who are intrinsic to the city’s modern legacy, and who are helping the city once again redefine itself. It’s about how human needs and historical pressures manifest their ideals in urban architecture. We ask what attracts people to Athens and propose some new directions. We see the city as a living community, not as a tourist park or a protected archaeological site. Whether you spend time in Athens (follow our detailed cultural agenda and Athens Festival guide) or head to the isles (we suggest you take in the charms of slower-paced islands), here’s wishing you an ouzo-soaked, sunny kalokairi. • Happy reading!
Sudha Nair-Iliades Find us on:
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A “SECRET GARDEN” IN THE CENTER OF ATHENS On the first floor of the Hotel Grande Bretagne, the Atrium of Alexander’s Lounge, surrounded by olive trees, laurels, small cypress trees and flowers that lavish their colors and beauty to the venue, welcomes you and takes you in an oasis in the heart of the city.
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Arts & Events Cultural highlights to look forward to this summer.
30 + Must See Highlights at the Athens Festival From jazz diva Diana Krall to rock legend Patti Smith and techno whiz Jeff Mills, contemporary interpretations of Greek tragedies and new operatic sounds, a round-up of the highlights of this festival season.
Essential Greek Reading Writer Sofka Zinovieff curates an updated summer reading list of books related to Greece, based on the Runciman Award shortlist for 2022.
In Conversation with artist Janis Rafa at the Venice Biennale Joà Grammenou speaks at length to Janis Rafa, the only Greek artist participating at the Venice Biennale in The Milk of Dreams exhibition curated by Cecilia Alemanni. A peek into Alekos Fassianos' Home A rare insight into the home and the workings of a creative genius. A Nomad’s Soul Finds a Home in Greece: the John Craxton exhibition at the Benaki Museum There’s something essentially unfathomable about Greece that delights the natural born nomad’s soul, and the British painter John Craxton was no exception.
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The Virtuous Cycle of Culture Deputy Minister for Contemporary Culture Nicholas Yatromanolakis speaks to Athens Insider on the soft power of contemporary culture and of reimagining the way forward to cultural sustainability. Adventures in Greece’s Past, and Present, in the British School at Athens Ranbir Sidhu in conversation with John Bennet on the fascinating world of archaeology and the insights it offers into the way societies lived, interacted and evolved.
TRAVEL 100 A Love Letter to Kasos Robert Mc Cabe’s sepia-tinted retro romance with Kasos is brought alive in a fascinating new book on this little known island. 102 Why you should stop time and explore the Little Cyclades For the island lover, this chain of small, secluded islands is paradise regained. A visit here calls to mind the Greek island experience of 20 years ago, when things moved slower and pleasures were simpler.
| 11 | S Y N TAG M A • KO L O N A K I • N OTO S • T H E M A L L AT H E N S • K I F I S S I A
The Coaster Ride Ahead Art historian Els Hanappe warns that sustainability and engagement with the local community are key to making the Athens coast a truly unique destination
Beyond traditional models of civic engagement Peter Poulos speaks to Athens Insider on the urgent need for civic engagement and public private partnerships.
Athenography: How does a city that belongs to the past look toward the future? Anthropologist Tyler Boersen argues that historical pressures in city planning have made Athens into a paradigm of modernity and is changing the way we see its future.
Artfully uniting exceptional homes with extraordinary people Greece is all set to seduce the world’s elite property buyers, predicts Savvas Savvaidis, CEO of Sotheby’s International Realty in Greece.
10 important considerations when buying property in Athens. Michael Wyatt recommends a checklist before buying property in Greece.
The Athenian neighbourhoods to invest in right now They might still be a bit rough around the edges, but these are the districts that offer the best bang for the buck.
FOOD & DRINK 114
To Assyrtiko and Beyond at Athens Tom Hall culls three wines that should take you beyond your assyrtiko comfort zone.
116 Athens’ best mezcal and tequila bars Athenians are paying homage to the agave plant with a slew of new tequilerias and mezcalerias. Elena Panayides athens rounds up the city’sinsider Top Tequila Bars. | 12 |
7 of the best sushi restaurants in Athens Japanese itamaes and homegrown sushi chefs have made Athens a sushi destination
An Insider’s Guide to vegan eating in the capital Veganism catches on in Athens with restaurants serving everything from burgers to gyros, chocolate cake to ice cream. Here are 7 of the best vegan restaurants in Athens.
128 Listings 136 Kaleidoscope Prix Pictet’s thoughtprovoking photography exhibition.
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CONTEMPORARY CUISINE OVERLOOKING THE FAMED ACROPOLIS FOR RESERVATIONS, PLEASE CALL +30 210 3330 265 OR VISIT: TUDORHALL.GR
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CONTRIBUTORS Tyler Boersen
Ranbir Singh Sidhu
A cultural anthropologist with a PhD from the New School for Social Research, New York City, his love affair with Athens began in 2011 during his dissertation research on consumer bankruptcy. He has taught at The New School, New York University, and Fordham University in New York. His essay in this issue is drawn from his current book project about Athens in the twentieth century. He lives in Athens.
Raised on the knee of an adventurous cook in rural Devon, Tom Hall developed a taste for the finer things in life. Equipped with a sultan’s palate and a student’s portfolio, he began to study historical gastronomy before realizing that if he wanted to eat well, he had to do it himself. After several cooking and tasting engagements, he moved to Athens to get serious about his Epicureanism. In his regular column for Athens Insider, he traces the story of his personal development in the kitchen, as well as the wining and dining opportunities in city.
Capitalizing on his experience as a successful international real estate investor in the US and abroad, Michael is a specialist in relocation and investment. His real estate knowledge is complemented by his previous career experience as an international advertising sales executive for The Wall Street Journal and CNBC, and his property expertise is enhanced by buying, selling and managing properties in Athens, London, Miami, Istanbul and St Petersburg. He lives and works equally in Florida, and Athens.
An accidental Athenian, British-born Ranbir Sidhu lived and worked in Canada and the US, before moving to Greece. He is the author of the novel Deep Singh Blue (2016), the story collection Good Indian Girls (2013) and the novella Object Lessons: in 12 Sides w/Afterglow (2016). He is a winner of a Pushcart Prize and a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship. His fiction and essays have appeared in many magazines and journals.
British writer and anthropologist Sofka Zinovieff wrote her first book Eurydice Street: A Place in Athens (2004), a New York Times Notable Book, in the run-up to the 2004 Olympic Games. It was followed by The House on Paradise Street (2012) and Putney (2018). In 2021, she hosted the This is Athens podcast series Athens Unpacked, continuing her quest to understand the complex and seductive city she has adopted as home.
Els Hanappe is an art historian involved with exhibition and collection management. She has been active in the international contemporary art world since 1995.
Katie has been a business editor and producer of business conferences for the last 18 years with extensive experience in the media, fashion and beauty industries. She was a guest lecturer at the Athens University of Economics and Business’ MBA programme on Fashion and is a jury member of the annual global advertising competition, Epica Awards. athens insider | 14 |
Award-winning illustrator Daniel has been living in Athens for the past ten years. His lucid, vibrant dreamscapes are drawn from everyday life. He has collaborated with mighty brands like BMW, Chanel and CNN and his illustrations for Neil Gaiman’s seminal work, American Gods, as well as rock legend Rod Stewart’s latest album, have earned him critical acclaim and awards. His covers have adorned Athens Insider for the past 5 years.
French-Greek journalist and correspondent for Le Figaro and for France 24 in Greece, Alexia also collaborates with several media outlets such as RTL radio, Politique Internationale, the economic weekly Challenges, and the Swiss public television RTS. In Greece, she collaborates with the daily Ta Nea, and she is a member of the jury for the European Book Prize, awarded each year by the European Parliament, as well as the jury for the Reporters of Hope prize to encourage good news in the media.
British-Cypriot Elena Panayides moved back to Athens after a long stint with Fox TV and National Geographic. A marketing and public relations specialist, she helms elpisglobal, a media consultancy firm she founded ten years ago.
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WHAT TO SEE AND DO IN ATHENS THIS SUMMER With some of the most celebrated names in art, music, literature and design visiting the city this summer, tap into Athens’ effervescent creative scene with our lowdown on must-see art exhibitions and museum events.
ACHROMIA, BY INDIA MAHDAWI Polydefkous 39, Piraeus Until August 13, 2022 Iranian-born, Paris-based architect and designer India Mahdavi calls herself “a polyglot and a polychrome”, implying that she uses many different design languages and loves bringing colours together in brave new combinations. At her current exhibition at Carwan, she sticks to classical white. Notable for referencing disparate cultures and disciplines, thanks to influences gleaned from a nomadic childhood that led her from the Middle East to New England to Europe, her projects spanning the fashion, furniture, retail, and hospitality industries, serve as building blocks of Mahdavi’s kaleidoscopic world. The new commission by Carwan Gallery is a reflection on the link between India Mahdavi’s work and the erasure of colour from classical art and architecture. The challenge given to Mahdavi was to reinvent her most iconic objects and translate them into a ‘contem-
porary error’ of art history by removing colour from them, resulting in achromia — which lends the exhibition its title. The series of objects is composed of signature pieces designed by Mahdavi over the past two decades, ranging from the iconic Bishop series to the Alber and Diagonal tables, executed in marble. This unique new expression of them being colourless unveils each object’s true lines and geometries. All objects are carved in Pentelic marble, a material chosen by sculptors and architects throughout history for its excellent quality and its white colour that has a golden sheen when hit by sunlight. Each object is handmade in Greece, combining advanced digital technology and craftsmanship at Delta Marmara workshops, on the outskirts of Athens. carwangallery.com
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DREAM ON AT THE PUBLIC TOBACCO FACTORY Lenorman 218, Athens Until November 27, 2022 Mon, Tues: closed. Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sun: 11am to 7pm For a second consecutive year, NEON and the Hellenic Parliament activate the emblematic building of the former Public Tobacco Factory to present Dream On, a contemporary art exhibition curated by art historian Dimitris Paleocrassas, that brings together 18 large-scale installations by Greek and international artists, as well as a newly commissioned work, and 20 drawings. The exhibition follows the announcement of the D.Daskalopoulos Collection Gift, presenting some of the most important works of the Collection which will then be donated to 4 museums in 3 countries over 2 continents (EMST, Tate, and jointly to the Guggenheim and MCA Chicago). As the curator puts it, Dream On is permeated by a sense of plenitude brought about by the realization of a great dream: an artist’s ambitious yet elusive goal attained through the unbridled creativity of large-scale installations. Similarly, through the donation, the dream of its owner becomes a reality: a private collection transformed into a public good to be preserved for future generations of audience and artists. neon.org.gr
KAARI UPSON: NEVER ENOUGH
Known for her resin sculptures and her disquieting videos, the late Kaari Upson (who passed away in 2021 at 51), was one of the most significant artists to emerge from the vibrant 21st-century Los Angeles art scene. Over her brief yet prolific 15-year career, she developed an elaborate universe woven out of memory, conjecture, fact, and fiction. Imbued with a mystical animism, each sculpture, painting, drawing, and video merges personal and collective traumas, desires, fears, and fantasies. For Upson, the key to accessing oneself could be found in one’s possessions, especially those contained in the home. Upson’s interest in domesticity grew out of The Larry Project (2007–2012), a series of works in which she investigated the psyche using a mysterious neighbor. DESTE presents over 30 pieces by Upson spanning her entire career. For the design of the show, Dakis Joannou collaborated with architect Sotirios Kotoulas to select a different colour for every wall, in every gallery. deste.gr
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Filellinon 11 & Em. Pappa street, N.Ionia Until October 10, 2022
LOUISE BOURGEOIS’ MAMAN SNFCC Esplanade, snfcc.org Until November 6, 2022 Louise Bourgeois’ iconic giant spider – one of the works that made the artist internationally famous – will be on display at SNFCC’s Esplanade for a seven-month period, with free entry to the public. Her 30ft sculpture of a spider carrying marble eggs, Maman, has become one of her most famous works. Like a creature escaped from a dream, or a larger-than-life embodiment of a secret childhood fear, the giant spider Maman (1999) casts a powerful physical and psychological shadow. The mammoth sculpture is one of the most ambitious undertakings in the long career of Louse Bourgeois. Over a vast oeuvre spanning more than sixty years, Bourgeois plumbed the depths of human emotion further and more passionately than perhaps any other artist of her time. A truly individual artist, Bourgeois’ sculpture has always referred to her personal world, and more specifically, her childhood. Born in Paris, in 1911, her family owned a tapestry workshop, where Bourgeois would work on restoring the imagery in lost or damaged sections of tapestry from the age of 12. Of Maman, Bourgeois has said, “The Spider is an ode to my mother. She was my best friend. Like a spider, my mother was a weaver. Spiders are helpful and protective, just like my mother.” neon.org.gr
ALBERT OEHLEN: WORKS ON PAPER AND A SCULPTURE Anapiron Polemou 22, Athens Until August 20, 2022 Featuring recent drawings and collages and a new sculpture, Oehlen’s cryptic Ömega Man, a genderless humanoid form prompted by the character of Dr. Robert Neville in the eponymous dystopian sci-fi action movie from 1971. A doomed survivor of a global pandemic, Neville symbolizes, in his desperate predicament, the runaway scientific development that led to humanity’s downfall; Oehlen’s deliberately crude but powerfully robust homage, rendered in cast aluminum, suggests a firm stance in the face of impending calamity. In his new drawings, Oehlen works alternately in black and white, and with a restricted colour palette, picture biomorphic forms alongside wholly abstract passages, infusing both with anarchic energy. His pareddown compositions allude to the continual reframing of aesthetic value and conceptual weight characteristic of twenty-first century consumer culture, while the heterogeneity of their components also challenges the viewer to uncover further visual and thematic links. gagosian.com
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B&E Goulandris Foundation
PROGRAMME FOR 2022-23 Eratosthenous 13, Athens From September 2022 to December 2023 The B&E Goulandris Museum announced its rich programme for the next two years. Here’s a lowdown of what to expect until the end of 2023. AUTUMN 2022 Celebrating two milestone dates: one, the 100th anniversary of the Asia Minor and Ionian catastrophe which destroyed the Hellenistic character of the region and two, the Museum’s three-year anniversary, the forthcoming exhibition entitled “Fotis Kontoglou and his influence on the younger generation” is an anniversary tribute. AUTUMN 2023 An exhibition of works on paper from the Foundation’s collection, many of which belong to albums that will be presented for the first time in their entirety to the Greek public. The exhibition will include works by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Aristide Maillol, Georges Braque, Fernand Léger, Joan Miró, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. WINTER 2023 A tribute to an important French avant-garde movement, which, despite the ephemeral nature of its life (19601963), did not lose the importance of its project. Despite the heterogeneity of the group and their lack of neorealist coherence, it was registered as an important chapter in the world’s modern art history. goulandris.gr
AMAZONIOS EMST extends its activities with a site-specific project Amazonios, in the former house and studio of artists Nikos Kessanlis and Chryssa Romanos, in Polydroso. Amazonios forms part of a series of projects commissioned by the museum that put the spotlight on important artistic, cultural and broader political Athenian landmarks. Amazonios unfolds in both the interior and exterior spaces of the atelier of Kessanlis and Romanos. As visitors move from the old darkroom Cargo to the main atelier and from the empty warehouses The Forest to the abandoned swimming pool The River, they come across a number of works by Dimitris Tsoumplekas: photos and videos, sculptures and installations, found objects and assemblages. Amazonios is a dialogue between an important contemporary artist and his prominent ancestors, a multi-dimensional, holistic artistic project, eight years in the making. emst.gr athens insider | 19 |
Kessanlis Estate, Polydroso Until July 3, 2022, Thursday-Sunday, 7 to 10pm
NIKOS EGGONOPOULOS, THE ORPHEUS OF SURREALISM Vasilisis Sofias 9, Athens Until June 19, 2022 One hundred and forty-eight valuable works by Eggonopoulos, borrowed from private collections complete the physiognomy of this great exhibition. Helen Ahrweiler writes in the catalogue of the same title: “If they asked me who is the absolute surrealist for me, foreigner or Greek, Nikos Eggonopoulos would be the answer. He made the word as a poet and the image as a painter obey his own syntax and grammar to compose a special contemplative and aesthetic reality. If they asked me again who I consider to be great, the poet Eggonopoulos or the painter Eggonopoulos, I would say that the question is ungrounded. Eggonopoulos makes poetry by painting and creates visual art with his poetry.” Eggonopoulos with reason and vision, moves from the present to the past, from dream to myth and from reality to fantasy. Painting for Eggonopoulos was an exercise in intellectual freedom. His protagonists were human figures. Straightforward, shapely, with expressive movements, but with non-existent facial features. These impersonal figures immerse us in time, bringing us face to face with lonely heroes or love couples, from mythology and literature, history and poetry, with references sometimes to Orpheus, Eurydice, Hermes, Ios, Hercules, to Odysseus, to Calypso, to Thetis and Peleus, to Jason, to Medea and sometimes to Anthimos Tralleas and to Isidore Milesius. thf.gr
TRUE BELIEVERS Sekeri 4, Athens Until July16 A group exhibition dedicated to the legacy and influence of The Apartment in the local art scene. For Crux Galerie the exhibition True Believers highlights The Apartment’s contribution to the Greek contemporary art scene, and underlines the conceptual density and relevance of many of the artists associated with the gallery. An early champion of identity politics, the gallery’s agenda has centered around two conceptual pillars: the first raised questions about identity in relation to race, gender and sexuality and offered alternatives to a heteronormative reading of art, and the second explored the ability of painting to reinvigorate and reinvent itself in a saturated world of images. These two pillars that shaped the gallery’s programme will be presented in two respective parts: Part I will run from the end of May through July, and Part II will open in September. True Believers is curated by Vassilios Doupas, founder of The Apartment and includes works by Maria Antelman, Vassili Balatsos, Sonia Boyce, Dimitris Dokatzis, Maria Finn, Caroline May, Sadie Murdoch, Nina Saunders, Larry Sultan, Neal Tait and Kostas Tsolis. cruxgalerie.com athens insider | 20 |
10 The Breeder
JANNIS VARELAS: MARLOW’S DREAMS Iasonos 45, Metaxourgio. Until July 9, 2022, Tuesday to Friday from 11am to 7pm, Saturday from 11am to 5pm.
Jannis Varelas draws inspiration from Joseph Conrad’s protagonist Marlow, and his descent into the dark heart of humanity, to weave a tapestry of its inner workings into rugs. In his latest exhibition Marlow’s Dreams at The Breeder gallery, Varelas’ exotic landscapes with ferns and monsteras are woven into rugs created by Art Rug Projects by Soutzoglou in silk and wool. A mesmerizingly beautiful result. thebreedersystem.com
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George Economou Collection
KATHARINA FRITSCH Grammou 77, Kifisias Av. 80, Maroussi June 18, to March 2023 The German sculptor Katharina Fritsch has made a significant contribution to the visual art since the early 1980s. With distinctive cast forms painted in vivid colours, she has developed a specific sculptural lexicon encompassing a typology of everyday objects, animals and humans, as well as installations based in the mythological and surreal. Curated by Jessica Morgan, Fritsch’s exhibition at the George Economou Collection, is the artist’s first solo show in Greece, a country whose own rich history of figurative sculpture, mythology, and storytelling resonates with her work. Fritsch has chosen to show recent pieces alongside some of her earliest productions On the ground floor are three works: Ei / Egg, Laterne / Lantern, and Schädel / Skull, made to be exhibited together in 2017. Fritsch is known for grouping her works in relationships of concepts, colours, and forms that in effect establish their own environment of association. On the second floor, Fritsch invites associations between the rich seafaring history of the Greek people and her own fascination with the stories, dreams, and creatures of the watery depths. Fritsch has also taken this exhibition as an opportunity to explore her ongoing interest in twilight-in the ambiguous, in the changeable and unstable moods, visions, and mental states that come with the moment of the day becoming night. thegeorgeeconomoucollection.com
11 Museum of Cycladic Art
DIVINE DIALOGUES BY BRICE MARDEN Neophytou Douka 4, Athens From May 20 to August 29 American artist Brice Marden presents his work in dialogue with selected antiquities from the Museum’s permanent collections. This is the first museum exhibition devoted to this renowned artist to be held in Greece. Marden, now in his eighties with a career that spans six decades, continues to fascinate with the gestural simplicity of his paintings and drawings. His work draws from art’s long history, combining elements of Minimalism, Abstract Expressionism, as well as ancient calligraphy and poetry. For 50 years, the artist has drawn inspiration from the Greek landscape and antiquity. His relationship with Greece dates back to 1971. Enchanted by the Greek light he and his wife and fellow painter, Helen, bought their first house on Hydra. Since then, they have spent a portion of almost every summer there together. The purity of Hydra’s landscape deeply affected Marden, who observes nature and creates. The exhibition at the Museum of Cycladic Art will include artworks from a wide range of Marden’s artistic output, revealing a resonance with the metaphysics of ancient Greek heritage. Paintings, drawings, and notebooks that highlight his sharp observation and unique abstract gaze, will be presented in dialogue with selected antiquities from the Museum’s permanent collections, inviting the viewer to interpret the visual vocabulary of this great artist. cycladic.gr
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STEPHAN GOLDRAICH, ARBRE À PALABRES
meet and exchange ideas, elders share stories with children, and where important decisions concerning the village are discussed. In Greece, it would be fair to compare the Palaver tree with the plane tree or platanos found in Greek village squares where people of all ages gather and partake in their daily social life. This collaborative, polyphonic work of art, encompasses all the stories involved in its making, marking a new era for the museum, one which is more open, inclusive and welcoming. It is the first presentation of the artist’s work in Greece. emst.gr
Kallirrois Ave & Frantzi Streets, Athens Until October 30, 2022 Belgian artist Stephan Goldrajch conceived Arbre à palabres, a giant six metre-high tree, comprised of numerous pieces of knitting, crochet in different patterns and yarn made by people of different ages and social backgrounds, created during the long period of Covid-induced isolation. Arbre à palabres or the palaver tree, is usually found in the centre of African villages and is a place where people athens insider | 23 |
ART FOR TOMORROW Different venues in Athens and Hydra June 16-20
14 Benaki Museum
JOHN CRAXTON: A GREEK SOUL Koumbari 1, Kolonaki Until September 11, 2022 John Craxton captured Greece as a light-soaked paradise, distinct from the icy, brooding landscapes of post-war Britain that defined his earlier paintings. Celebrating a hundred years since John Craxton’s birth, the exhibition titled A Greek Soul will travel later to Crete and London. This uplifting personal saga, reflected in brilliant pictures, charts a voyage from darkness into light. With much of his work never previously exhibited, he can only now be recognised as an unrivalled portraitist of Greek faces and places from the middle of the 20th century. Featuring many unknown works from the Craxton Estate, the revelatory Benaki Museum exhibition comprise 90 artworks arranged in four galleries covering every period of the artist’s career. The display ranges from prints and drawings to paintings and a vast tribute tapestry, plus photos and personal effects. The highlight of the display will be the huge Landscape with the Elements tapestry Craxton designed and oversaw in Edinburgh while exiled under the Colonels. Inspired by traditional Cretan weaving, it sums up his love of the Greek world. (see longer article). benaki.org
AFTER HOPE Lempesi 5 – 7 & Porinou 16, Acropolis June 18 to July 18, 2022
Dio Horia inaugurates its new space at the Acropolis with an exhibition entitled After Hope. Drawing parallels with the uncertain period of the 1930s and the 1940s, ‘After Hope’ focuses on the conditions shaping the present, from loneliness and environmental pollution, to capitalism. The curatorial is structured along four lines: the marginalized future; the concept of human agency; survival strategies; and human emotions. These directions do not unfold as defined sectors. Rather, multidisciplinary works on canvas, ceramics and NFTs will be kneaded into one environment. Participating artists: Chris Akordalitis, Pablo Benzo, Javier Calleja, Mira Dancy, Maja Djordjevic, Hulda Guzmán, Elias Kafouros, Katelyn Ledford, Rhys Lee, Iliodora Margellos, Tatiana Zagari (Pottato) diohoria.com
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A four-day programme moderated by senior New York Times journalists Matthew Anderson, Farah Nayeri and Roslyn Sulcas plus the journalist and radio host Yorgos Archimandritis, the programme will explore critical issues including: Who Really Owns Art?; The Athens Effect; Democracy and the Arts; Art and Sustainability; The NFT Revolution; The Art of Diplomacy; a Return to Craftsmanship; and more. The speaker line-up includes artists, museum directors, galleries, art fair directors, writers, photographers including Massimiliano Gioni, Director of the New Museum, Tristram Hunt, Director, V&A Museum, artist Jeff Koons, H.E. Sheikha Al Mayassa, Chairperson of the Qatar Museums, gallerist Thaddaeus Ropac amongst others. In addition to the Talks, the programme includes a series of experiential events which will enable you to explore Athens’ eclectic artistic landscape through tours of Athenian galleries, the Onassis Stegi exhibition Plasmata at Pedion tou Areos, exclusive viewings of exhibitions in NEON’s Old Tobacco Factory space, the DESTE Foundation and at the EMST and Acropolis Museums. artfortomorrow.org
ART ON THE ISLANDS DESTE
JEFF KOONS Slaughterhouse, Hydra From June 21 to October 31, 2022 An American artist recognized for his work dealing with popular culture and sculptures depicting everyday objects, including balloon animals produced in stainless steel with mirror-finish surfaces, Jeff Koons cuts a controversial figure in the art world. His works have been sold for substantial sums, including at least two record auction prices for a work by a living artist. A close friend and collaborator of art collector Dakis Joannou, his much-anticipated project (postponed twice due to the pandemic), will be presented this year at DESTE’s Project Space at the Slaughterhouse on Hydra – very likely with Joannou’s psychedelic yacht Guilty moored in Hydra’s amphitheatrical harbour! deste.gr
18 Citronne Gallery
PROXIMITY AND DISTANCES Virvili Square, 18020, Poros. Until July 18. Daily from 7 pm to 11 pm Citronne presents works by artists from three continents Europe, Africa and America. Proximities and Distances brings a multiple reading of the world into the visual arts spotlight. The continents are distinct; however, they are unified in the context of Art, which, by definition, transcends the sensible world. The coexistence of these works does not necessarily create a composition. But it does create the strong and clear impression of a world where the visual gaze has the scope and power to synthesize the present without betraying the past; to unify space without abolishing its character. Works by: Antonis Volanakis, Chiderah Bosah, Lelle Demertzis, Courage Hunke, Cédric Kouamé, Alekos Kirarinis, Ebenezer Nana Bruce, Nicole Economidou, Dessislava Terzieva, Panos Fameli, Panos Charalambous, Kwaku Yaro. citronne.gr
Goulandris Museum of Contemporary Art
ALEXANDRA ATHANASIADIS, CREATING THE IMMATERIAL In a tour covering almost five decades of creativity, visitors get to discover multiple aspects of Athanasiadis’ career, from her early childhood works to the present day. Creating the Immaterial is a single visual installation, with the sections flowing into each other. The role of the artist herself, with the help of the Foundation’s trusted collaborators Paraskevi Gerolymatou and Andreas Georgiadis, was crucial in structuring this narrative. The exhibition will be accompanied by a bilingual catalogue, prepared by the exhibition curator Maria Koutsomalli-Moreau. goulandris.gr
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Chora, Andros From July 3 to October 2, 2022
The modern ark of Olympism in Greece The new Athens Olympic Museum: Immerse yourself in the history and glory of the Olympic Games athens insider | 26 |
or centuries the Olympic Games have shown the way forward, promoting the universal values of honourable competition, peace, equality, solidarity, and justice. The Athens Olympic Museum honours these values, marking a unique destination in Athens. Families and culture enthusiasts can take a tour inside a state-of-the-art venue and experience a fascinating journey into the history of the Olympic Games, through a chronological narrative from antiquity to contemporary editions. The Athens Olympic Museum, which is accessible through the 1st floor of the Golden Hall shopping center, includes a 1800sqm permanent exhibition which traces the enthralling history of the Olympic Games from antiquity to the present time. The visitor has a unique opportunity to explore the role of Greece in Olympic history at the birthplace of the Games, via four milestones at the permanent exhibition: the origins and the birth of the Games in Ancient Olympia, the revival and the first contemporary Olympic Games in Athens 1896, and the homecoming of the Games in the ATHENS 2004 edition.
In addition, the Museum hosts the temporary exhibition “Ancient Olympia: Common Grounds”, a mixed-reality experience, where visitors are digitally transferred to Ancient Olympia, as it was at its peak 2,000 years ago.
team of the Museum constantly develops new content, toolkits, and activations, both inside and outside the museum premises. The museum regularly hosts educational activities and camps for children. The visit to the Museum can be combined with shopping or a walk and recreational activities at the Olympic Athletic Complex of Athens (OAKA). Highlighting Greece’s proud Olympic heritage, the Athens Olympic Museum, is an initiative of Lamda Development S.A., aiming to promote Greece’s contribution to the formation of the International Olympic and Paralympic Movement and the role of Athens as an Olympic Capital.
The Athens Olympic Museum offers an unforgettable multisensory educational experience, which communicates the Olympic principles, aspiring to inspire both the young and the seniors. The educational athens insider | 27 |
Athens Olympic Museum, Golden Hall, 37A Kifisias Ave. Marousi. Tel: +302106885560 athensolypicmuseum.gr Open daily from 10am to 9pm
For the curation and documentation of its permanent exhibition, the Museum collaborated with more than 40 national and international cultural institutions. The visitor discovers a variety of physical, digital and interactive exhibits that showcase the history of Olympic Games, revived through the architectural prism of a modern museum. The principles and values of the Olympic Movement are portraited by photos, archival material, medals and personal items, Olympic and Paralympic athletes’ equipment, among others.
LES JOURNÉES ATHÉNIENNES: MAYOR’S RECEPTION AT THE CITY HALL
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Who can honestly say they’ve never felt the pull to tread the sacred temples of the ancient world? To listen for the eternal echoes of Plato, Pericles, Socrates - and all those like them - who were the well-spring of Western Civilization? Le Figaro Histoire chose Athens to go back to the sources of Western culture with a programme of conferences at the Academy of Athens. Hosted by the City of Athens, with the support of the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO), and co-organised by Athens Insider, it was the first in the series of high-profile conferences in the city by the French media group. A few images from the Mayor’s reception at the City Hall terrace, the conference at the august Academy of Athens and the spectacular shows at Ciné Thissio and the Pnyx.
01 Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis listens as Alexis Brézet, Editor-in-Chief of Figaro, thanks the City of Athens for hosting Les Journées Athéniennes. 02 Industrialist Nicos Vernicos with Publisher France Roque of Saint Simon Editions and Ambassador Tassos Kriekoukis, Diplomatic Advisor to the Mayor. 03 Savvas and Rena Savvaidis from Sotheby’s International Realty. 04 Isabelle Schmitz, Assistant Editor of Figaro Histoire with Sudha Nair-Iliades of Athens Insider and Alexia Kefalas, correspondent for Figaro in Athens. 05 Poet Ioulita Iliopoulou and Fotis Papathanassiou, Director of the B&M Theocharakis Foundation. 06 Maria Koutzabasi and Irini Spanou from Hotel Grande Bretagne, hospitality hosts for Les Journées Athéniennes. 07 Ambassador of Croatia to Greece, Aleksandar Sunko, the Ambassador of Canada, Mark Allen and the Ambassador athens insider | 29 |
of Brazil, Roberto Abdalla. 08 Anna Rokofyllou, President of OPANDA, and Olivier Descotes, Artistic Director of the Olympia Theatre. 09 Jewellers Vassilis and Hara Kessaris. 10 Evita Kalogiorga, Brand Director of This is Athens, Despina Trivolis, Head of Communications of the City of Athens Development Agency (ADDMA), Vagelis Vlachos, CEO of ADDMA and Tyler Boersen, International Press Officer of ADDMA. 11 Popi Domazou, President of Athens Radio 9.84 and Christina Kokota with Giorgios Kouroupos, Opera Composer. 12 Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis greeting François-Xavier Bellamy, Member of the European Parliament. and Michel de Jaeghere, Editor of Figaro Histoire and Figaro Hors Serie. 13 Manuella Kapagiannidi, CEO of Newrest Greece with Alexis Brézet.
LES JOURNÉES ATHÉNIENNES:
CONFERENCE AT THE ACADEMY OF ATHENS
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14 The brilliantly decorated interior of the Academy of Athens. 15 Professor Christos Zerefos, General Secretary of the Academy of Athens with Alexis Brézet, Editor-in-Chief of Figaro. 16 Countess Nicole d’Ansembourg having an animated conversation with François-Xavier Bellamy. 17 Professor Christos Zerefos giving his welcome address. Seated in front are: Geoffroy Caillet and Michel de Jaeghere of Figaro Histoire. 18 Marie-José Tulard and Jean Tulard with writer and explorer Sylvain Tesson. 19 Writer and activist Andrea Marcolongo. 20 Conference participants touring the exhibition at the Academy of Athens honouring the Greek Revolution of 1821.
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LES JOURNÉES ATHÉNIENNES: PERFORMANCES
ANTIGONE, BY SOPHOCLES
BYRON, FREEDOM TO DEATH athens insider | 32 |
Directed by Philippe Brunet, performed by the Démodocos troupe
n ancient theater company named after the blind bard in the Odyssey, the Démodocos troupe led by Philippe Brunet performed Antigone in French and ancient Greek, at the site of the Pnyx, with the Acropolis as a backdrop. The spectacular setting and poignant performance transported the audience to a suspended moment in time.
A play written by Sylvain Tesson and performed with William Mesguisch
wo hundred years ago, the Greeks rose up against Turkish oppression. A sensual and mystical poet, Lord Byron, came to lend them a hand and paid with his life for his struggle for freedom. In Europe, thousands of volunteers joined the ranks of the Greek army after him. What would it be today? Sylvain Tesson's thought-provoking play brilliantly performed at Ciné Thissio by William Mesguisch combines romanticism, philosophy and geo-politics, and asks a few hard questions.
ATHENS LITERARY SALONS THIS IS ATHENS CITY FESTIVAL 2022
WHAT MAKES AN ATHENIAN?
01 Writers Ranbir Sidhu, Sofka Zinovieff and Yannis Zervos. 02 Writer Sophia Mavroudi and Antoine Noguier with Tyler Boersen. 03 Professor Gonda van Steen,Koraes Chair of Modern Greek and Byzantine History, King’s College with American poet and writer Ravi Shankar. 04 Director of the Benaki Museum George Manginis with writer and curator Ian Collins.
Athens Insider launches a new series of conversations with international literary luminaries hosted at the Benaki Museum as part of the This is Athens City Festival 2022
05 Odile Brehier of Lexikopoleio Bookstore, with Maria Tsalla of Galazio. 06 Panos Theodosopoulos and Katerina Bakogianni, founder of Melon Media, with Sofka Zinovieff. 07 A small portion of the audience, engrossed listening to the discussion. 08 Ghide Demashkieh and publisher Patricia Bital Cherfan with Sudha Nair-Iliades.
or artists and writers, Athens is a city of intersections. From John Craxton, whose retrospective is currently on the Benaki Museum, to contemporary foreign writers who’ve set their books here, they grapple with the indescribable weight of Athens’ history, examining the pressure the city can exert on daily life as well as its intense and enchanting embrace. What is the role of Athens in contemporary world literature? Is the city a character? Is it a backdrop? Is it a collection of stories to be interpreted? These questions will formed part of the discussion at the Literary Salons organized by Athens Insider, the oldest Athens city magazine entering its 22nd year with a bold new voice to celebrate the new era for Athens.
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The Virtuous Cycle of Culture Deputy Minister for Contemporary Culture Nicholas Yatromanolakis speaks to Athens Insider on the soft power of contemporary culture and of reimagining the way forward to cultural sustainability.
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You’re the first Deputy Minister of Contemporary Culture. Why was the office created? It has to do with the fact that contemporary culture definitely adds value both to society and to the cultural sector and its professionals. There is a vibrant scene in Greece across the different expressions of art. But it’s also a recognition that this sector requires attention and care in order to deal with some systemic and long-term issues that it has been facing. It is a realization that this is not an either-or situation where you either invest in Greece’s rich heritage or contemporary culture. These are things that can and should co-exist. That way you could showcase a continuum, or demonstrate how we today deal with our legacy which sometimes is a blessing and sometimes is overwhelming. Athens has been gaining an international reputation for contemporary culture. How has that reputation developed? There’s been talk in the last 7-8 years that Athens is the new Berlin. I don’t believe that. I think that Athens is Athens and Berlin is Berlin. But there is definitely an in-flow of artists from abroad and a revival of the Athenian and the Greek scene. Actually, I think that Covid reinforced that trend. Many people opted to go through the pandemic in Athens, including a lot of artists.
So the pandemic was a catalyst? Yes, for three reasons. Sometimes people think of culture as a luxury. During the pandemic, we couldn’t go to the movies, concerts, museums, we couldn’t watch plays. That made a lot of people realize that culture is not a luxury, it’s part of your quality of life and should be part of your everyday life. Second, in terms of the systemic issues, we could not look the other way anymore. For years the culture sector has been facing social security and labor issues that were highlighted and exacerbated by the pandemic. It accelerated the need for reform. Third, it was almost like a great reset because you had to pause your activity. At the Ministry we couldn’t pause, quite the contrary we had to accelerate. But in terms of cultural production, you could take a break from producing one show to another, you could actually sit and think about what needs to be done.
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Deputy Minister for Contemporary Culture Nicholas Yatromanolakis at the MOMus Alex Mylona museum
This is not an either-or situation where you either invest in Greece’s rich heritage or contemporary culture. These are things that can and should coexist. That way you could showcase a continuum, or demonstrate how we deal with our legacy which sometimes is a blessing and sometimes is overwhelming.
Let’s talk about what has already been done. In the short time you have been at the Ministry, there has been a lot of change. EMST has a director and an agenda, they received this amazing gift from Dimitris Daskalopoulos. Today we know there is interest. What is in the pipeline to sustain that interest? In terms of visual arts, we have opened EMST and we have re-opened the National Gallery. At the same time, you don’t always have to establish new institutions, because the existing ones need to be sustainable in the long run and they need to be supported in a way that adds value to the city. For example, through the recovery plan we are developing projects that are focused on the upgrade of existing infrastructure from the National Theater to Megaro, from the offerings of the Greek National Opera to the Athens State Orchestra. It’s also about resolving residual issues and providing institutions with the tools not only to exist but to thrive and grow, to reach more people, and to broaden their audience both in Greece and abroad. It’s about having the ability to compete and be on equal terms with similar institutions abroad, to exchange ideas, talent, and projects, and to have the ability to collaborate. These are all the steps necessary to sustain the momentum. In the next five years, what do you think the contemporary cultural scene will be able to offer visitors that is different from today? Nowadays, we have to think more broadly in order to improve the visitor experience. It’s not just about having a good collection or having a good opera or play. It’s about the entire experience. How easily can you book your ticket? How easily can you access the venue? And it has to do with the educational and social roles that the institutions should be playing, and we need to be investing in that. We have been developing projects for audiences 65+, and we are working on projects for people with disabilities to guarantee their access to culture. We are working on how to make culture more accessible so that people feel they belong in the cultural institutions, so that they can incorporate culture into their everyday lives. And we are trying to see how the digital transformation of our institutions can help reach more people, including visitors. For example, we will have a call for theaters to add sub-titles or monitors on the back of the seats so that visitors can have a translation. That’s true, Athens has such a rich theatrical culture yet somehow the foreigners are left out because of the language barrier. Yes, you can increase your audience and that makes you more sustainable. At the same time we are talking about becoming more extrovert and promoting Greek culture. This is a way of doing it. How can Athens compete with London and New York, or art-specific cities like Basel? Athens can compete only if it keeps on being itself, not by pretending to be something it is not. This weird, wonderful, sometimes chaotic mix of our heritage, our recent past, our present. The
Athens can compete only if it keeps on being itself, not by pretending to be something it is not. This weird, wonderful, sometimes chaotic mix of our heritage, our recent past, our present. We should keep and accentuate the virtues of the city, and also come to terms and find peace with the rest of the city. Don’t pick and choose or try to find the best view with no solar panels. Accept Athens for what it is. athens insider | 36 |
sights, smells and sounds, sometimes the noises of a city that literally never sleeps; a city that can offer you a wide range of different experiences. There are not many cities that can actually do that in such a scale and intensity. We should keep and accentuate the virtues of the city, and also come to terms and find peace with the rest of the city. Don’t pick and choose or try to find the best view with no solar panels. Accept Athens for what it is. Your vision for contemporary culture is not about creating the biggest and the best attractions, it’s actually about reforming the legislative framework for the sector. What are the missing pieces? If you look at the legislation of other European countries you will see there is a mention of the specific status and situation of artists, and from there you can derive certain obligations and benefits. But we don’t have that. Artists fall under a category of self-employed people or working professionals. This became super obvious during the pandemic when a lot of people in the cultural sector didn’t have a safety net, and it wasn’t there because thousands of artists had closed their books during the economic crisis. They were not visible to the state and therefore they couldn’t get support from the state. For this reason we set up a registry for artists where they could self-declare as artists so they could get support. As a policy maker, how do you set up a framework that protects people in the sector, but also makes them more resilient and helps them grow? At the end of the day, how do you help them make a living through art, so that art does not become a side project but can actually be their one and only job? You want to create a virtuous circle rather than the vicious circle that was here before.
Art Collector Dimitris Daskalopoulos recently donated his private art collection to EMST. Is that a sign of trust in the state? I see it as a strong vote of confidence in the role played by public cultural institutions. If you think about it, Daskalopoulos could have opened his own private museum, but he opted not to do so.
Many cities have played with the distinction between art and design, and they have gained a traction by promoting cultures of design. Is “design thinking” part of the strategy? We have very consciously included and incorporated the whole creative industry in the portfolio. We have added things like craft, design, and architecture. I think that Greece has a very strong design industry, and it has a huge tradition in craft that needs to be revived and repositioned so that it aligns with today’s needs. Together they actually solidify this narrative that creativity is one of the strong suits of this country, and this can have a financial impact and be something that we can export, something that can help local economies around Greece. It can reinforce our soft power, and we can also be an equal partner at an international level.
At the same time, EMST has become a global player? We have become more extrovert and we are becoming equals at the table of art players around the world.
As a policy maker, how do you set up a framework that protects people in the sector, but also makes them more resilient and helps them grow? At the end of the day, how do you help them make a living through art, so that art does not become a side project but can actually be their one and only job?
Drawing on your experience working at SNFCC, do you think the way forward to make cultural institutions sustainable is to encourage public-private partnerships? By examining cases like the American one during the pandemic, one can see that an entirely private model is very vulnerable. I think the state should play a role and should be a permanent contributor to the cultural sector. The state is the one that sets the framework and the rules, as it should, because we have to ensure that everyone has access to culture and that all forms of art are being developed. But when you set up this framework, I think it is mutually beneficial to have and encourage partnerships between the public and private sector. It’s not a competition and it’s not about whose vision is going to win. Across Europe, you see how private institutions have their own cultural programmes, but they also start collaborating with public institutions.
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Finally, can you tell us something about the Acropole Project? Acropole is a new institution that is different from the other cultural institutions in that it is not primarily an exhibition space or performing venue, it’s about the cultural sector and its people. It’s about capacity and skill building, networking, financing, residencies and other projects that are related to the resilience and reinforcement of the cultural sector. At the same time, it will be open to the public because it will have a few small exhibition spaces and a café and bar. It’s one of the corner stones of our strategy because it will provide all these tools to the sector. We have secured EU funding for the first few years of functioning and are proceeding with the outfitting of the building, so I hope that by the end of the year or beginning of next year it will be up and running.
, a f a R s i n a J t t n e r r u c Mee e t th
a t s i t r a k e e e l a n n e i the Gr B e Venic
through the een portrayed how it has b history. Western art male gaze in orks in the w tures and lp u sc te ea “I cr (from video of animation them whole range ) and most of and the e to feature film ap sc ith the land imals, have to do w an d an of people ce n te is ex co ead.” living and d ting who we tly renegotia an st n co ty, am “I and mortali t, animalism is ex e s u w g n ow are and h ities that bri create similar d to the and I try to her beings an ot to , re u at n closer to our t”. as humanenvironmen our existence ed iv ce types of life, er p e We hav ing out other av le , ic tr en oc exist. centered, eg we could not without whom
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Requiem to a Shipwreck (Requiem#1), 2014. Film still, single channel video with sound, 11 min. Courtesy the Artist; Museum Voorlinden
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Lacerate, 2020. Film still, single-channel video with sound, 16 min. Courtesy the Artist; Fondazione In Between Art Film
ld grow up in s feel or shou al im te. an er h dered obsole talk of whet ould be consi logue sh ia d at There is also th an s m on u e post-h th ries, questi t st u gh d u in ro t b ea m ic has irus pandem a The coronav fore. e th d beings are to ly tive tact with dea n art p co al or even more ac gr n te io in o are an s of separat to s rm al fo im al n u th A it . “R work odbye to em rence in my had to say go I s, et p h frequent refe it w beings (eg Growing up ed me to seek p el h at of my work. all too th k n), that are t, and I thin hunted dow n at some poin eated. ee cr b e is av on h ds that percepti er h ot t, an , ly strays, or bir den very observan oked. So sud arned to be n le I ow s, y easily overlo al m im so helped avior of an d speech, al ee n From the beh ot n o d that they and the fact things”. of on percepti
ject. I roject to pro goes from p at iniscent of th m e re gu se lo ow, a dia , a univer ld or w a ld There is a fl fo n hierarchies ography to u ve, but some want my film ronment in which we li to the fore vi imal comes en an r e ia th il : d m fa ge the posed, more rearran are more ex s have been s rn ie te od at b p an d m an hu e mortal. the human; lnerable, mor or is equal to vu ter, and I e or m s, es el her is a pain ‘stray’ or hom to be an artist. My mot nment, vi emian en ro ted oh an b w d s an ay w ic al st I arti terested in e 90’s in an that I was in grew up in th lpting. At 18, I realized ersity of scu d at the Univ rms and painting and with the camera. I studie fo t ar in new ore ted to work an l and w “playing” m I ca ti se re au eo ec gland b ation of th in b m co Leeds in En od go fered a very because it of scratch, to g. create from in n to ai le tr ab al e ic b ct to pra dom terest me. n me the free areas that in in ch ar rt for se Art has give re to sioned by A inctively or film, commis t or sh go either inst a on tly working I am curren athens insider | 39 |
animals of humans, ce n te is ex co out the ill be called . My work w the world, ab is is r cr l ta en ronm ry likely nea and the envi be filmed ve to s al s, n im io ss an e re th ep ent when om Landscape D m a g in se becau a, record eir freedom Lake Plastir y stages of th al is rl go ea y e M th . is in hypnos will be of e at st a take in ld u l be ature co humans wil enario that n sc e th on t to commen s. t? The stray revenge on u this momen at e m g in er ted, but not What is both not documen corded, ly on ot n is re body, which ow are lives nts included. H es and migra ge fu re accepted, not om fr , an m u -h non human and herhood: als? im an y ra ncept of mot st co e to th to on eyes of an in relati And all this look into the er h ren ot m an hum out the child how does a feel guilty ab ot n d an er animal moth y day? s we eat ever of the animal
A Sign of Prosperity to the Dreamer, 2014. Film still, double channel video with sound, 16 min
s ’ d a m o N A l Finds Sou ome in a H reece G One of the great spirits of the postwar art world, John Craxton is finally gaining the attention that all his life he ran away from. He scorned the art world and all that came with it – exhibitions, reviews, the glamourous openings. Ranbir Singh Sidhu wonders how Craxton would have reacted to the travelling exhibition curated by his biographer, Ian Collins – currently on at the Benaki Museum until October 2022, when it will travel to his beloved Chania, and then London in 2023.
t’s hard to deny that there’s something essentially unfathomable about Greece that delights the natural born nomad’s soul, and the British painter John Craxton was no exception. Finally deserting the ill-lit and icy drawing rooms of post-war Britain, Craxton first arrived in Greece in 1946, aged 23, unsure what he was looking for or what he would find. He was already known for dark-hued, brooding landscapes of rural England, works that suggested a land locked in permanent wintertime, yet whose playfulness with perspective and subject matter, at times bordering on the fantastical, would become hallmarks of his later, mature style. All of this is on display at his first career-spanning exhibition John Craxton: A Greek Soul, currently at the Benaki Museum in Athens, designed by Natalia Boura and curated by Craxton’s biographer, Ian Collins. Born in a Bohemian, and musical, family Craxton seemed to have decided early he wasn’t going to follow anyone’s rules, not in art and not in life. He famously bragged later that the only exam he ever took was his motorcycle driving test. Friends said he was wedded to his motorbike, and when the Michael Cacoyannis movie Zorba the Greek was filmed in and around athens insider | 40 |
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Chania, Crete, in the 1960s, Craxton shuttled the stars to and from the set on the back of his bike. Among his early friends, and supporters, was the painter Lucian Freud, who later joined him on Poros during Craxton’s first years in Greece. Craxton had traveled via Paris, where the author and noted cook Richard Olney, an American living in Paris and one of Craxton’s lovers, remembered him fondly from those days: “He moved in a bucolic dreamworld, peopled with beautiful Greek goat herders.” In that first year in Greece, when he was living and painting largely on Poros, the change in his canvasses is unmistakable. Gone are the melancholy, cloud-choked skies, with little hint of light; instead we have bursts of color, orange, red, gold, and especially that magical Greek sky blue, which begins to appear throughout his work. He’d fallen instantly head over heels in love with the landscape, the people, the animals, a love that would last a lifetime. He was was soon making friends, not just with the kafeneio regulars in Poros, many of whom he sketched or painted, but also with noted writers and artists. It was the painter Nikos Ghika who first invited Craxton
to Athens, when the former came across his work in London. The lifelong friendship formed between the two artists is one of the more significant artistic friendships of twentieth century Greece, and the circle that formed around them helped define the Greek art and literary world for decades. Among Craxton’s first friends on Poros was the poet, and future Nobel laureate, George Seferis, and its tempting to try to imagine their walks, and conversations, in that summer when Craxton first encountered the extraordinary light of Greece. For over a decade, Ghika’s home on Hydra became a central gathering place, where Craxton often visited along with the writer Patrick Leigh Fermor and his wife Joan, using it as a base to explore the islands and deepen his knowledge of Greek life and culture. When the house was tragically lost to a fire in 1961, it was Craxton who traveled to Hydra to retrieve whatever might be saved. Ghika was too distraught, and never set for on the grounds of the ruined house again. Perhaps more than anything, the fire pushed Craxton to find a base of his own, which he did in Chania, Crete, first renting a small house on the harbor and later purchasing one. The house still stands, and thanks to Craxton’s biographer Ian Collins, was recently renovated and brought back to life. Sitting directly across from the strikingly beautiful Mosque of the Janissaries, whose dome glows pink in the evening sun, the balcony offered a commanding view of the harbor and sea beyond. In my own first winter in Chania, I lived next door, enjoying that same view. A few years later, I’d meet Collins by chance. I was sitting in a restaurant in the alleys of the Old Town when I commented on a particularly hilarious story one of the other diners was relating. The speaker turned out to be Collins, and later he told me that had I lived there just a handful of years earlier, when Craxton was still alive, I would have had the privilege to listen to many of the painter’s tales. He loved sitting on his balcony in the afternoons, Collins said, telling stories about his life to his neighbors. The imagery and daily life of Crete would become central to Craxton’s work, and he would find himself
Craxton had fallen instantly head over heels in love with the landscape, the people, the animals, a love that would last a lifetime. He was was soon making friends, not just with the kafeneio regulars in Poros, many of whom he sketched or painted, but also with noted writers and artists. athens insider | 42 |
drawing more and more from Byzantine and Cretan church iconography. Painted in his bold style, portraits of fish mongers, butchers, humble Cretan dancers became larger than life and took on the aspect of a personal mythology. “Gradually he absorbed all the layers of creative history—sculpture from antiquity, Byzantine mosaics, Cretan icons—to embrace ancient and modern within the same ambitious picture,” writes Collins in his notes to the Benaki exhibition. “The octopus fisher leaps from Greek myth; the butcher recalls the Ancient Agora of Athens; the Cretan shepherd in combat with nature relates to wild bull capture depicted on Minoan inspired gold cups from a royal tomb in Sparta.” Among the many highlights of the exhibition is the grand scale tapestry Landscape with the Elements, woven by Edinburgh’s Dovecote Studios and created by Craxton during his exile from Greece during the Junta years. Light balances with dark, night with day, sea with land, in this extraordinary impressionistic landscape and ode to his beloved Greece. Craxton was often
Painted in his bold style, portraits of fish mongers, butchers, humble Cretan dancers became larger than life and took on the aspect of a personal mythology.
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getting into trouble with the authorities. One story has him openly mocking goose-stepping Greek soldiers as they marched along Chania’s harbor. He was instrumental in saving the Old Town when Chania’s 1960s mayor, along with developers, hatched a plan to raze the Venetian and Ottoman old city to the ground and backfill the harbor. With other locals, he traveled to Athens to warn the authorities, and helped get the destruction stopped. As Collins writes, Craxton “scorned the art world” and all that came with it—the exhibitions, the reviews, the glamorous openings. Indeed, he would often leave paintings unfinished, having lost interest or having been taken up with a new idea. Much of his most well known work early on were his painting for book covers such as Fermor’s exquisite travel books or Xan Fielding’s account of World War Two Crete The Stronghold. “[The paintings’] message, and paradox,” writes Collins,
“is that he much preferred life to art: Greek life most of all.” Though he died in London, he asked to have his ashes scattered in the harbor in his beloved Chania. In October, after the exhibition closes at the Benaki, it will move to Chania’s Municipal Gallery, and later to London. One of the great spirits of the post-war art world in Greece and Britain, he is finally gaining the attention that all his life he ran from. It’s hard not to imagine that he would either laugh at the sudden interest, or turn his back on it all and walk away. athens insider | 44 |
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An intimate peek into Fassianos’ home athens insider | 46 |
In a quiet, leafy street in Papagou, a three-storey house, which doubled as Alekos Fassianos’ studio, occupies one end of the street. Wafts of freshly baked tsoureki drift from the bakery just across. There is little to prepare you before you enter the home of an icon.
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Nikos Karanikolas, Danae
nd then you notice the details: the whimsical sun and moon metalwork that frame the windows, mosaics with the official Xaire (welcome) and informal Ela (come) on the threshold to the public and private spaces of the home respectively, sculpted leaves that grace the banisters, gently curving walls without corners designed to avoid a harsh coming-together. Paintings, lithographs, tiles, ceramics, ceiling canopies and tapestries line the walls in a colour-soaked collage of artifacts and paintings. Rolls of posters from exhibitions past are stacked in different corners and there are piles and piles of lithographs everywhere alluding to the prolific productivity and creative versatility of the artist, even in his later years when his health had begun to fail him.
Hand-painted cupboard doors, patchwork chintz curtains, and stenciled walls give way to an equally bohemian garden teeming with levitating sculptures and cascading bougainvillea. Inside, terrazzo floors in muted shades and bright white walls draw the eye to earthtoned constellations of art and handmade ceramics. The house is eclectic and chic. Rich with hues of mustard, cherry, and clay, the house is as inviting for its poetic interior as it is for its immaculately kept garden. The terrace floor - in a mind-bending visual illusion of black and white checkerboard tiles - is interspersed with sun and moon motifs - that amp up the drama of Mt. Hymettus’ pine-clad slopes beyond. Details abound even mundane, potential eyesores like chimney tops to drainpipes are elevated to works of art, populated with doves and bees.
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His home is in many ways his architectural autobiography. A physical space to peer into the inner workings of a creative mind. An intimate opportunity to better acquaint ourselves with the person behind the persona.
Fassianos’ daughter Viktoria and wife Mariza continue to live in the house but have left everything in situ since the artist’s passing earlier this year. “Every detail was painstakingly crafted by him, by hand, little by little, like a small paradise,” Viktoria added, drawing attention to the light fixtures, the door handles, the armchairs and ottomans, curtain rods, the stairwell.
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The new museum, to open in autumn 2022, will showcase Fassianos’ singular anthropocentric style; a ‘veritable visual treatise on everyday life.’
Some of the works will find a new, permanent home in the museum designed by his dear friend, the late architect Kyriakos Krokos. The museum will rekindle interest in the run-down district around Larissis station. Housed in an unremarkable building from the ‘70s, at the intersection of Metaxa and Chiou streets, Fassianos had solicited the help of his architect friend to recreate the space with his own sense of aesthetics. The new museum, to open in autumn 2022, will showcase Fassianos’ singular anthropocentric style; a ‘veritable visual treatise on everyday life.’ Despite spending a considerable part of his career abroad, Fassianos’ paintings have a distinctly Greek identity. “The concept of Greekness is central to my father’s work,” says Viktoria Fassianou. “Even living abroad, he focused on his core identity as an Athenian.” His works are anchored in Greek symbolism – from bees and fish to round waves evoking Homer’s “Odyssey” and other scenes drawn from Byzantine art and mythology. Even the vivid pops of lapis lazuli blue and vermillion – convey Greece’s cloudless blue skies and dry summer heat. The ochre reflects the inspiration of traditional Greek handcrafts. “Growing up I never realized it was an exceptional house,” says Fassianou. “But watching people’s reactions as they visit, I realized how special it is.” athens insider | 52 |
The Alekos Fassianos Museum is located at the corner of Metaxa and Chiou Streets, Larissis Station, 10437 Athens. It will open to the public in autumn 2022 and will host exhibitions and educational programmes throughout the year. alekosfassianos.gr athens insider | 53 |
Images by Nikos Karanikolas. Words by Sudha Nair-Iliades
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IN MAY ADD 2022
The ADD rings in the Athens Festival with two electrifying evenings celebrating electronic music. The impressive lineup at 28-27 ADD 2022 reads like a roster of the most well-known /05 Greek and international artists running the gamut of 19:00 house, techno, underground, experimental and nu-jazz. Expect a non-stop two-day party in the company of Anetha | Apollonia | Ben Klock | Egyptian Lover | Hector Oaks | I Hate Models | Kim Ann Foxman | Pantha du Prince Live A/V | Planetary Assault Systems Live | Rebekah | Rhadoo | Tiga | Wallis και άλλους πολλούς. Peiraios 260 (A, B, Platea)
IN JUNE BEAVER DAM COMPANY – EDOUARD HUE
All I Need
01-02 /06 21:00
Edouard Hue’s Beaver Dam Company poses a question for our post-Covid dystopian times: Is there any hope for society's self-destructive downward spiral to be halted? A fascinating ballet, the dancers immerse in delicate balances, retreats, advances, in a bid to contort their way out of this hostile world. With allusions to the strategy board game go, Edouard Hue’s politically charged choreography urges empathy over polarization. A reminder we all need! Peiraios 260
GREEK NATIONAL OPERA – LUKAS KARYTINOS – KATERINA EVANGELATOS, RIGOLETTO BY GIUSEPPE VERDI 2-5-
8-11 The Greek National Opera’s mega production of Rigo/06 21:00 letto, Giuseppe Verdi’s dark masterpiece, conducted by Lukas Karytinos and directed by the Athens Epidaurus Festival Artistic Director Katerina Evangelatos, will premiere this June at the Festival. Since its premiere in Venice in 1851, Rigoletto has been applauded by thousands of opera lovers around the world and is rightly considered one of the most popular operas of all time. The court jester Rigoletto, a man in the fringes of society, takes centre stage, as Verdi employs his music to explore all the aspects of this character's complex personality. Katerina Evangelatos will give her own spin on this beloved work, marking her second collaboration with the GNO.
Odeon of Herodes Atticus
ERMIRA GORO, THIRST
Renowned choreographer Ermira Goro, a familiar name to Festival audiences, returns with her new piece: a spell- 03-06 /06 binding performance, a true experience on the primeval 21:00 and ever-cherished concept of rituals. Via six dancers and Stavros Gasparatos’ original musical composition, this work explores how contemporary art may be part of the quest for, or better put, the invention of “new” rituals necessary for our survival. Peiraios 260 (E)
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The 2022 Athens Festival’s programme line-up underpins the intractable role of artistic creativity in political engagement. From jazz diva Diana Krall to rock legend Patti Smith and techno whiz Jeff Mills, contemporary interpretations of Greek tragedies and new operatic sounds, here is a round-up of the most thought-provoking highlights of this festival season.
MINI FESTIVAL OF ELECTRONIC AND EXPERIMENTAL MUSIC
Following last year’s exciting collaboration between the Athens Epidaurus Festival, the world-famous festival of 10/06 electronic and experimental music CTM Festival, and 20:00 the Goethe Institut, this successful project resumes at the former Tsaousoglou factory at Peiraios 260, recognized as a meeting hub for groundbreaking sound performances and electrifying artists. Nene H, “one of the most exciting new faces on Berlin’s ever-expanding experimental club circuit” will be the headliner, joining forces with the internationally acclaimed Ensemble Basiani, the Georgian choir that has contributed immensely to the revival of traditional polyphonic music of Georgia. Duration 4 hours Peiraios 260
WORKS BY BACH, SCHÜTZ, SCHEIN, ENGLISH BAROQUE SOLOISTS – MONTEVERDI CHOIR – JOHN ELIOT GARDINER
Renowned conductor Sir John Eliot Gardiner, founder and artistic director of the Monteverdi Choir and the En- 14/06 glish Baroque Soloists, is a pioneer in early music revival 21:00 and historically informed performances. His recent work with the Monteverdi Choir includes award-winning interpretations of Bach, Berlioz, and Verdi, among others, in concerts around the world. In the Odeon, he will direct the choir and the orchestra in these monumental works by Bach and his predecessors, Schütz and Schein, which draw inspiration from their composers’ experiences of grief and its cathartic power. The choir will be accompanied by the rich sound of early brass instruments in the works of Schütz and Schein. Odeon of Herodes Atticus
NATURE THEATER OF OKLAHOMA, BURT TURRIDO: AN OPERA
The subversive duo of Nature Theater of Oklahoma 15-16 (Kelly Copper and Pavol Liška) returns to the Athens /06 19:00 Epidaurus Festival to present an international co-production of prestigious organizations, including the Festival, four years after The Pursuit of Happiness (2018) that introduced them to the Greek audiences. Their new performance, presented at Peiraios 260, is a country opera that hilariously deconstructs contemporary American pop culture. Burt Turrido: An Opera is set in a post-apocalyptic world. Very few people have survived due to a series of climate disasters and genocides. Borrowing references from iconic works of the opera world repertoire such as The Flying Dutchman, this Kafkaesque, dystopian, and hysterically funny tragicomedy of Nature Theater of Oklahoma, which premiered in 2021, effortlessly fuses highbrow and lowbrow elements, eschewing strict genre conventions. With Greek and English surtitles Duration 3 hours 30 minutes (with interval) Peiraios 260
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DIMITRIS PAPADIMITRIOU, BEYOND THE FRAME
Dimitris Papadimitriou, arguably one of the greatest contemporary Greek composers, presents a representa16/06 tive selection of songs from his rich body of work, both 21:00 big hits and hidden gems waiting to be discovered. A beautiful, mesmerizing concert, full of indelible melodies, great poetry, and wonderful performances, encapsulating the prestige of one our most accomplished composers. Odeon of Herodes Atticus
MARTIN ZIMMERMANN, DANSE MACABRE
Can anything other than humour save us in our struggle 21-22 for survival? After last year’s delightful performance /06 Eins Zwei Drei, warmly received by the Peiraios 260 21:00 audience, Martin Zimmermann (Swiss Grand Award for the Performing Arts / Hans Reinhart Ring 2021) returns to the Athens Epidaurus Festival with his newest production, alongside his team of virtuoso performers. The equally hilarious Danse Macabre once again defies categorizations. In a scenery alluding to a deserted garbage dump, three tragicomic characters, three social outcasts, struggle to rebuild their lives. However, a strange figure hovers over this fragile community: the figure of Death, portrayed by Zimmermann himself, intervening in the plot as a mischievous puppet master pulling the strings of the characters’ bodies. Duration 1 hour 30 minutes Peiraios 260
ERT NATIONAL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA – MICHALIS ECONOMOU – GUY BRAUNSTEINFÊTE DE LA MUSIQUE (WORLD MUSIC DAY)
Every year, on 21 June, the ERT National Symphony Orchestra celebrates the Fête de la Musique (World Music Day), inviting audiences to a big, free concert at the Odeon of 21 Herodes Atticus. The glamorous orchestra will partic/06 21:00 ipate in this established tradition under the baton of conductor Michalis Economou, presenting two highly beloved, melodic symphonic works: Antonín Dvorák’s Symphony No. 8 and Johannes Brahms’ Violin Concerto. Special guest Guy Braunstein, former concertmaster of Berliner Philarmoniker for ten years, will serve as violin soloist.
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TEATRO LA RE-SENTIDA - MARCO LAYERA, OASIS DE LA IMPUNIDAD
SANTIAGO (CHILE) 2022. Ensayo de La Compañía 22-23 de Teatro La Resentida , Director Marco Layera . foto /06 Maglio Pérez[/caption] 21:00 Eight bodies twitching on stage. Are they suffering or having fun? Is there pride or fear in their movements? All together they form a police body, strictly disciplined. To keep order, they must exercise violence against which there is reaction: their victims threaten to overflow the space and cause a social explosion! Teatro La Re-Sentida, which enchanted audiences at Peiraios 260 with the explosive energy of teenage girls from Chile last year, once again merges provocative and reflective elements approaching theatrical creativity as a laboratory for criticism, reflection, and social visioning. Marco Layera and Teatro La Re-Sentida draw inspiration from the social uprising in October 2019 in Chile and stage a choreographic reflection on the dialectics of violence that transcends the borders of their country addressing every citizen of our contemporary world. With Greek and English surtitles Peiraios 260
JAN GARBAREK GROUP, FEATURING TRILOK GURTU
Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek’s name is almost 22 synonymous to European jazz music and the signature /06 sound of ECM, the recording company that has released 21:00 almost all his albums. His music is noted for his lyrical and poetic qualities. For the last fifty years or so, his rich body of work covers a wide musical range, from jazz to world and classical music. The Jan Garbarek Group, an important chapter in his career, also consists of Garbarek’s longtime main collaborator, German pianist Rainer Brüninghaus, Brazilian bassist Yuri Daniel, and the Indian master of the drums Trilok Gurtu. Odeon of Herodes Atticus
ELEANA TSICHLI, THE SEVEN MADMEN, BASED ON THE NOVEL BY ROBERTO ARLT
A secret organization of “Seven Madmen” comes together 22-26 under the guidance of an “Astrologer”: a grotesque con/06 spiracy of world domination, rife with extreme ideological 21:00 views and delusions. Written in 1929, shortly before the Wall Street Crash and the Argentine coup d'état, Arlt’s novel introduces us to a world of violence and terrorism, dominated by dystopian machines, the fantasy of easy money, and a proclivity for illegal activities and crime. With the shadow of totalitarianism looming large, amid revolutionary theories seething at the time, the “Madmen”, directly alluding to Dostoevsky’s characters, paint a grim picture of humanity against the background of a vast metropolis; humanity as a disposable component in automated production lines, crushed beneath an explosive mixture of ennui and despair.Seven actors build a community on stage, shedding light to a timely story that foregrounds the philosophical implications of Arlt’s novel, while also highlighting the theatre stage as the birthplace of a timeless “we”; a new kind of Chorus. With English surtitles / Greek surtitles on opening night for persons with hearing impairment Odeon of Herodes Atticus
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The high priestess of punk rock, New York City’s eter25 nally romantic artist, spiritual heir to Rimbaud, Bolaño, /06 Ginsberg, and the Beat generation, will merge music and 21:00 poetry in her own unparalleled way for a dazzling concert at the Odeon. Having made her mark on the global music scene with anthems such as “Because the Night” and having received literary accolades (National Book Award winner for her memoir Just Kids), the distinguished visual artist and tireless activist will inspire us, move us, and make us believe once again that we have the power to change the world: “People have the power!” Odeon of Herodes Atticus
FILARMONICA DELLA SCALA – MYUNG-WHUN CHUNG, WORKS BY ROSSINI, BEETHOVEN, DVORÁK
The Megaron – The Athens Concert Hall presents the Filarmonica della Scala at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, under 26 /06 the baton of famed conductor Myung-Whun Chung. The 21:00 programme includes the overture of Rossini’s opera L'italiana in Algeri, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2 and Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 (“From the New World”). World-renowned conductor Myung-Whun Chung has previously served as musical director of the Opéra national de Paris (Bastille), chief conductor of the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome and the main guest conductor of the Staatskapelle Dresden. Chung has performed at the most prestigious concert halls in the world alongside famous orchestras, including Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw, Berliner Philarmoniker, Wiener Philharmoniker, and the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. Odeon of Herodes Atticus
CHRISTIANE JATAHY, DUSK
Based on the film Dogville by Lars von Trier In an attempt to escape the oppressive, quasi-fascist regime 27-28 of her country, the young Brazilian woman Graça flees /06 her homeland. She finds refuge in a community of theatre 20:00 artists staging Lars von Trier’s Dogville and tackling the following question: to what extent is our society tolerant of the Other? In the beginning, Graça is enthusiastically welcomed by the group. However, she later falls victim to exploitation and experiences all sorts of racist and xenophobic attitudes.Racism, in all its forms, is a recurring theme in the work of internationally acclaimed artist Christiane Jatahy (Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement in Theatre, Biennale di Venezia 2022). In Dusk, performers film each other live on stage, offering many different perspectives over one absolute and final “truth”.With Greek and English surtitles [info]Duration 1 hour 50 minutes
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ATHENS EPIDAURUS FESTIVAL URBAN DANCE CONTEST, HIP HOP BATTLE
Following its dynamic dynamic at the Athens Epidau28 rus Festival 2021, where it introduced the Peiraios 260 /06 21:00 audiences to the world of hip hop and street dance, the Athens Epidaurus Festival Urban Dance Contest returns this year with fresh dance “battles”, promising to dazzle us with even more electrifying showdowns.This year, the contest includes two categories: on Day 1, sixteen of the best dancers working in Greece today will compete 1vs1 in hip hop. On Day 2, audiences will hold their breath watching an All Styles Break, as 32 powerful dancers from around the country will compete in pairs (2vs2) in a variety of styles, including break, hip hop, popping, locking, house, krump, waacking, voguing, and dancehall.The panel of judges is comprised of highly acclaimed hip hop and street dance performers from Greece and abroad. Once again this year, they will be joined by Dj AmazeMe on the decks, with Sifu Versus serving as the host. Peiraios 260
With 15 years of active presence in the international 28 music scene and concerts in over 40 countries under his /06 belt, multi-award-winning French Lebanese trumpeter 22:00 Ibrahim Maalouf is hailed, both in France and worldwide, as one of the greatest trumpeters of his generation. Maalouf transcends boundaries of time and space, presenting a fusion of his unique signature sound with tradition. His repertoire, notable for its idiosyncratic improvisations, encompasses diverse musical genres and traditions of world music: jazz arrangements go hand in hand with Arabic maqam, pop melodies, and covers, or are woven together with Latin and Afro-Cuban grooves Odeon of Herodes Atticus
Award-winning composer Max Richter, one of the most 29 celebrated European composers of the last twenty years, /06 makes his Odeon of Herodes Atticus debut. Boasting a 21:00 large fanbase from diverse music genres, Richter is considered a pioneer of contemporary orchestral neo-classical music. He has worked with important artistic organizations and some of his best-known and most beloved compositions have been included in numerous film soundtracks.At the Roman Odeon, Richter presents two of his recorded albums: Infra (2010) and The Blue Notebooks (2004). According to The Guardian, both are considered instant classics of the 21st century. Infra is an ambitious endeavour that came about through Richter’s collaboration with choreographer Wayne McGregor and visual artist Julian Opie, rendered timeless thanks to T.S. Eliot’s poetry and Schubert’s influences. The Blue Notebooks is a musical meditation on violence and war, composed in 2003 against the backdrop of the invasion in Iraq. A capstone of Richter’s minimalistic mastery, this work invites us into a well-orchestrated chamber music ambience, punctuated with excerpts by Kafka, originally recorded with Tilda Swinton’s voice. Odeon of Herodes Atticus
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MARLENE MONTEIRO FREITAS, MAL – EMBRIAGUEZ DIVINA
Having previously taken the Athens Epidaurus Festival 30-01 audiences by storm with her performances Bacchae /06-07 and of ivory and flesh - statues also suffer, unconven21:00 tional choreographer Marlene Monteiro Freitas (Silver Lion, Biennale di Venezia 2018) returns with her latest production: yet another wild performance brimming with demonic elements, transformation, surrealism, and copious amounts of humour. Serving as a choir on a podium, her company of dancers, explores Evil as “divine drunkenness”, as suggested by the title of the piece, as well as a prerequisite for ecstasy, artistic creativity, and social upheaval, with theatre stage serving as the space wherein this force is unleashed. Duration 1 hour 45 minutes Peiraios 260
Beloved jazz singer and pianist Diana Krall, a recipient 30 of numerous Grammy Awards for her performances /06 and rich discography, returns to the Athens Epidaurus 21:00 Festival for a single concert at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus. Encouraged by her husband, Elvis Costello, Krall writes her own lyrics and has also been incorporating musical influences from Brazil and pop references. Her concert at the 2022 Festival is organized by the charity Aurora – Together Against Hematological Diseases. Peiraios 260
IN JULY SCHAUSPIELHAUS BOCHUM – JOHAN SIMONS, ALKISTIS BY EURIPIDES
Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus
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A weird play: the story of a woman who sacrifices her life to save that of her dying husband. Mourning; negotiations; arguments; who is not afraid of dying; who has more of a right to live. 01-02 Finally, Heracles descends to the Underworld to bring /07 Alcestis back: by now, though, she is a stranger to her 21:00 family. The Epidaurus debut of Dutch director Johan Simons, founder of the famous Theater Holandia (1985) and one of the pioneers of European avant-garde theatre, is a world-class event. Previously featured in the Festival, initally in 2002 with Euripides’ Bacchae and subsequently in 2009 with Horváth’s Kasimir and Karoline, co-produced with his collaborator Paul Koek, Simons is noted for his musical approach on texts and his impressively minimalist aesthetics. In this new work, Simons attempts a contemporary take on Euripides’ Alcestis, drawing on the music of Gluck’s eponymous opera and placing four singers and an organ in lieu of the Chorus. With Greek and English surtitle
MARIA FARANTOURI – A TRIBUTE TO MIKIS THEODORAKIS
The Athens Epidaurus Festival and Maria Farantouri 04 invite Festival audiences to a magical evening in memory /07 of the late Mikis Theodorakis as a tribute to his invalu21:00 able legacy. Farantouri is joined by brilliant baritone Tassis Christoyannis under the baton of renowned conductor Miltos Logiadis. Having performed some of the composer’s greatest works across the globe, Mikis Theodorakis’ favourite singer has been inextricably bound with him, as she familiarized international audiences with several poems by contemporary Greek poets (Seferis, Elytis, Ritsos, Kambanellis, et al) that were set to music by Theodorakis. In the first part, Farantouri will perform pieces from the iconic Canto General, a poem by Pablo Neruda, which was performed for the very first time by Farantouri and Petros Pandis, and has been praised by audiences at the greatest theatre venues around the globe. At the Roman Odeon, we will rediscover it in its original arrangement for a musical ensemble of 15 performers and two choirs (the ERT National Choir and the City of Athens Choir). In the second part, Maria Farantouri and Tassis Christoyannis, always under the baton of Miltos Logiadis, will perform seminal songs that have left a profound mark on half a century of Greek musical history, orchestrated by pianist Achilleas Wastor. Odeon of Herodes Atticus
Following the magical, uplifting experience he provided 06 to the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus audience in the chal/07 lenging summer of 2020, the world-class Greek violinist 21:00 returns, this time at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus. At the Roman Odeon, Kavakos, both as a soloist and as a conductor, will conduct a small group of six distinguished Greek musicians (two violins, one viola, one cello, one double bass, one harpsichord), presenting Bach’s Violin Concertos.
CAROLINE GUIELA NGUYEN, FRATERNITY, A FANTASTIC TALE
When a part of humanity disappears in outer space due 06-07 to a bizarre accident, The Great Eclipse, the remaining /07 people on earth seek refuge to the so-called “care and 21:00 consolation centres”, which allow them to send short messages to their missing ones. These centres quickly become places of utmost importance, where this community of emotional amputees come to reflect and heal. One day, a new Eclipse is announced. Following the seductive performance SAIGON, which received a standing ovation at the Athens Epidaurus Festival 2019, French-Vietnamese artist Caroline Guiela Nguyen returns with a science fiction fairytale and a diverse, multilingual ensemble of professional and non-professional actors, highlighting the most invaluable resource for the future of our planet: the notion of Fraternity. With Greek and English surtitles Peiraios 260
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PHILIPPE QUESNE, FARM FATALE
A post-apocalyptic scenario in the not-so-distant future: 10-11 five scarecrows, who have lost their original jobs due /07 to climate change, come together in a commune. These 21:00 disarmingly funny characters, though, are undeterred by the difficult conditions: the dying sounds of nature are meticulously recorded for posterity; demonstration signs and slogans are prepared; pop music is blown into the airwaves via pirate radio; insect deaths and pesticides are discussed. With Farm Fatale, world-renowned French director Philippe Quesne, celebrated for his hybrid, strikingly visual performances, envisions an absurdly charming universe, inhabited by gentle dreamers and activists with a penchant for laconic commentary. With Greek and English surtitles Peiraios 260
KATERINA ANDREOU, MOURN BABY MOURN
What remains today of the visions and promises of the 08-09 1960s and 1970s? How do we cope with the melancholy /07 and frustration resulting from seeing our promised future 21:00 being dashed? Previously featured in the Athens Epidaurus Festival with the international co-production A Kind of Fierce, Greek choreographer Katerina Andreou, a major presence of the European dance scene and recipient of the Prix Jardin d’Europe 2016, once again arrests our attention with a new, exciting, French-Swiss production resonating with the challenges of present life. Utilizing the concept of mourning as a springboard, the artist will explore her own, quintessentially female and political voice, in a choreographic solo seeking to address the depression that marked an entire era. Mourn baby mourn. [info]When: 08/07 until 09/07/2022 at 21:00 Peiraios 260
Avant-garde performer, poet, singer, and musician, Laurie 10 Anderson remains elusive to any classification as her effu/07 sive energy and whimsically imaginative mix of speech and 21:00 multimedia on stage manages to artfully slide in-between genres. Molded in New York’s art scene in the 1970s and its unconventional personae - from Andy Warhol to William Burroughs and Philip Glass, and from Lou Reed to Allen Ginsberg - she brings together protest and poetry, the demand for emancipation by breaking any rule and the quest for absolute freedom in the arts. Armed with rhythm, her storytelling, and her charismatic voice, she remains always at the forefront. “This multimedia assault of loops, and text, and voice, and images”, as Iggy Pop had once described her, will enter into a unique conversation with our soul once more in an unforgettable performance at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus.
Odeon of Herodes Atticus
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A ©Photos Nikos Karanikolas
in Greece’s Past, and Present, in the British School at Athens athens insider | 64 |
Ranbir Sidhu in conversation with John Bennet, Director of the British School at Athens on the fascinating world of archaeology and the insights it offers into the way societies lived, interacted and evolved.
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hen John Bennet first arrived at the British School at Athens in 1981 for a two week stay, he had no idea that over forty years later he’d be back there, but now as the School’s director. At the time, he was preparing for a research trip to Crete. “Those are among my happiest memories,” he says, speaking of those first, youthful days in Athens and his summer in Crete. He was a young doctoral student in archaeology, studying at Cambridge University, and would go on to complete a doctoral dissertation examining the island’s history in the last centuries of the second millennium BCE through archaeology and the Linear B tablets excavated at Knossos. During his initial time on the island, in the years 1981 to 82, he worked on excavations at Knossos focusing on the Minoan civilization, which ended around 1,200 BCE. We talk in the gardens of the British School, or the BSA, sitting on what is known as the Finlay Terrace, named for George Finlay, a noted Scottish philhellene whose extensive library and papers came to the BSA in 1899. Even entering from the relative calm of the Kolonaki neighborhood it sits in, the grounds feel like another world. Gone is the city’s chaos, and you can almost sense the generations of scholars who passed through here to work not only on Greek antiquity, but also the modern nation’s rich history. The garden, dotted with palm and olive trees, is threaded with stone paths, and above us, a grand old wisteria with its lilac flowers in bloom shades us from the afternoon sun. Founded in 1886 by Francis Penrose, an architect who conducted important early research on the Parthenon, the BSA was the last of the original four foreign schools to find a home in Athens in the 19th century. It shares grounds with the American School of Classical Studies, whose work has focused on the Agora in Athens and ancient Corinth. One of the prime movers in the early days was Richard Jebb, who oversaw the donation of the land the British and American schools are built on, which has given the BSA the stability it needs over the decades to regularly expand its activities. The first schools, the French and German, carved out their own niches, as did the other schools later in what Bennet says some have described as a kind of “crypto-colonialism.” The Germans worked at Olympia, while the French concentrated on Delos and Delphi. After independence, Bennet tells me that Greece was a pioneer in enacting a formal antiquities law in 1834, in an effort to prevent damage to and unauthorized removal of antiquties. Initially lacking funds, the BSA was able to expand its archaeological projects in 1895 when it received a five hundred pound grant from the British government, which allowed it to begin its first large-scale excavations on the island of Milos. “From then we quickly expanded our focus to Knossos in 1900,” Bennet explains, “and to the beginnings of a long-term research involvement in Sparta in 1906.” At Sparta, their excavations included the Sanctuary of Artemis Orthia and the theatre, and they would go on, in the 1920s, to significantly extend their work around the theatre. These two areas remain at the heart of the BSA’s mission in Greece, and it continues to maintain a research facility at Knossos. Recent projects at Knossos include an archaeological survey of the entire ancient city, followed by a geophysical survey of the Roman era site in an attempt to understand the urban layout from that period, and a detailed environmental investigation studying patterns of consumption and the role of agriculture in the Bronze Age. Today, the BSA comprises a series of neoclassical and more recent buildings, the earliest designed by Penrose himself. Two of the buildings housed the Swiss and Swedish offices of the Red Cross in WWII, and now form the heart of the BSA’s
Pots are not people, but by looking at how techniques move, we can see how ideas move. Fitch Laboratory and part of its visitor housing. The Fitch is a stateof-the-art facility specializing in petrographic and chemical analysis of inorganic materials especially pottery, but also supporting other areas of science-based archaeology. “For example,” Bennet says, “it allows us to trace the movements of pots in the ancient world. This doesn’t always correlate with the movements of people, but it can help us understand how societies interacted.” One way to look at movement in the ancient world, and the world today, is to look at how techniques for the production of material culture move through space. The Fitch houses a large database on the clay-composition of amphorae in the ancient world. It has been used, among other things, to examine links between the Aegean and the western Mediterranean. “Pots are not people,” Bennet asserts, “but by looking at how techniques move, we can see how ideas move.” This interest in technique is informed by an interest in modern potters and how techniques pass from one generation to the next. “When looking at the ways techniques are passed on, I wouldn’t necessarily call it oral transmission, but tactile transmission. One potter teaches another with his or her hands.” Therefore, the anthropology of modern-day artisans has become a vital interest in the BSA’s attempts to understand the ancient world.
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Even entering from the relative calm of the Kolonaki neighborhood it sits in, the grounds feel like another world. Gone is the city’s chaos, and you can almost sense the generations of scholars who passed through here to work not only on Greek antiquity, but also the modern nation’s rich history. often does), the project examined the prehistoric and historic settlement of western Messinia, and has so far resulted in the publication of several major books. In September, the new director, Rebecca Sweetman, the BSA’s third female director, will formally take over. One of the projects she will be inheriting is a growing interest at the BSA to look at the climate emergency, and ask questions about what archaeology can teach us in terms of dealing with what’s happening in the present. The project remains in its early stages yet, but involves collaborations with the other British International Research Institutes spread throughout the world, with an attempt to look at the anthropology and engineering of water management from the deep past to the present. Another project is to complete a fundraising drive to reimagine the BSA’s Knossos Research Centre and hopefully create opportunities to expand the BSA’s activities and to reach an even wider audience. Bennet tells me he will miss the “little oasis in central Athens” that is the BSA, and particularly the warmth and hospitality he’s encountered throughout his many travels in Greece. And the extraordinary landscapes and history that are always in such easy reach of any resident of Athens. The sheer depth of history, and the deep knowledge and interest that so many communities have for their own local history has always impressed him. And of course, the weather, he laughs.
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The question of migration, and how not only peoples but also ideas move, remains an important research focus of the BSA. On the island of Kythira, the BSA team was able to show that at after 2000 BCE the island potters significantly shifted how they made pots. For centuries they had followed mainland manufacturing traditions, but around this time they began to use Cretan, or Minoan, techniques, signalling the expanding influence of Minoan culture north of Crete. The BSA’s interest in migration is not limited to the ancient world. A recent A.G. Leventis Fellow in Hellenic Studies, Eirini Avramopoulou, focused her work on trauma and memory among present-day refugees at the island hotspot on Leros. The Covid Pandemic has brought many changes to the BSA over the last two years, many of them positive, Bennet tells me. It’s pushed it to speed up a major digitization project begun 11 years ago. The goal is to bring online as many of its documents and holdings as possible, and to make these available to anyone in the world aided by a simple keyword search. “We’ve also developed a map function,” Bennet says, “where you can find materials by clicking on an online map of the region and to identify material that interests you.” These link to specific documents, projects, and images of the locations. “One of the great benefits of digitization is that it allows scholars to examine documents and artifacts without the chance of damaging them.” Like many institutions, it’s also adopted a shift for its lectures and seminars to Zoom, allowing people all over the world to join while storing a record of the event online. In September, Bennet will leave his position as director after seven years. He’ll be returning to the University of Sheffield, where he holds a Chair in Aegean Archaeology. He also taught at the University of Wisconsin and at Oxford University. In addition to his work at Knossos, he carried out studies on the island of Kea and in south-central Crete. Perhaps what’s he’s most proud of in his professional life, he tells me, is the detailed surface survey project he and colleagues conducted around Mycenaean-era Pylos in the 1990s. Using multiple different techniques and bringing together multiple disparate disciplines (as archaeology
Beyond traditional models of civic engagement
His social media posts decry vandalism and civic apathy, while inspiring his fellow citizens to protect their heritage. Fund-raiser and former Executive Director of The Hellenic Initiative, Peter Poulos speaks to Athens Insider on the urgent need for civic engagement and public private partnerships. Public-private partnerships have a bad rep in Greece. Have you seen that change during the past decade? Having studied Modern Greek History in college and having spent my semester abroad in Athens back in the 80s studying international relations I have always been interested in the political landscape in Greece. Until recently there appeared to be a major disconnect between the public and politicians in Greece. Politicians felt like winning an election meant it was their opportunity to exploit the country’s people and resources to their own advantage. The notion of winning public office to serve as a public servant seemed foreign and foolish. And even if you elected a strong leader with the right ideals the inner circle cabinet members seemed to always disappoint. Now suddenly and thankfully you have a PM with all the right stuff, a cabinet, for the most part, that athens insider | 68 |
You’re part of a rare breed of civic boosters – engaging with the city to protect its modern history and to help improve municipal services to serve citizens better. Where did you pick up that sense of responsibility? My parents have been the greatest influence in my life, and they instilled in me and my siblings the need to care for others and to give back. They both grew up in hard working Greek immigrant families that were business owners in New York. That hard work led to success, but they never let that success cloud their commitment to helping others. So, we volunteered at our church, at our schools, for our towns and for politicians that supported the greater community and the less fortunate. So, when I began my professional career, first at the firm of Manatos & Manatos in Washington, DC and then working for U.S. Democratic Senate candidates I took with me those life lessons. And of course, I worked for great public servants. Politicians who were great thinkers and took their responsibility to improve the lives of others seriously. It’s a great gift that Greece has politicians who are now acting in this manner. There are a lot of new communities investing in Athens that do not have a connection to Greece. How do we keep them here and keep them engaged? You have already answered your question, the best way to keep new communities invested in Athens is to keep them engaged in Athens. And engagement is two-way street, investors invest their dollars in improving the city but need to also commit to investing back into the broader society. A competitive advantage that Athens has over other cities is that people experience Athens and then don’t want to leave. Athens has a unique energy, all its own, and once it gets into your blood stream it is impossible to shake it. So, when I hear about new foreign investment in the city and then I read about those companies sponsoring the creation of a pocket parks or graffiti removal, or a new R&D center I understand that the issue of engagement is being addressed. What are some of the recent accomplishments that couldn’t have been achieved by the public or private sector alone? I touched on this in my last answer and now I would like to expand on the role PPPs have played in removing graffiti vandalism from the historic center of Athens. THI was approached by former Athens Mayor George Kaminis, with the support of the Athens Partnership and Bloomberg Associates, to address the problem of graffiti vandalism, which had literally covered all of the city center. With financial support from THI, private corporations, local businesses, private citizens athens insider | 69 |
and many Diaspora Greeks the city of Athens was able to clean and maintain huge areas of the historic center thus creating a more pleasant and safe feeling environment not just for tourists but for local residents and businesses. The city did an excellent job of educating the local community, who had given up on downtown ever being rid of graffiti vandalism, that a program like the one launched could be successful. Thankfully, the current mayor and his team have done an even better job of ridding Athens of this vandalism, again with the support of the private and non-profit communities. Is there a difference between new PPPs and traditional philanthropy? Yes, there is a marked difference between new PPPs and traditional philanthropy, and it all has to do with problem solving and engagement. When the public sector and private sector sit down together to find solutions everyone wins. Handing over funds without strong coordinated engagement is no longer a viable philanthropic model. In my tenure at THI, I experienced this time and time again, the more engaged we were in an initiative the more successful the outcome. As I mentioned earlier the anti-graffiti vandalism campaign THI partnered with the city of Athens on allowed us to engage more closely with our donors. This resulted in a huge outpouring of financial support from the global Greek Diaspora community, something that would not have been as successful in a traditional philanthropic appeal. Have we moved past the model of investment that was either for national development or for profit, toward a more conscious economic model? As a country needing to survive in a global economy, we needed to look past traditional models of investment and engagement. And in particular, Greece needed to look at the strength of its human capital and match it with its investment profile. Basically, Greece needed a national plan and with the current government it finally received one. It’s no accident that companies like Pfizer, Microsoft, Tesla, Deloitte, Bain and others are expanding their presence in Greece. It has been the deliberate actions of the government that have encouraged this growth in investment and in turn the increase in the country’s productivity, decrease in its unemployment, and the return of many educated Greeks from abroad. It many ways it feels like the beginning of a new Golden Age. Do you think that investors are now applying ESG indicators to identify material risks and growth opportunities, and see their investments as longterm commitments, that engage with the community and invests in local partnerships? The answer to your question is yes and that I hope to see it continue. And I must mention now strongly I believe social media has played an important role in keeping investors in check. When business and investors work sustainably the world ends up working better for all of us. I am always reminded of what the famous Golden Age Athenian statesman Pericles said, “What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.” Words to live by.
cares and acts as public servants, a first lady who is a successful businessperson and eloquent advocate for the country and many regional mayors who seem to genuinely care about improving the lives of their citizens. In my previous role as Executive Director of global non-profit The Hellenic Initiative, I witnessed firsthand the change a federal government and a local government could make when they were open to and encouraged public-private partnerships. So, if feels like a new day for Greece.
At first sight, Athens may not fit our idea of modernist sobriety in planning and design. But over the last 200 years a remarkably rich understanding has slowly emerged, reconsidering the historical pressures that gave the city its unique rhythms. Anthropologist Tyler Boersen argues that this overdue fascination has made Athens into a paradigm of modernity and is changing the way we see its future.
Image by Philippos Photiadis, courtesy of Kartalos Gallery
How does a city that belongs to the past look toward the future?
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ravel writers from Pausanias to Henry Miller may have inspired people to visit Athens, but they have actually left us with something more academic in nature. Whether looking through the 2nd century lens of Athenian cults, or the Baedeker tours of the 20th century, we’re viewing Athens at a particular point of time that guides us around the past like insiders. Scholars sift their accounts looking for raw evidence of how Athens looked and behaved before there were detailed maps, photographs, or indexed archives. Travel writing is a process of compression that aims to capture experiences, however vast, in a few measly paragraphs. They should leave us with diminutive, efficient observations that easily expand into new journeys in unfamiliar places. But when read together, these spare lines may also give us a sense of vast temporal ruptures between the eras and epochs in which they were written. After all, a good travel writer has first in mind the audience in the world around them, a readership situating themselves in the ideas of Hadrian, Napoleon, even Freud, and all the merchants of empire most relevant to their time. Consider the gaps that emerge between these much-quoted lines: “I am neither Athenian nor Greek but a citizen of the world.” (Socrates) “For every city has dedicated a likeness of the emperor Hadrian, and the Athenians have surpassed them in dedicating, behind the temple, the remarkable colossus.” (Pausanias) “Gone, glimmering through the dream of things that were.” (Byron) “And like sunrise from the sea, Athens arose.” (Shelley) “It is still in the throes of birth: it is awkward, confused, clumsy, unsure of itself; it has all the diseases of childhood and some of the melancholy and desolation of adolescence.”(Miller) “Athens is the new Berlin” (Anonymous) Sprung from the chest they bring to the surface individual passions and fashionable trends. The city arises obliquely into view, taking up space but hardly observed, quite bigger in the imagination than it could feasibly be in reality. More than a city and its landmarks, the lines of travel writers point toward an expanding sense of self that by the end of the Enlightenment in the early 19th century was corrupted by romantic longing for the past.
There is a famous line by the poet George Seferis about waking “with this marble head in my hands; it exhausts my elbow and I don’t know where to put it down.” Seferis skewers that anachronistic longing and the obligations it creates. Could Greeks continue to transport foreigners to the classic period, that time regarded as the most outstanding in history? The travel writers suggest that Athens couldn’t do the job, though Athenians might try. The word Athenographer ought to be brought to more prominent usage. It may be used for a person who carries that weight while
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Travel writers would use their experiences of Athens to refashion the city into a slogan, a reflection of their longing for a perfect community and their own besotted place within it. Such well-drawn images from Byron and Shelley eventually become more vivid than what they depict, and the living Athens has to shoulder its weight.
working to lighten the load. They collect various kinds of documents that bear witness to the city at various points of time. They study the records of archaeological findings for signs of the interaction of antiquity with the modern city. They create archives of photographs as well as long lists of objects, both ancient and modern, that connect in a palimpsest of stories.
One of the most outstanding Athenographers, Nikos Vatopoulos, describes it not as a hobby but as a profession, perhaps even a calling. One of the core ideas of Athens has long been that the city is on the edge of being lost. There might be a clue to the city’s story around any corner of the city in a building or an empty plot of land. They are flaneurs, archaeologists, archivists and activists. You might find them digging euphemistically through urban detritus to uncover the city’s secrets, knowing that something has been lost but can be found. For some, it could be like a treasure hunt. Among the many great Athenographers who have been compiling the social history of the city and its transformations since Athens became the capital of Greece in 1834, we could count the singular Dimitris Kampouroglou, the urban planner Kostas Biris, the archaeologist Ioannis Travlos and the prolific writer Giannis Kairofylas. Though little of their work has been translated from Greek into English, it is some of the more pleasurable material to study while learning at an advanced level. Working in a mode quite different from the travel writers, they expand the field of vision to encompass practically anything thought or produced in/about Athens. Slowly, a long story about Athens has begun to emerge and presented in book length publications, including in English the recent publication of Bruce Clark’s Athens: City of Wisdom. The city emerges as a global paradigm of a city built during the 20th century with fewer references to antiquity than one would expect from a city carrying such historical weight. Quite to the contrary, Vatopoulos has argued that Athens has been a capital of the twentieth century, with all the architectural periods of the century represented in the styling of the city’s houses and buildings.
Today, Athens may not fit our ideas of severe 20th century modernist sobriety, a city welltempered that runs on time. But scholars and journalists have begun to pay closer attention, observing how the city that we know today emerged from dust between 1920 and 1980 by following many of its own, mostly unspoken rules
©Daniel Rich, Athens
Since the middle of the nineteenth century, the number of Athenographers has been multiplying and increases today at a rapid pace. This might be a response to the sentiment compressed into the poem of Seferis, which sees the past as a burden. It’s also an effect of the earlier generations, their work now channeled into internet groups. It has become so much easier to access documents and stand on the shoulders of giants.
They are mapping the familiar idiom of Athenian apartment buildings, the ubiquitous polykatoikia style that emerged in the 1950s. An image has started to emerge of Athens not as a city of chaos and contradictions, but a city with a unique rhythm that gives it an identity. Those repetitive shapes suggest common problems. They reveal a shared set of design solutions mostly developed without oversight from institutions of order, and largely without interventions by architect and planning offices. This new attention has brought overdue fascination and cautious respect to the polykatoikia as a living repertoire of Athenian building design. These rhythms are today becoming recognizable in contemporary art and tourist souvenirs, and they have restored interest in the functionality and adaptation of existing houses and old warehouses. Most of the new hotels and offices in Athens are done by retrofitting existing polykatoikies and their office cousins. Even Vatopoulos, a lover of all the quaint corners of the city, has written that there will be a time in the future when we look back at polykatoikies with nostalgia as they are being replaced. Scholars have also been mapping similar housing solutions in global cities around the world, many of which emerged during the same period of urathens insider | 72 |
banization when millions of people were migrating from farm to city after World War II. A series of articles in Bloomberg Cities examined the “iconic home designs that shaped global cities,” many of which emerged at the mid-century. The Athenian polykatoikia stood out as an “accidentally” resilient design, a response to urgent needs during a desperate era that stands up remarkably well as a solution to the urgent needs of today to cut carbon emissions while maintaining inclusive housing and neighborhoods. Perhaps that quiet recognition of Athens as a long-time laboratory for design has helped make it trendy to be occupied as an Athenographer tracking the city’s rhythms. In the coming years we are likely to see the growing impact of these studies in the restoration and design of more homes, hotels and restaurants. Facebook is full of pictures of polykatoikias of various styles and ingenuous inventions, giving respect even to afthaireta that was once ominously described as arbitrary, primitive and illegal. This movement toward Athenography has the potential to radically alter our sense of what Athens will become in the future as locals and visitors learn more about the city and its history, and as the city’s rhythms become more distinct, emphasized, and more easily preserved. Rather than the compressions of travel writers that have become so familiar, today we have shelves lined with books about Athens, we have mid-century Athenian ceramics that were once thrown to the trash but are suddenly valuable collectibles. More people are heading to the city’s vast flea markets looking for Athenian objects to salvage before they completely disappear. Two recent books add new and valuable dimensions to this new period of Athenography and show the power of this decompressing the language for Athens to change our perceptions of urban time. The first draws attention to the overlooked biological system at the city’s and the world’s most famous monument, including plant and animal life that could easily be wiped away after millions of years by a brief period of human activity. The second points to the slow grind of deliberative processes to prevent a momentary decision that might erase overlooked cultural heritage. On the Paths of the Acropolis by Grigoris and Lambros Tsounis and published by Kedros Press, goes beyond the familiar idea of the Acropolis as a monument of global culture. The father and son biologists argue that the Acropolis is a monument of nature where more than 300 kinds of plants are living today. Rethinking the rock as a singular global habitat gives us a new sense of why it has long been regarded as holy.
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Hope has not been lost. One very small plant with red blossoms that exists nowhere in the world except for the Acropolis, micromeria acropolitana, was last recorded and published in 1908 and was thought to have gone extinct. Grigoris and Lambros identified a very small population of the plant in 2006, and today those small colonies are protected sites alongside the more familiar marble monuments. This tiny flower should provoke wonder to rival the Parthenon as a representation of the biodiversity that emerged long before humans were on the planet, let alone the Acropolis. With this in mind, now we can view Athens through a much longer, extended window of time than that which usually comes to mind.
Athens may feel like a contradiction because locals and visitors are insistently asked how to connect past to future. But slowly the city is emerging not as a mistake, but as a culmination of historical pressures that we’ve been living with during the last two hundred years that have materialized as a city of concrete.
The Acropolis continues to be a rare habitat in spite of two centuries of excavations that have peeled off its layers of built structure to restore the classical era layout of the site. Two millennia of accumulated surface material have been stored in warehouses, discarded, or assembled into spiritless piles of rock. The micro-ecosystem of the Acropolis and surrounding hills was repeatedly and violently disrupted, if not entirely destroyed.
No doubt we can see the geological history of central Athens in a few places where we still see the marled schist that projects from between the buildings, helping to imagine the landscape before the construction of the city.
idea of the nation, which he argued was a novelty under development for barely two centuries. Plaka was a rare example of the continuity between Hellas of 2500 years ago and the nation presented as modern Greece, and for that reason should be preserved. Ultimately this attempt to salvage national heritage would win the day. Plaka was increasingly viewed as emblematic of tradition, itself becoming evidence of the passing of time and the creation of the modern city itself.
Today we know that we ignore that planetary history at our peril, but it might take a reimaging of the Acropolis and Athens in order to truly understand what is at stake and the new mentality required. Set aside the Acropolis as a monument of the Enlightenment and all those travel writers inspired by the Enlightenment and nourished on interpretations of events that happened only 2500 years ago. We should say that we cannot define the Acropolis without those tiny red flowers. It cannot exist without them. They are a vibrant response to the Acropolis in all its specificity, and after all, they could not exist without it.
Thinking about the resilience of plant and animal life on the Acropolis – the losses and surprising resurrection – should make us see Athens as part of a planetary history that persists against our more frequently told human histories. There’s a surprisingly similar group of arguments in the recent book The Future of Plaka by Alexandros Papageorgiou-Venetas and published by Kapon Editions. The book is a collection of transcripts from a meeting organized at the City Hall of Athens in 1966 with the participation of architects, planners, politicians and neighbourhood advocates. The first city plans in the 1830s had called for an extended archaeological zone stretching fully around the Acropolis, including much of what today we call Plaka. The private ownership of the land and buildings had been in limbo for decades and always under threat of expropriation. Without the incentive to repair aging structures, the area had been taken over for nightlife. The book is a valuable window into the diverse thinking about cultural heritage that was already in place in the 1960s. Was Plaka a living neighbourhood? Was it ancient? Was its creation an accident? Was it a working class district in need of preservation? Was it valuable for what lies underneath, or worse, as a passageway for roads? We are coming back into view of the travel writers who imagined a city for the Enlightenment, indeed a paradigm of historical preservation and a center for the study of global art history. The archaeologist Ioannis Travlos (whose pictorial guide to the classical archaeology of Athens was published in English and is indispensable) represents the view that whatever is found would likely be so significant to the story of humanity that it justified the destruction of the old city. He argues for expropriation by the state with a view to future excavation. In contrast, Nikolaos Psarras of the residents’ association of Rizokastros (the neighorhood at the “roots” of the Acropolis) pointed out that the resurrection of classical heritage was meant to secure the
A few steps higher up the hill, the famous Anafiotika neighborhood was also long considered by authorities as an uncomfortable contradiction of the Acropolis above (or something more vulgar, an intrusion). Anthropologist Roxane Caftanzoglou has described a confrontation between the antiquity of Athens as a debt to global humanism and what she describes as “small histories,” not only the tiny neighborhood of Anafiotika with its 50 houses but the stories of individual families who had made the life of the neighborhood into a decades-long project. The national narrative saved the appearance of the neighborhood, but not its way of life, because it would be finally expropriated and preserved as a frozen museum.
Today, visitors come to Athens to be reminded of the global history of humanity collected in museums. Increasingly they stay to participate in the creation of many small design projects that replicate across the city like a miraculous rhythm, which leaves a feeling that the city runs up to the edges of our perception a bit like an abstract expressionist painting rather than a city of contradictions or a vacation hotspot. Increasingly, and with urgency, we see this city extending beyond our human limits, and we look for new ways to observe, organize, and collect the objects and ideas that it produces. That’s the spirit of Athenography. athens insider | 74 |
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Artfully uniting exceptional homes with extraordinary people It might inhabit a very thin sliver of the global luxury market, but if record sales and demand is anything to go by, Greece is all set to seduce the world’s elite property buyers, predicts Savvas Savvaidis, CEO of Sotheby’s International Realty in Greece.
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large cobalt blue and khaki painting by street artist Cacao Rocks with Delos’ lions and Cycladic amphorae dominates the walls of Sotheby’s International Realty office on Voukourestiou in Central Athens. Old Greek masters vie for attention with emerging contemporary artists. The focus on art is intrinsic to the brand’s DNA, and Sotheby’s carefully curated real estate portfolio boasts some of the most covetable properties on the planet. The Greek market’s share of the global luxury real estate pie might be woefully small, but with 18 record sales driven by Sotheby’s in just one year, Savvas Savvaidis is justifiably upbeat. As an Economics graduate from Bologna University, he believes in raw data, and by all indications, the luxury real estate industry in Greece is set to have a bumper year, he affirms.
Sotheby’s has long inhabited the global luxury space, but mainly in art and jewellery until previously. How did the crossover to property take place? The Sotheby’s brand dates back to 1774 and around 50 years ago, it leveraged on the power of its brand as a prominent auction house to diversify into luxury real estate brokerage. The long-term relationships established over generations, and the demand from its art-buying clientele for ‘empty walls,’ informed the need to curate a portfolio of rare properties. The UHNWIs (whose net worth exceeds $30 million) are a tribe unto themselves. At that level, it’s not about bricks and mortar; it’s about nurturing a certain lifestyle, of creating a deeper connection. At Sotheby’s, this is a world we understand well.
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How does Greece compare with other international luxury destinations? Our clients tend to find Greece more hospitable than other markets. Greeks speak English, and they are very warm. Business wise, Greece is 25% more affordable than other markets such as the South of France, Miami, St. Barts, the Hamptons, Aspen or Tuscany, so the potential is huge. Greece is among the top ten countries with the longest coastlines. It’s an authentic lifestyle, and with amazingly clear waters. There is no heavy industry polluting the air or the sea. So, it’s like you’re taking a trip in the past.
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What kind of properties would qualify to be included in the Sotheby’s portfolio? When considering a property for the Sotheby’s portfolio, price is but one factor. Of equal importance are architectural style, which must always appeal to our audience, and condition, meaning properties must be move-in ready. And of course, location, and micro location is very, very important. Since Greece is connected to the sea, sea-views are critical, as is a pristine environment. The less human intervention, the better.
How have the war in Ukraine and the Covid pandemic impacted real estate activity in Greece? The pandemic, is very different from the invasion. The pandemic has been a catalyst, an accelerator for the luxury real estate market in Greece. It led to an incredible number of transactions overnight. Whether it was remote working or unsustainably high rents in Manhattan or Paris, a lot of people questioned the value of living in cramped quarters, without a garden, or extra Zoom rooms or a gym. People have moved back into cities but that traumatic experience of two years on zoom made them invest in a different kind of life insurance. There were a lot of epiphany moments. The epiphany moment is when you’re 60 years old, you have a net worth of a few million. You are a workaholic. And then the pandemic teaches you that you’re not immortal anymore. Because some things are out of your control. No matter how much money you have, you can die the following day. And then you decide to buy that house in Greece that you have always been talking about. This epiphany moment worked brilliantly for the luxury real estate market. The Ukraine situation is different. After a period of shock, we’re now talking about the economy. As you’d expect, we already see signs of recession, which is obviously again, another change. So, you can’t really forecast about the economy, because the economy is about people’s behaviour. It’s not about money. It’s about feelings – about how safe you feel. Consumer confidence in the UK is low. From the data we have, we see that there is an impact on demand. So, the years have been crazy, like 200% increase in relation to last January. And then minus 30%.
An interesting observation is that the countries that lead in tourist arrivals are the very same ones leading the demand for Greek luxury real estate. Is that a coincidence or do you think that tourism has a real impact on secondary home purchases? It’s easier to sell to someone who already knows the place, right? Tourism helps. However, I’d like to point out that 50% of assets are being sold to people who have never visited the place before. Sotheby’s first sale in Greece took place in Naxos in 2016. It was a university professor from Los Angeles who had come here in the middle of winter. He knew the house by memory. The floor plans by memory. But he had no clue which athens insider | 78 |
What are some of the key real estate development projects that in your opinion will alter Greece’s real estate offering? Will the Ellinikon project propel interest in the Athens Riviera? Well, I think that number one, the Greek luxury market is a very small market. The volume of sales of the entire country equals the volume of sales in Mallorca for the luxury market. So, if you open up The Times or the Financial Times, you don’t see Greek ads. It’s all about awareness. A legacy project like Costa Navarino, where the owners invested half a billion euros – that creates awareness of the destination. So, the Ellenikon project will be a catalyst, and there will be a spillover effect on the quality of life. If you follow Athens’ evolution as a city, it was the Acropolis towering over a jungle of concrete. And you never made the connection of Athens with the sea. It’s very bizarre, because Athens has the longest coastline as a European capital! There is new found interest in the southern suburbs of Athens.
If you follow Athens’ evolution as a city, it was the Acropolis towering over a jungle of concrete. And you never made the connection of Athens with the sea. It’s very bizarre, because Athens has the longest coastline as a European capital!
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Buying property in any international location can be complex. What policy changes would you like to see implemented in Greece to make remote property buying easier? In addition to lack of inventory, which is the same problem in many markets, now, there are two big problems. First, there is no comprehensive database of transactions. So, transparency is number one. In the US or UK,
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island we were on! The decision-making process for the people that buy our properties is super-fast. I would say that they know exactly what they want. Having said that, a carefree summer holiday in Greece often works positively towards taking that next step of buying property.
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How disruptive have private equity funds and other forms of corporate capital investing in real estate been to the property market dynamics in Greece? They’re mostly focused on hotels and commercial real estate. There has been a wave of foreigners buying buildings in the centre of the city. But there isn’t a wave of investors for mixed development because of the delays. A lot of young people retire by the time the licencing comes through! Describe a Sotheby’s customer. It’s a very small community of ultra-high net worth individuals who have a very
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for example, you can find out immediately how many properties have sold in a particular location. Here, in Greece, such information is maintained by the banking system, which has data only for mortgages, so it’s not a true picture of all transactions because there are a lot of cash transactions. Second is the speed of processing. It’s still outdated. The average closing time is five months!
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similar lifestyle. They’ve been to similar schools, holiday in similar locations and they all know each other. They are citizens of the world. They all speak English. They share similar interests and lead very similar lifestyles.
What extra services does Sotheby’s offer its potential clients? We’re a brokerage house. So, the most important service we do is our catalogue of 300 homes. We cover the whole country. We fly out, we see homes, we reject 90% of the listing proposals. It’s hundreds of hours of work that goes into the catalogue. And that’s our number one service.
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We create a database where none exists, and we make it easy for our customers to decide. And the service is always personal. We do it ourselves. We fly out the same day, by boat, by car or by helicopter to serve our clients. We don’t delegate it to a local guy to open the door.
• 2 021 enquiries from international second-home buyers were +120%, year-over-year. • 2 021 demand levels were of €4,2 billion • 2 021 saw historic transactions up to €16,700 per sqm in waterfront homes • S otheby’s in Greece currently holds 18 record sales in prime locations • I n Greece, Americans, British, French, Swiss and Germans still lead the demand for the 2022 sales season • C orfu, Mykonos, Athens and Crete are the most sought-after locations • D emand for islands like Paxoi, Folegandros, Ithaca and Syros is emerging • S otheby’s customers own an average of 5 luxury holiday properties around the world
What is your opinion on the seemingly under-regulated glut of Airbnb properties in the city centre that have rendered housing too expensive for locals? What correctional mechanisms would you suggest? It was a blessing for the Greek real estate market coming out of the worst recession in European history. So, yes, a stream of income helped people keep their properties which they might have otherwise lost. The Airbnb craze also improved the existing stock of homes thanks to renovations. On the downside, there has been an erosion of neighbourhoods. It seems likely to me that Greece will need to adopt new regulations with regard to Airbnb similar to those that have been adopted in other countries.
Purpose Are you buying a property to live in, yourself? Rent it for income? Or renovate and sell it? If you’re renovating, which you’ll likely do regardless of purpose, you can expect to pay a minimum of €400 per square meter (more for higher-end materials) with about 3-4 months to complete, depending on scope. Note that quoted costs of some materials (timber or concrete) may be unreliable due to inflation or availability of product. If you’re drawn to rental income, know that you’ll need to register your property with the relevant tax authority and, furthermore, if you’re considering getting into the Airbnb market you’ll likely need a license. Know also that due to the overabundance of short-term rentals in Athens you should expect only about a 15% occupancy rate. In addition, tenants may impose special requirements. I know a friend who, after spending a lot of money renovating her flat, had to spend additional money for subsequent improvements to satisfy a foreign embassy tenant. Finally, as a landlord you’ll come up against strict tenant protection laws which make it notoriously difficult, costly, or even impossible to evict troublesome tenants.
Limitations to building on land or adding additional sqm onto existing structures. There is a building ratio which cannot be exceeded. For instance, for raw land there is a permissible building allowance which may be different for commercial and residential structures. Even existing structures come with building ratios, so if you buy a top-floor flat in an apartment building in Athens and wish to erect a structure on the roof, your structure will be limited in size (likely a lot smaller than you imagined).
Understand the sellers you’re buying from. It’s very common for families to own entire buildings with each apartment being owned by more than one person. This ownership structure generally makes it difficult to get everyone to agree in writing to sell or undertake necessary renovations to the building.
Lack of homeowner’s association rules. Invariably this translates into owners not contributing to the upkeep of the building. Real and recent examples include a malfunctioning front door to the building which was replaced only after more than six months of pleading with owners to pay, non-working elevators or common area lighting due to non-payment of charges, unpaid bills for heating fuel and more.
Service charges. In older buildings you’ll find communal heating which cannot be controlled or regulated by apartment owners. And, yes, you’re liable for such charges even if the property is unoccupied during winter. Further, if you decide to install your own gas or other new heating system, you’ll need to negotiate with the other owners in writing so that you can legally shut off old radiator feeder pipes and get yourself excluded from future communal heating charges.
Previous renovations. Make sure that everything you’re seeing in any property you’re considering has been legalized and documented, otherwise you may be restricted in selling in future. For example, I know a couple who enclosed a balcony and were prohibited from selling unless and until the enclosure was legalized with documents and fees, or demolished with the space being returned to its original and documented use as a balcony.
important considerations when buying property in Athens
You’ve visited Athens, fallen for its charms, seen its potential - and like so many before you - decided to buy a property here. Heed Michael Wyatt’s recommendations, who speaks from personal experience and with professional authority, on following a checklist.
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Professionals. Buyers are urged to appreciate the value of local professionals and pay for their services. At a minimum, get yourself a good estate agent to advise on nuances of location. Source an experienced Greek lawyer who specializes in the types of transaction you’re considering. And find a seasoned Greek architect who also is licensed as an engineer to direct you in both your purchase and renovation. These people are essential to everything from navigating a Golden visa to advising how many plants your roof deck can support.
Shifting purchase prices. Just when you’ve negotiated a price, the price suddenly jumps. Or the owner wants to charge you for something he or she doesn’t actually own, such as exclusive right to use the rooftop. Contrary to some assumptions, there is transparency in Greece and there are rules and laws which are enforced, so get everything in writing and approved by your lawyer.
Greek sellers’ seeming nonchalance. Anyone who’s ever looked at property in Greece has commented on this. First it’s the awkward and often blurry photos of, say, a dark bathroom or kitchen, or untidy living room. Or the seller doesn’t return your messages and/or is not available to show the property. Or the shifting price (see above). “Does this person really want to sell?” is a common query.
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And finally, we’ll conclude where most begin: location. Yes, of course, the right neighbourhood and the one that’s the best fit for your purpose (see article on Athens neighbourhoods here). But additionally, there are other aspects of location that may impact the use and enjoyment of your property. For instance, is your property above a late-night restaurant or bar, and will the noise disturb you or your tenants? Which direction is your property facing, and will you ever see a ray of sunshine on your balcony? Is there adequate outdoor green space to which you can take your dog? Do you have a view of the sea, the mountains, or the Acropolis, and will any future new development interrupt your view?
The Coaster Ride Ahead Ri-vie-ra,
he word alone fills the mouth with longing and tantalizes body and mind with its associations of glamour, luxury, sea, sun, palm trees, casinos, yachts and a laidback lifestyle. Does it? Or might it just translate into past glory, overcrowded beaches, rampant commercialism, bad service, and cramped quarters?
Art historian Els Hanappe is all for progress but warns that sustainability and engagement with the local community are key to making the Athens coast a truly unique destination.
Strangely, the concept of the Athens Riviera has slipped into consciousness without much ado. The Riviera, a noun with Italian and, further in the past, Latin roots, initially referred to a stretch of coast in the south of France, down from Monaco into Liguria, Italy, or from the Côte d’Azur to the Riviera Ligure. Its mythical connotations started in the eighteenth century when wealthy Western Europeans escaped the chilly winters to seek refuge in the region’s mild climate. During the nineteenth century, members of the European royalty and nobility increasingly sought out health resorts and eventually settled down in opulent Belle Époque seaside villas and mansions. At the beginning of the twentieth century, they were joined by the new American rich and exiled Russian aristocracy, and by artists, writers, celebrities, and movie stars who bathed in the light and balmy weather. Wealthy patrons who contributed the funds mingled with bohemians who created the thrill, old money that provided the aristocratic flair and parvenus who supplied the gossip. A right mindset was all that was required. The winter season turned into a summer season and year-round visitors.
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The legacy and attraction of the original Riviera turned into a brand to be applied to destinations all over the world as a guarantee for exclusiveness and exoticism. The idea for an Athens Riviera was first conceived during the twenties, headway was made during the fifties but it is now, a century later, that major plans are being realized. The city of Athens is not historically located at the seaside but communicates with the sea through the harbour of Piraeus. Along the coast were fishing villages and, inspired by the early tram that brought hot citizens from the Academy down to Faliro, beach cabins and the occasional grand summer house. For the late twentieth-century traveler, the shoreline was barely an attractive sight. With Piraeus and its industrial hinterland lingering on the right, the jam-packed coastal road Poseidonos Avenue prone to nightly high speed racing and fatal accidents in front, and endless blocks of bland apartment buildings all along, there was little on offer to excite the senses.
Experience Park, Ellinikon Project
Perhaps the answer lay in the ready availability of a long coastline around the mainland and islands. Some twenty-four kilometers of this distance are situated within the metropolitan boundaries, a puzzle of privately and publicly administered pieces with marinas and yacht clubs in between, owned by one municipality after another. Further on and beyond the city, from Vouliagmeni Lake to Cape Sounio, the road is beautiful with splendid views and dangerous bends, passing through seaside towns such as Lagonisi, Saronida, and Anavyssos. In recent times, the landscape has been changing and mega projects have been set in motion. Starting with Phaleron Bay, port to ancient Athens, the area was first enriched with the world class Flisvos Marina, adjacent to the Flisvos Park, before the grand opening of the architecturally impressive Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center with surrounding Mediterranean gardens was announced. A pedestrian pathway was
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A Riviera was furthest from the mind but the question did pop up repeatedly: why does Athens not take advantage of this unique opportunity with a coastal stretch that extends to about 70kms between Piraeus and the ancient Temple of Poseidon at Sounio?
laid that connects Edem with Flisvos but stops short of the long SNFCC Bridge that crosses the main avenue. The tram, as does the traffic, cuts through the scenery but construction has started on a tunnel that will link Alimos to Glyfada. This improvement will greatly benefit The Ellinikon, a large-scale urban regeneration project on the site of the old airport with luxury housing, commercial properties, corporate headquarters, hospitality and catering services, shops, sports facilities, and a park. Further east, on the Lemos peninsula of Vouliagmeni, the entire property of the Astir Palace hotel complex - the birthplace of the Athens Riviera in 1959 - was sold for redevelopment. Suitable amenities for the new, more demanding guests meant a makeover of the Vouliagmeni Marina as yet another glitzy attraction. It is encouraging that progress is being made to appreciate the city’s shore. However, changes are being led by big corporations who create pockets of exclusivity whereas a united front of the coastal munici-
palities is missing to tackle the many issues that concern its inhabitants. For starters, everybody wishes for a continuous esplanade that would allow citizens and sightseers alike to walk along the beach, with a designated lane for cycling. I live in Glyfada at a 10-minute walk from the sea, but access is blocked on all sides by fancy beach lounges. It takes another 10-minute walk with traffic whirling by to reach a beach where I used to enjoy a plate of calamari at sunset. The fish tavern is now gone in a bid to clear the waterfront. The southern suburbs of Athens do not have the charm of the villages and towns in the south of France. The new development projects claim environmentally friendly buildings and landscaping and the inclusion of parks as a percentage of the overall site is admirable, but sustainability also demands respect for the host community, its culture and its wellbeing, and opportunities for individual growth. The Greek people are natural hosts, and nearby luxury expansions will drive up the real estate prices
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Maybe we should recall the seashore Athinaiki Akti, establish our own brand and values, and brainstorm about innovative solutions. There is still plenty of space, time, and opportunity to fill in the gaps with more inclusive and unifying initiatives that address different audiences and actively involve the residents.
Converting decades-old neighbourhoods into more enchanting places cannot happen overnight but mayors can make a start on adding greenery, creating pocket parks, fixing up squares and sidewalks, planning traffic regulation and parking spaces, scheduling open markets with local products and crafts, upgrading garbage cans, allowing for community gardens and activities, organizing cultural events, applying creative lighting in dark areas, engaging the kids in designing their surroundings, designing creative maps outlining the area, and so much more. There are numerous creative organizations and studios that can advise, drawing from a rich cultural legacy, history and traditions, to make the Athens coast a truly unique experience.
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in a country that is scarcely known for its high-income households. It brings high-end tourism to Greece, creates entertainment for the citizens, generates income for the owners but lacks authenticity and adds one more pin to the map of global tourist spots. Tourism is at its best when there is a vibrant and diversified local community that is not entirely dependent on visitors but can sustain itself at any time. Maybe we should recall the seashore Athinaiki Akti, establish our own brand and values, and brainstorm about innovative solutions. There is still plenty of space, time, and opportunity to fill in the gaps with more inclusive and unifying initiatives that address different audiences and actively involve the residents. A future vision can only be based on lessons from the past and from other geographical areas. Worthwhile projects implemented on the mainland and some islands may well serve as examples.
Resorts provide a one-sided development. They attract a certain customer who seeks comfort rather than adventure. With all amenities, facilities, and services available within its walls, there is little need to stroll beyond and connect with the enriching culture and history of the location. The SNFCC for instance has continuously reached out to a larger public of all ages and interests. With at its heart the National Library and Opera, it is a meeting place for everyone. However, it is also an oasis in an otherwise indifferent area, a destination in its own right, for people to arrive at and depart from, with little to explore.
neighbourhoods to invest in
The Athenian Riviera is where the real estate redevelopment action is, but the city centre and the neighbourhoods fringing it are enjoying a quiet renaissance, buoyed in large part by a thriving community of young creatives who’ve breathed new life into it. These bohemian districts are dotted with oft-overlooked 1930s art deco buildings and come with the added bonus of hidden courtyards or an Acropolis view. But best of all, they are all going through a resurgence, driven by local communities.
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INSIDER NOTE Kerameikos is still rough on the edges but it is poised for gentrification. Some of the most interesting real estate deals are to be found here. But you need a lot of patience and perseverance to pursue your real estate dreams.
1 KERAMEIKOS Kerameikos brings alive the storied history of this district with an edgy urban aesthetic. Encapsulating the ethos of this ancient potter’s settlement, its pedestrian streets lined with Judas trees and cafes, serve as reminders of Athenian history with vestiges of old temples and burial grounds strewn all around. Piercing the sky are the fiery red obelisk-shaped chimneys of the old gas factory and the majestic dome of the National Observatory. In the paradox that is Kerameikos, the ancient sacred route is now dotted with shrines of a different kind - techno temples and bouzoukia. 1. The streets here are lined with theatres, hipster hangouts, art galleries, bars and nightclubs making it the de facto fun zone of Athens. 2. Within walking distance are the Kerameikos Museum, the Jewish synagogue and Ottoman-style Hammam baths, all underscoring the cosmopolitan character of this vibrant neighborhood. 3. Award-winning restaurants like CTC Resto share space with wholesalers and micro-breweries 4. The vibrant art scene finds expression in the stunning collection at the Municipal Gallery, where entrance to the public is free, at art spaces like The Breeder and the Rebecca Camhi gallery that have made Kerameikos their base for over two decades, and in the murals that have made Kerameikos a base for street artists. 5. An attractive destination for the creative set, as rents and property prices are still extremely affordable, the vibe here is that of a large commune. Ingenious talent have made intelligent use of negative space such as LATRAAC which doubles as a Cafe and Skate Bowl and impromptu concert venue while Communitism encourages the réactivation of abandoned buildings. athens insider | 89 |
WHAT WE LOVE
PANGRATI It is hard to believe that a mere 90 years ago, Pangrati, formerly known as Vatrahonissi, was an island on the banks of the river Ilissos, – and as its name suggests – inhabited mainly by frogs! The river, which used to flow along the path where the Vas. Constantinou road now runs, determined the eastern boundary of the city of Athens. While some of those grand plans of cementing a river might have been lamentable, its recent, more organic metamorphosis has made Pangrati a very desirable address indeed. Just a quick 15-minute walk to Syntagma and Kolonaki, this neighbourhood has an unapologetically Athenian feel, pock-marked with vegan eateries (see our article on vegan restaurants), cool bars, ceramic studios and designer boutiques alongside Michelin restaurants, long-standing tavernas and mom-and-pop run stores.
WHAT WE LOVE 1. Its family-friendly, safe vibe combined with an animated social scene 2. Its proximity to the Kallimarmaro (the ancient stadium), and to the Goulandris Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery, the National Conservatory, the War Museum and the Byzantine Museum. 3. Its pockets of green (the Alsos Pangratiou and Ardittou Hill are hugely popular with dog-walkers and joggers and the National Garden and First Cemetery is just a quick stroll away). 4. You can get everything here – from pet groomers to upholsterers, international bookstores like Lexikopoleio and organic mini-markets that stay open until midnight. 5. It is still affordable compared to Kolonaki, and if you’re looking for a cosmopolitan but quintessentially Greek neighbourhood, Pangrati it is.
INSIDER NOTE When looking to buy, remember that parking here can be a bugbear. On the flip side, you can walk to most places, and it is well connected by a metro service. athens insider | 90 |
NEA SMYRNI ema! The cultural axes of EMST, the Onassis Cultural Centre and the SNFCC are all within easy reach as are an array of 5-star hotels that line Syngrou Avenue.
WHAT WE LOVE 1. Its down-to-earth vibe of a hard-working neighbourhood with distinct notes of their Asia Minor heritage. 2. Plateia life - there’s always something interesting going on here: from festivals with free entrance to hip new bars and restaurants rubbing shoulders with century-old kafeneia and tavernas. 3. The tram from Syntagma to Aghia Fotinis takes just 7 minutes or an easy 25-minute walk. 4. It makes for an easy getaway to the coast as well as to the islands through Piraeus. 5. Some of the finest examples of inter-war architecture can be found here - the Iosifoglou orphanage being a case in point and the Estia Neas Smyrnis, funded by the Onassis foundation, an impressive neoclassical building that that promote Smyrna’s rich cultural heritage including a collection of furniture and silverware from the 17th and 18th centuries. athens insider | 91 |
Ideally located between central Athens and the coast, this lush, family-friendly neighbourhood of Nea Smyrni is attracting investors for its oft-ignored charms. Its many squares are host to an interesting history: the neighbourhood gained its name from the former Greek city of Smyrna, now Izmir, from where refugees settled the area in the 1920s. Car-free Nea Smyrni Square, one of the largest squares in Greece, is at the neighbourhood’s heart and is spectacular, with fountains, shops, restaurants, trendy cafes and bars to suit all ages, trends and budgets. The Church of Agia Fotini dominates the horizon, named after its namesake church, that was razed to the ground during the 1922 Asia Minor catastrophe. It boasts an identical bell tower as the original church and houses some of the icons and frescos. Also rooted in its Smyrna past, is the history of the oldest football club in Greece, the Panionios, founded in 1890. Venture beyond the square and you’ll find Nea Smyrni Alsos park, a large green oasis with Aleppo pines, cypress and stone pines with a jogging track, an outdoor gym, café and outdoor cin-
Nea Smyrni remains an affordable option and a safe neighbourhood straddling the best of both worlds – proximity to the city centre and the coast.
KYPSELI Home to some stunning examples of Bauhaus and Art Deco architecture, Kypseli has perhaps gone through more ups and downs in its fortunes than any other district. Once an upper-class neighbourhood peopled by Athens’ intellectual elite and artist community, it went through a long period of apathy. A drop in rents saw a new wave of immigration that has added to the colourful, cultural mix of the district with Ethiopian coffee shops and Syrian falafel shops vying for commercial space with legendary Athenian cafes and watering holes. Demographically, young creatives are finding their way back to Kypseli and reclaiming their heritage with urban activism. The Kypseli Municipal market is a hub for local entrepreneurs, artist residencies abound - artist-run spaces Snehta and Bhive are thriving - and Kypseli’s stately buildings are being rediscovered by architecture enthusiasts for its stunningly beautiful examples of urban design from the inter-war period.
WHAT WE LOVE
For impatient investors, looking for a quick turnaround, this isn’t for you. Kypseli has always been about the long game. Restore, re-invest and recreate is the mantra for any serious investor.
1. Fokionos Negri and Drosopoulou streets for its old world charm and handsome townhouses. 2. Its switched-on, inclusive, activist side as evident at the revamped Municipal markets that now hosts pop up exhibitions and communal brunches 3. Its proximity to arguably Athens’ most impressive museum, the National Archaeological Museum. 4. Its cultural pedigree as reflected in the profusion of theatres in such a small area 5. Its proximity to the lungs of the city, Pedion to Areos and its long promenade, popular with dog owners with pride of place being occupied by the statue of a local stray. athens insider | 92 |
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EXARCHIA Possibly the area with the most beautiful building facades (that have been blighted by graffiti and other tell-tale signs of anarchic living) but if you look past the first signs of abandonment, there are still some amazing buys to be had. Exarchia will always be shaped by youth politics and an activist ethos – it is after all the district that houses both the Polytechnic and the Athens University. So, expect intense street art, but also lots of art supply stores and artist-run spaces and residences, discos, alternative bookshops, pop-up cocktail bars and venues where the indie music scene finds expression.
WHAT WE LOVE 1. Its edgy, urban vibe and profusion of creative entrepreneurs 2. Its proximity to Syntagma, Kolonaki and Omonoia – making it a very convenient location. 3. Kallidromiou market – this beautiful street comes alive every Saturday with florists and vegetable vendors hawking their fare to the hipster set. 4. Lofos Strefi is the perfect perch to take in views of the city below. 5. Ideal for those willing to restore some stunning gems and accept Exarchia for what it is.
INSIDER NOTE This is the epicentre of restless Athens so expect impromptu street protests and do not be put off by the heavy police presence or the tattooed walls. If you come here hoping either of those will go away anytime soon, don’t.
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Accessible Itinerary: Historic Heart to Urban Soul of Athens
The itinerary mostly consists of pedestrian areas with two different paving types: one of medium variation that was noted as annoying but not dangerous by wheelchair users (Syntagma - Thissio) and one with flat paving that is totally accessible and safe (Thissio-Gazi).
See the complete itinerary and dozens more at accessible.thisisathens.org
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The itinerary is slightly downhill. You will descend 58 metres of altitude over a total distance of 2.5 kilometres. We suggest that you do not attempt the itinerary from the opposite direction since it is an ascent. There are no steps on this route.
Essential Greek Summer Reading For nearly 40 years, the Runciman Award has been selecting the best book published during the year in English about Greece or a Greek subject. Covering every imaginable subject related to Greece from archaeology, history and myth to contemporary fiction, biography and travel writing, writer Sofka Zinovieff , who served as a judge on the panel for the second year running, reviews the books that made it into the short list. The perfect summer reading guide on all things Greek.
eing a judge for the second year running on the Runciman Award has been an exciting, sometimes daunting, but always interesting experience. In January, my four fellow judges and I were sent the twenty-three books we had selected for the long list, with the aim of finding the best book published during the previous year in English about Greece or a Greek subject. The net hauled in an impressively broad selection of treasures, from archaeology, history and myth to contemporary fiction, biography and travel writing. Every reader brings something different to a book, depending not only on her character and experience, but mood and circumstances at the time. While it is relatively straight forward to tell if a book is well researched and original, it’s quite another to agree on whether it ‘grabs you,’ touches your heart, or deserves to be celebrated. How then, could five different people agree on a short list that should also reflect the diversity in authors and topics? I admit I was nervous before the meeting, which was held over zoom in April.
We took a long time to agree unanimously on a somewhat long short list of eight books. Each of us had to let go of some favourites, which wasn’t easy. Still, the dread that a nice group of bookish types and academics might end up hurling abuse at each other didn’t materialise and we were all delighted with our final selection. The short list is indisputably varied and includes some marvellous and inspiring writing. All the books passed the test of being accessible for the general reader and as the only novelist on the panel, I was delighted that three works of fiction (all by women) were included. I have to say I’m not looking forward to the task of letting the next seven books go, though all the judges agreed that any book on the short list would make a worthy winner. The winner will be announced on June 13, in the Great Hall of King’s College London
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Nektaria Anastasiadou, A Recipe for Daphne Effervescent love story set amongst the Greeks of Istanbul Daphne arrives from the US in search of her roots and meets pastry chef Kosmas and a picaresque collection of characters who introduce her to the delights and traditions of their historic Rum (Greek Orthodox) community. Food plays a central role in this love story, but cultural history and the meaning of home and belonging are threaded through it. Fans of the much-loved film Politiki Kouzina (A Touch of Spice in English) may notice some common themes around cooking, family and identity amongst Istanbul’s dwindling but proud Greeks. Astute and funny, Anastasiadou’s novel is a page-turner and a romance with an insider’s eye on the remarkable place Greeks still call ‘The City.’
Michael Andreopoulos (Translated by Jeffrey Beneker and Craig A. Gibson), The Byzantine Sinbad Medieval Persian moral tales in the tradition of Aesop
The philosopher Sinbad (or Syntipas in Greek) became known in Greece when his fables and The Book of Syntipas (originally written in Syriac) were translated into Greek by Michael Andreopoulos in the eleventh century. In this remarkable palimpsest of languages and traditions, they are brought together, in parallel translation with the original Greek. The sixty-two Fables are sometimes reminiscent of Aesop, with their talking animals and life lessons, while The Book of Syntipas tells the story of King Cyrus’s son who is falsely accused of rape by a royal concubine and sentenced to death. With the help of seven philosophers, including his teacher Syntipas, he is eventually vindicated.
Pat Barker, The Women of Troy Fictionalised aftermath of the Trojan war amongst the traumatised women enslaved by the Greeks.
In the sequel to her bestselling The Silence of the Girls, Barker reveals the ordeals of the defeated, and particularly the oppression of women. A powerfully beautiful and unsettling novel that exposes not only the horrors of war but the cruelty of men after the battle is won. Helen, Cassandra, Hecuba and Briseis are known from Homer’s Iliad and countless retellings, but Barker brings these women to life in a way that sheds light on genocide, rape and female enslavement as eternal elements in warfare. An ancient story that feels only too relevant to contemporary events.
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Ian Collins, John Craxton: A Life of Gifts
Biography of a rebellious British artist who loved Greece and lived on Crete.
Ian Collins’ biography takes us from Craxton’s chaotic, bohemian childhood in London, to his friendships with Lucian Freud and Patrick Leigh-Fermor (whose book covers he designed), and his lifelong dedication to Greece. The author knew his subject well and doesn’t shy from revealing Craxton’s mischievous, hedonistic streak and his penchant for Greek sailors - in art as well as life. The joyful beauty of the paintings is at the centre of this book, which is filled with magnificent and high-quality reproductions and photographs.
Mark Mazower, The Greek Revolution: 1821 and the Making of Modern Europe Greek uprising against the Ottomans in the context of world events as well as local heroes and horrors.
Michael Llewellyn-Smith, Venizelos: The Making of a Greek Statesman 1864-1914
First Volume documenting the life of Greece’s statesman and Prime Minister.
In the two-hundredth anniversary year of 1821, historian Mark Mazower unpicks the forces that allowed an unlikely revolution to succeed and lead the way for subsequent European battles for national independence. With an eye for excellent stories yet not shying from the bloody brutality, Mazower examines the remarkable and sometimes incompatible mix of people who joined the fight to create modern Greece. From Greek diaspora intellectuals to bandit chiefs in the Morea, from American Independence movements to European poets, and the local populations (as in Missolonghi) that were prepared to die for freedom. A fascinating look at the founding myths of modern Greece from a global perspective.
Former British ambassador to Greece Llewellyn-Smith’s biography is ambitious in scale and has copious notes for scholars, but it is also a hugely enjoyable read for the general reader. Growing up on Crete, Eleftherios Venizelos went on to play an important part in the island’s rebellion against and liberation from the Ottoman Turks. Combining personal and professional elements, Llewellyn-Smith has produced a definitive biography of a remarkable man who progressed to the summit of Greek politics during the unstable years of the early twentieth century. This first volume ends before World War I and the Asia Minor Catastrophe, which are to be covered in a second and final volume.
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Worth £10,000, the Runciman Award was founded in 1983 in honour of Sir Steven Runciman, the British historian and Byzantinist. The prize is administered by the Anglo-Hellenic League under John Kittmer, former UK ambassador to Greece, and is sponsored by the A.C. Laskaridis Charitable Foundation and the A.G. Leventis Foundation.
Ruth Padel, Daughters of the Labyrinth
International artist uncovers the secrets of her family’s dark past in Crete’s destroyed Jewish community.
Poet Ruth Padel’s powerful and lyrical novel is set mostly in Chania, where contemporary, London-based painter Ria returns to visit her elderly mother. The book has two threads: a love story set during the Nazi occupation of Crete; and Ria’s gradual discovery of her own connections to these terrible events. Padel uncovers the important and neglected history of Chania’s Jewish ghetto and the tragic fate of most of its inhabitants, but this is also a beautiful exploration of family, memory and trauma. Lurking beneath the surface is the myth of Crete’s Minotaur in the labyrinthine tunnels at Knossos.
Dimitris Tziovas, Greece from Junta to crisis
Greek cultural developments over the last fifty years of democracy.
British-based Greek academic Tziovas sheds light on the extraordinary changes in Greece from after the fall of the Junta (the metapolitefsi) until the present day. He examines the tensions inherent in a society where traditions can clash with the desire for modernity and where there is sometimes one image for outsiders and another for internal consumption. This important study analyses a wide variety of Greek cultural trends, from literature and theatre to film and media, and provides fascinating insights about consumerism and globalisation. A wonderful opportunity for the English-language reader who wants a deep dive into contemporary Greek culture.
I was sad to leave behind these remarkable books from the long list: Anne Carson, H of H Playbook An inspiring if hard-to-classify concoction by the Canadian poet, complete with sketches, ink blots, ripped pages and loose translations of Euripides’ tragedy Herakles. Bruce Clark, Athens: City of Wisdom A magnificent and readable history of the city over 3,000 years - grand in scale though sensitive to the details of a good story and a fascinating character. Peter Fiennes, A Thing of Beauty: Travels in Mythical and Modern Greece A delightful and witty travelogue that searches for answers in Greek myth about the great tragic issue of our times: the environment.
Kathleen Riley, Imagining Ithaca: Nostos & Nostalgia since the Great War A brilliant exploration of the concept of nostos (homecoming) and nostalgia through analyses of literature and film. Sofka Zinovieff is the author of five books including Eurydice Street: A Place in Athens. Her podcast series is Athens Unpacked. www.sofkazinovieff.com
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The 2021 winner was Roderick Beaton (his fourth time!) for his brilliant Greece: A Biography.
A love letter to Kasos
Tucked away on the southernmost tip of the Dodecanese island cluster, a 22 hour ferry ride away from Piraeus, it is only the truly curious who venture to Kasos. Robert McCabe, not only travelled to this distant outpost in 1965, but documented its island traditions and way of life for posterity. His latest coffee table book, published by Patakis, is an ode to an island that still retains its sense of place.
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etters from Kasos is the latest book by Robert A. McCabe, the celebrated photographer of Greece, who was made an honorary citizen in February 2020 in recognition of his contributions to chronicling Greek cultural history through over sixty years of photography. In August 1965, a young American photographer visits Kasos to take a series of photographs to frame the text of a book on the island’s history. These photographs, which were found, in a drawer in 2013, are the backbone of this book, accompanied by texts from two exceptional people from Kasos, Nikos Mastropavlos and Marilen Frangouli Kedros. Revealing the hardscrabble, yet often romantic, life of a bygone era, McCabe captures the layered beauty of an island that has been through Venetian, Ottoman and Italian rule. Why or how he chose Kasos, an inconspicuous island that most visitors overlook in favour of bustling Crete or Karpathos, remains a mystery.
Another islander, Marilene Frangouli Kedros, who co-authored the book, had her doubts about the veracity of McCabe’s claims. Born in Belgium to parents from Kasos, where she works on building restorations, she confesses, “The first time Robert said he first visited Kasos in the 1960s, I thought he was wrong. Nobody went to Kasos then unless they had something to do with the island. [...] Robert’s photographs depict Kasos as it is today, rough and faithful to itself, meteoric as if in time. You walk on the island, and you still see the exact same images, over and over again. To the untrained eye, Kasos may seem simplistic and unpretentious, but it is much more sophisticated than one can imagine. It has its own underlying music, land, sea, crafts, food, hospitality and a traditional culture invisible to the casual visitor. The social and historical fabric of the island is still intact.”
In the depths of her soul, the cosmopolitan, as well as low key, Kasos is still an exotic place, a paradise of living insularity, where morals are revived from the years of innocence, as she still insists on travelling against the tourist current. Robert A. McCabe took his first photographs in 1939, at the age of five. During a trip to Europe in 1954, he took the first of his many emblematic photographs of Greece. A visit to Kasos in 1965 was the reason for the large number of photographs you will find in this book. He has published more than 16 albums and has exhibited his work in many places in Greece, London, Paris, Brussels and in many places in the USA. His books deal with topics and locations in Greece, France, Italy, New York, Havana, China and Antarctica. Letters from Kasos, published by Patakis, is available at all bookstores. For those in Athens, a reading from the book will take place on June 8 at the Gennadius Library at Souidias 61, Kolonaki at 7.30pm.
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For veteran journalist Nikos Mastropavlos who grew up in Kasos, “In the depths of her soul, the cosmopolitan, as well as low key, Kasos is still an exotic place, a paradise of living insularity, where morals are revived from the years of innocence, as she still insists on travelling against the tourist current. Before the redemption of the visitor’s interest in its distant world, there is the genuine interest of the people of Kasos for the foreigner, who defied the many sufferings of the long journey to land in the new port of Bouka. They care about the stranger’s opinion of them and will make room for them at their parties, in order to reveal the true depths of their soul. Because, even though Kasos had followed the paths of globalization before Globalization, it keeps its special culture intact, its festivals, parties, music, dances, songs, gastronomy, in a natural background and, for the most part, undisturbed.”
The Hidden Charms Of the Little Cyclades
Christos Drazos, who somehow manages to capture the essence of a place with his perceptive lens explains why the Small Cyclades remain an insider secret in this evocative photo essay.
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Koufonisi, has a population of 400 and is the largest settlement in the Small Cyclades. athens insider | 103 |
he Small Cyclades are outposts in the Cyclades island group, which includes such headlining acts as Mykonos, Santorini and Ios. They go by various monikers that riff on their size and relative significance: you may see them referred to as the Small or Lesser Cyclades. The names may appear dismissive, but these are among Greece’s smallest inhabited islands – their permanent populations number only a couple of hundred. There are only four inhabited islands in the Small Cyclades. Three are clustered south of Naxos: Iraklia, Schinousa and Koufonisia. The fourth island in the medley, Donousa, sits apart from the rest, to Naxos’ northeast. It offers the most secluded, end-of-the-line experience of the group.
For the island lover, this chain of small, secluded islands is paradise regained. A visit here calls to mind the Greek island experience of 20 years ago, when things moved slower and pleasures were simpler.
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The Little Cyclades, it’s all about switching off and reverting to island time. The magical combination of walks, swims, siestas, a good book and generous taverna meals will make you forget what day of the week it is. The flash boutiques, pumping nightclubs and selfie-stick-wielding crowds of its more glamourous cousins are a million miles away.
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Innate hospitality Our story: Garbi has been a gastronomic destination since 1924, attracting lovers of fresh seafood - from humble fishermen to the in ternational jetset - to enjoy founder Petros Garbi’s generous hospitality and enviable waterfront location.
Our philosophy: Now in our 9th decade, we are still guided by the same passion of letting our guests have a memorable time over carefully crafted meals, lovingly prepared with fresh ingredients and attention to detail. Garbi Restaurant | 21 Iliou street, Kavouri, Vouliagmeni | +302108963480 athens insider www.garbi.gr | 107 |
Let the lake work its magic
ou haven’t quite lived your Athens experience if you haven’t visited Lake Vouliagmeni. A lush, hidden, natural treasure, this is the lake that gives the coastal town of Vouliagmeni its name, as the ‘sunken one’. Believe the hype in this case, you will not regret your day here. Sheltered by 50 metre cliffs on three sides, Lake Vouliagmeni lies sunk in the remains of an immense limestone cavern, an emerald natural spa fed by tepid springs welling from underground and by the sea. Admire irises and green caper flowers clinging
to its crannies, as you swim in its mineral-rich, 21C – 29C waters, year-round, reportedly good for body and mind. The lush, manicured lawns that fringe the lake in the Privé area is open to VIP guests and lets you soak in the tranquility of this stunning setting from the comforts of your sun deck, in absolute privacy. Order from the deep recesses of your loungers as waiters ply your snack and drink requests. To make the experience even more rewarding, book a massage in the secret little lake, tucked away from public view, in a magical private
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Lake Vouliagmeni, off Poseidonos Avenue. Tel: +30-210-8962237 firstname.lastname@example.org athens insider | 109 |
oasis. This is one ritual that is so uplifting, you’ll want to come back for more. Stop by for a coffee or ice-cream dayside or stay back for a spectacularly romantic moonlit dinner at NERÕ, as the light dapples the water.
SUMMER ESSENTIALS FASHION ÈRES
Fashion and beauty essentials for morning-toevening Greek summer living.
One Piece swimsuit course eresparis.com
Illustrations by Julianne Sedan
Sigma Bracelet Collection, ideal for summer layering. yannissergakis.com
Cross Body bag Hondos Center hondoscenter.com
Broderie Dress Hondos Center hondoscenter.com
Le Phyto Rouge Longlasting Hydration Lipstick Hondos Center hondoscenter.com
Mini Drops earrings lilalo.com
Bronze Goddess Soleil de Nuit Eau De Parfum Hondos Center hondoscenter.com
Organic cotton Striped-shirt lola.gr athens insider | 110 |
Summer - perfect Diamonds For discreet luxury under the sun, Yannis Sergakis’ delicate jewellery is your go-to brand this summer.
orn and raised by the sea in the south of Athens, Sergakis’ aesthetic sensibilities have been forged by the elements. With exquisite craftsmanship, Sergakis’ ultradelicate chains and inventive diamond settings, handcrafted by masters, transform your summer outfit into an extraordinary ensemble.
a century-long master technique, as a motif, emblazoned in diamonds that dazzle against a rhodium backdrop. Pendants, earrings, and rings complete the collection that is fast becoming a signature classic. The Sigma collection is Yannis’ love letter to eternal Greek summers. A unique collection of bracelets with gold and diamond elements, and colourful cords. Each diamond captures a recollection of joy, each cord is a memento of experiences. Latest additions to the collections: some gold and diamond jewellery, perfect for summer layering. The gold earrings feature a detachable chain that allows you to playfully wear them as either long earrings or studs. The pendants can be worn in two different ways as a long or short piece that ties to the neck.
Yannis’ jewellery designs are chic, modern and timeless in their appeal, crafted to be worn daily, as an extension of one’s personal style. His versatile jewellery can be mixed and matched with different cords, chains of varying lengths, to be worn with long earrings or studs - for a seamless coffee-to-cocktail look.
The collection is available at the YANNIS SERGAKIS e-shop and at the flagship stores at 5 Valaoritou Street in Athens and at Le Bon Marché, 24 Rue de Sèvres, 75007 Paris.
The brand’s iconic ‘Pétale’ collection uses the charnière,
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Yannis grew amidst artisans who created oldschool diamond jewellery, so he remains committed to master craftsmanship. Since the launch of his namesake brand, his vision has been to make fine jewellery an everyday adornment.
A new luxury hotel in Hydra’s historic bay
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Steeped in history, the elegant Mandraki Beach Resort, tucked away in Hydra’s only sandy beach from where Admiral Miaoulis led his Greek fleet to victory, is an elegant addition to the island. If you haven’t fallen under the spell of Hydra, the fantastic time-warped charm of an isle where the peace is broken only by the ring of donkeys’ hooves on cobbles, this thoughtfully restored luxury hotel will.
andraki Beach Resort rewrites the narrative of this historical bay, presenting it anew, while instilling it with Hydra’s singular brand of laid-back glamour within an exceptionally elegant setting. The newly refitted, luxe beachfront boutique hotel, fringed by pines and stunning views of the Peloponessian coast, dock access and a restaurant anchored in refined Mediterranean cuisine, offers a holistic island experience.
Entering Mandraki by sea, you will notice two fortress structures located on either side, like bastions of this protected bay. The hotel has kept these markers of history, including the original canons, which were later used as berthing points. Within the grounds, is a quaint chapel, dating back to the 18th century. As a sheltered bay next to the main port, it makes for an ideal spot for yachters to drop anchor, and to avail of the beach facilities and the hotel’s restaurant.
Hydra’s only sandy beach takes it role seriously and comes equipped with widely spaced luxurious sunbeds, parasols and luxury beach service to keep guests pampered. A steady stream of refreshments, snacks and light meals from the seaside restaurant means that you can spend all day by the beach. Beach beds are complimentary for hotel guests but are available to non-hotel guests too. The Mandraki Restaurant is a refined addition to Hydra’s culinary scene with innovative, unfussy cuisine that cull from Greece’s rich gastronomic repertoire. The menu here is based on freshly sourced, local produce and feature vegetarian and vegan options. The indulgent Beach Menu lets you cheat on your diet with a tantalizing array of comfort food dishes, bao buns, club sandwiches, sliders, burgers and crisp salads – and an acclaimed sushi menu – served directly to your sunbed. Just a 3-minute sea taxi ride from the port of Hydra, or a short, scenic walk along the waterfront, Mandraki Beach Resort is extremely accessible yet secluded enough. The hotel runs its own sea transfer for guests arriving at Hydra port on a complimentary basis, and transfers from Mandraki bay to the port can be organized on demand. Mandraki bay is also connected to the rest of Hydra island by kaiki boats that tour the island. From its heyday in the ’60s as an outpost for the creative set, Hydra has retained its unfaltering charm, still drawing artists, celebrities, film makers, and the elite to experience something almost intangible. At Mandraki Beeach Resort, experience Hydra in all its glory: barefoot luxury in a stunningly beautiful setting, a retreat for the senses.
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Mandraki Beach Resort, Hydra. Tel. +30 22980 52110 email@example.com www.mandrakibeachresort.com
With its tastefully designed suites that mirror the island’s architectural vernacular and its historical significance, the Mandraki Beach Resort pays homage to the site’s poignant past, where Greek ships fiercely fought against the Ottoman Navy.
A ssyrtiko and Beyond
Tom Hall continues in his quest to explore less-known Greek grape varieties and culls three wines that should take you beyond your ‘assyrtiko’ comfort zone
understand of course that the pursuit of novelty is a fool’s quest. Apart from anything else newness is no guarantee of quality and often the opposite. That said there is something horizon-widening about discovering something previously unknown. Novelty, however, is highly subjective. I have a friend who is constantly aghast at my lack of cultural references. His horror when it turns out I haven’t seen a much-loved film of his fills me with shame, a feeling which isn’t lessened when it turns out that there is only one copy of said film which is kept under lock and key and only screened once a year during the blood moon. I, on the other hand, was inordinately proud to have recently pointed a friend in the direction of a work by the little-known auteurs at Walt Disney Animation Studios (Big Hero 6, by the way, totally unmissable and readily available). See, subjective. So even as a keen consumer of wine, until a few years ago assyrtiko was a bit of a new thing for me. It wouldn’t have been an obvious choice for me on an English list and I couldn’t have told you about any producers, let alone my favourites. Having spent 18 months mostly in Greece now I feel a loving familiarity with assyrtiko that is similar to my relationship with chardonnays from Burgundy (here’s looking at you Estate Argyros, Cuvee Monsignori). They are among my most loved wines and if I don’t know anything else on a list (and don’t feel like asking), usually a fairly safe bet. But they don’t feel like an adventure and I wanted to find out more, particularly about other Greek white wines, so I turned to the passionate experts at Linou Soumpasis and Sia, tucked away on a side street in Psiri by a basket shop and a rope shop. The food is exceptional, meticulously sourced, respectful of tradition and adventurous at the same time: from a familiar plate of perfectly cooked horta served with a quenelle of whipped “roquefort” to the cod fillet wrapped in caul fat and roasted till the fat melts into a layer of umami lacquer. What follows are three of the wines that Ioanna and Demetre recommended over my last couple of trips and what I was lucky enough to eat them with.
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2021, LYRARAKIS, PSARADES, PLYTO WITH STEAMED CLAMS Anyone with an eye for interesting, organic Greek wine will immediately recognise the range of single vineyard wines from Lyrarakis, a Cretan winery founded in the 60s. The distinctive labels highlight the vineyard in almost geological terms (well they remind me of barely remembered geography lessons anyway). The family have made it their business to protect and celebrate indigenous grape varieties and this is no exception, with the family claiming to have saved the plyto grape from extinction. This much garlanded wine is utterly delicious, clean but aromatic. It promises more sweetness on the nose than it delivers but the minerality on the palate is a pleasure rather than leaving you feeling cheated. It paired perfectly with the sweet and saline steamed clams.
2020, SARRIS, V FOR VOSTILIDI, KEFALONIA WITH SHRIMPS AND GREENS Another new variety to me which is primarily associated with Kefalonia. This wine was a revelation. According to Demetre it has spent 11 months in the barrel and the rich, golden colour was evidence of this. If, as Galileo said, wine is sunlight held together by water then this is an Autumn sunset caught in the ocean. My lunching companion Dimitri said it reminded him of village cellars and it became clear from the nostalgic smile on his face that this was a very good thing indeed. Apricot, vanilla, marmalade and more, it demanded a second bottle. We drank (the first bottle at least) with a deceptively simple dish of shrimp and greens, greens which looked like samphire to my English eyes. The complexity and richness of the wine paired perfectly with the sweet, salty snap of the fried shrimp and the herbal, vegetal notes brought out the seaside grassiness of the steamed greens.
Lastly, and in order to demonstrate that rules are there to be broken, a wine by one of Greece’s better-known producers made from one of the country’s most loved grapes. xinomavro is my favourite red Greek grape and the Earth and Sky by Thymiopoulos is one of my favourite expressions of it. I’m in good company here as most of his production is exported to France. Konstantinos Lazarakis in The Wines of Greece describes xinomavro as an “erratic diva” which makes me love it even more and At LS and Sia you can dance with the diva in red, rose or even as a blanc de noir (the delicious Popolka which I also recommend). The Rosé de Xinomavro from Thymiopoulus is complex and layered, with aromas and tastes from strawberry jam to sun dried tomato all wafting into view. We drank it with a fresh salad of artichokes from Tinos with garden peas. The artichokes had been touched by the flame which added complexity to the dish which was otherwise fresh and springy.
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ROSÉ DE XINOMAVRO BY THYMIOPOULOS
An Insider’s guide to the
best mezcal and tequila bars in Athens
The fastest growing spirit in the world is tequila - and the always on point Athenians are paying homage to the agave plant with a slew of new tequilerias and mezcalerias. Elena Panayides rounds up the Top 5 Tequila Bars in Athens.
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From the celebrated team of Lost Athens & Noah this Latino-Asian Cantina offers nibbles and tipples that will satiate your cravings for Peruvian, Vietnamese and Thai sharing plates in a shabby-chic space on the once tourist only Adrianou Street. Curated by Vassilis Nikitas the focal point semi-circular bar of Diego’s Cantina pumps out excellent Mezcalitas and other delectable cocktails to the beat of the throbbing house music.
Barro Negro With a name inspired by the black pottery style of Oaxaca, Mexico where the two founders of this bar began their pilgrimage in search of the perfect tequilas and mezcals for their downtown Athens bar. The ingenious duo have also created a Paloma Embassy with Three Cents to spread the word and promote the all-time classic tequila and grapefruit soda cocktail.
Top Tipples & Nibbles: Mezcalita, Tommy’s Margarita, Kaizen Don Sushi Beef, Shrimp Dumplings, Satay Chicken, Ceviche Scallops, Miso Chocolate Address: Adrianou 1, Plaka tel. 2103239353
Top Tipples: Paloma, Smoky Margarita and San Cosme Mezcal on the rocks Address: Ioannou Paparigopoulou 14, Athens tel. 2100107618
Amigos Having more than 50 tequila and mezcal labels is just one of this Glyfada bars claim to fame. Their frozen margarita is hand-made daily and kept fresh and icy in a machine and their Tex-Mex menu has a slight Greek twist to it too. Top Tipples & Nibbles: Frozen Margarita, Smoky Margarita, La Mandarita, Chili Con Carne, Paella and Fajitas.
Sudamerican sights, sounds and flavours overtake your senses in this colourful Piraeus urban hacienda all day restaurant and bar, that serves up a tropical Mexi-Peruvian menu.
Coyoacan Meaning the place of coyotes, Coyoacan is named after Frida Kahlo’s village of birth in Mexico. This lively downtown hacienda with huge colourful murals of Mexico’s most famous female artist, serves up mezcal and tequilas in skull cups while patrons vibe, in an enclosed courtyard with a retractable glass ceiling to the latest house music. The open-plan kitchen serves up ‘Filosofia Mexicana’ fare with a focus on tacos, crudo and a la plancha meat and seafood. Top Tipples & Nibbles: Mexican Med, Passion Tommy, Herbal Margarita, Shrimp Taco, Amberjack in Banana Leaf, Squid Tempura Address: Iraklidon 10, Thiseio tel. 2103450003
Top Tipples & Nibbles: Spice Lemonade Margarita, White Che, Reventador, Bunuelos de Bacalao, Lubina a la Plancha, Pechuga de Pollo Jerk Jamaicano. Address: Karaiskou 151, Piraeus tel. 2104296660
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Che Cucina Y Barra Sudamericana
of the best sushi restaurants in Athens
For a country with such a large abundance of fresh fish, finding satisfying sushi in the Greek capital has historically not been as simple as you might expect. But in Athens today, all that has changed. In part due to Japanese itamaes displaying their skills, but also thanks to our homegrown sushi chefs, many of whom have travelled to Japan to study the art of sushi. And it is an art - not one that everyone can master. Katie Silcox recommends where to find the best sushi in Athens.
SUSHIMOU If you close your eyes while bringing chopsticks to taste buds at Sushimou, you could believe you were in Japan. This is an authentic, intimate, and playful experience. The restaurant has space for only 12 diners and the service is omakase, meaning sushi chef Antonis Drakoularakos decides what to serve you, and when. Of course, chef always knows best - especially when, like Drakoularakos - they’ve learnt the art of sushi in Tokyo. The result is a discovery of the day’s best catch; and be it sea bass or salmon, cuttlefish or crayfish, you’re guaranteed the freshest of flavours. Sushimou is as close as you can come to a Japanese sushi and sashimi experience without leaving Greece. Be sure to book well in advance. sushimou.gr
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MATSUHISA ATHENS Nobu Matsuhisa needs no introduction. Indeed, neither does the iconic Four Seasons hotel brand. Fuse the two - Matsuhisa Athens and the Four Seasons Astir Palace Athens - as we have accomplished on our dazzling riviera, and something special is born. The refined, chic atmosphere here is matched only by the dishes served. Expect Nobu favourites including the Black Cod and King Crab, but also feast your eyes - and your belly on the regional specialities: a good place to start is the Seasonal Omakase menu, where the chef will select the freshest local dishes for you. With arguably one of the best sunset views in all of Athens and its surroundings, time your visit well and you’re in for a memorable evening. matsuhisaathens.com
With four restaurant openings in five years (and a fifth to open soon), it’s clear that Hachiko is doing something right. The best news for Athenians is that no matter where you are in the city you’ll find an easy-to-reach outlet: three of the four restaurnts are right here in our capital. Scattered across the centre as well as the northern and southern suburbs, you’ll find them in Psychiko, Kifisia, and Glyfada. The fourth is in Mykonos. If you believe the age-old adage that we eat with our eyes, then Hachiko is on to a winner. Expect colour pops and floral decoration to satisfy the eyes, as well as your Instagram feed. Oh, and about that fifth restaurant - we have it on good authority that it will open in Santorini during summer 2022. hachikosushitales.com
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NYX ROOFTOP If ever elegance, style, poise, and sophistication meet, it will be here at NYX Rooftop. With sweeping views of the Athenian city - yes, the Acropolis included - this of-the-moment restaurant located on the rooftop of the Academias Hotel specialises in Japanese fusion cuisine and creative cocktails. Here beef gyozas stuffed with kimchi and parmesan cream, meet spicy edamame seasoned with oyster sauce. Sea bass ceviche served with passion fruit and tapioca, meet tempura sushi rolls flavoured with jalapeno. That’s Italy, China, Mexico and Brazil covered, with plenty left to choose from. While the menu will make you want to indulge, the up-tempo music will make you want to dance - come with an empty stomach, and your party shoes on. nyxrooftop.com
SAKURA SUSHI AND STEAKS Sakura Sushi in Panormou serves up a unique dining experience in more ways than one. First let’s delve into the dishes: the Sakura menu is special due to the way in which their sushi is prepared. Chef Yannis Kontotasios trained in Japan, learning the art of edomae and kaiseki style dishes, before bringing his skills back to Greece and serving the artform here. Elsewhere on the Sakura menu you’ll find delicious grilled fish and steaks, including options with white or black truffle. The Sakura Sushi restaurant itself is one-of-a-kind in Athens too; with 40 seats scattered across a small dining room, the experience feels part traditional Japanese kitchen, and part like dining in the comfort and familiarity of your own living room. An evening at Sakura Athens is unlike any other the city has to offer. sakurasushi.gr
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HASAPIKA AT ATHENS CENTRAL MARKET Whether you’ve lived in Athens your entire life, or visited for just a few days, we have no doubt that you’ve come across the Varvakeios, also known as the Athens Central Market. In the very heart of the city, this public market has been the place for Athenians to visit for fresh meats, fish, herbs, spices, nuts, and more since 1886. But it was only in 2021 that brothers Bakoyannis and Giannis Drivakis opened up a restaurant space selling sushi. Frankly, we’re surprised it took this long. The fish, sourced daily from Greek fisherman trawling the waters around Naxos, Paros, Symi, and more is - as expected - as fresh as fresh can be. The setting, huddled in amongst the meaty market where stallholders butcher their precious stock [side note: don’t visit if this makes you uneasy] is something straight out of Barcelona’s La Boqueria playbook, yet it is all very Greek: likely thanks to the fresh seafood flavours and taverna style seating. fb: Hasapika-Central-Market
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Tokyo Joe is fast becoming a Greek sushi sensation. In addition to outlets across Athens and its suburbs - Kolonaki, Psychiko, Vouliagmeni, and Glyfada - the sushi chain also boasts restaurants on the islands of Mykonos, Spetses and Crete. The reason for its success is clear: not only does it serve consistently delicious sushi alongside ceviche, bao buns, noodles and more - but it does so at very reasonable prices. You’ll be hard pushed to find better sushi at such accessible prices anywhere else in the city. While we love all of Tokyo Joe’s Athens’ restaurants, we must give a special mention to the Glyfada branch which - in addition to very tasty and photogenic food - also features a floor to ceiling mural that is very Instagram friendly. tokyojoe.com
The legendary Vassilenas celebrates story-telling through food Longevity is usually a good judge of a restaurant’s calibre. At 100 + years, Vassilenas doesn’t need to prove itself. But to its credit, it hasn’t just ended up a classic restaurant with the patina of its bygone years – in Benjamin Button fashion, it has consistently elevated its offering, getting fresher and more playful
in its approach to food. As a standard-bearer for creative cookery, it has consistently been recognized by food industry peers, amassing three prestigious awards just this year! The restaurant opens its island version on Antiparos this summer. As Vassilenas celebrates its centenary, a grateful city salutes a local legend.
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For Vassilenas that started out as a grocery deli in Piraeus, food has always been a powerful sensory tool through which to communicate its values. Its kitchen is anchored in classical cookery; yet it has revolutionized the way we think of Greek seafood.
Vassilenas’s cuisine reflects the gastronomic influences of its native sea-faring neighbourhood of Piraeus, ingesting traditional Greek standards with a bold, cosmopolitan edge. Transforming fish taverna standards such as red mullets served here with an unusual but brilliant crust caked with raisins, rosemary and tomato, and converting the humble fava with grilled squid into a culinary marvel requires not just imagination and skill but audacity to pull it off. Vassilenas does so without being frilly and pretentious. Its taramosalata, often the barometer of a good kitchen, is a recipe that has been honed for decades, tweaked into creamy perfection, its briny freshness hitting just the right notes. The beef tartare served on a bed of horseradish, smoked egg yolk, pasturma and cured beef aioli plays on textures and flavours in a delicate dance. Long the beacon for politicians, scholars and artists, Vassilenas remains the preferred haunt of devotees of fine cuisine today. The guest book lists Winston Churchil, Elia Kazan, Mikis Theodorakis, Manos Hadjidakis, Irene Pappas, Melina Mercouri, Nikos Chatzikyriakos – Gikas and George Seferis as regulars. The wine cellar here is as impressive as the offerings of its kitchen, as is evident from the two walk-in cellars of the restaurant, a sensory tour of the finest wines from Greek vineyards. If you’re headed to the Cyclades this summer, a detour to Antiparos might be in order. Vassilenas opens its island counterpart in Chora on June 11, in a stunningly beautiful courtyard, away from the bustle. If you’re in the city, Vassilenas continues to stay open with cooler operating hours from 7pm to midnight. Book ahead for a table at Vassilenas Parkside, the restaurant’s al fresco extension at Madrid Park. Closed on Sundays. Vrasida 13, Athina 115 28. Tel:210.7210501 vassilenas. gr
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eyond ratings and reviews, staying power really is what restaurants aspire to. So, when a restaurant like Vassilenas thrives for over a century, masterfully converting values from the past and childhood memories into thoughtprovoking dishes, you know it is no longer about running a business but about powerful storytelling through food. For Vassilenas that started out as a grocery deli in Piraeus, food has always been a powerful sensory tool through which to communicate its values. Its kitchen is anchored in classical cookery; yet it has revolutionized the way we think of Greek seafood. Its 100-year anniversary has meant looking back at its chequered history through old guest books and newspaper clippings. The New York Times likened the original owner to ‘Michaelangelo in his gustatorial studio.’ This was Greece’s first restaurant to offer a degustation menu or a table d’hôte, in 1928! That curiosity to venture into unconventional territory has been steadily nurtured by its current owners, Thanasis Vassilenas and Veniamin Daskalakis. As anyone who has dined at Vassilenas can vouch, the food here is subtle and refined without falling into the trap of being unduly fussy. Arguably, the city’s best-value-formoney lunch destination, tucked just behind the Hilton and the National Gallery, Vassilenas extends to the verdant Madrid Square. Lunch in the garden to bird song and the heady fragrance of orange blossoms in bloom, or in the restaurant’s uberchic interiors. Like its understated elegant design, the soft-spoken but talented Chef Manolis Garnelis creates poetry on the plate with artful variations of Greek classics. Delicately prepared with a tempered hand, each dish puts taste ahead of technique, crafted with maximum flavour, minimal waste. A private room at the back, ideal for wine tastings and small corporate events, seats up to 20 guests. But if Vassilenas has kept hungry patrons coming back for more, for a century, it has been for the exquisite offerings of its kitchen. From the good old days in the ‘20s when Vassilenas’ degustation menu boasted as many as 30 dishes the accent here has always been on offering an eclectic choice to pamper all palates.
Your green guide to vegan eating in Athens
Move over gyros, veg burgers and dairy-free ice-creams are here to stay. Millennial socio-entrepreneurs are creating a new culinary trend that has surprisingly caught on in meat-obsessed Greece. Serving everything from gluten-free pastries to plant-based steaks, here are 7 of the best vegan restaurants in Athens
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THE VEGAN VANDAL On deciding to open a vegan restaurant in Athens, owner Rio Cameron and his team travelled to London for inspiration, but ended up finding it back home on the farms of Greece. It’s no surprise really when local vendors produce such fresh, nutrient-rich foods; tomatoes, onions and olive oil - but also pumpkin, jackfruit, kale, and more. Bestsellers on the menu here include the signature Vandal Burger - made with lentils, nuts and valerian - or the Jack Burger made with - you guessed it, jackfruit. Indeed, we could wax-lyrical about the food all day long, but we must also nudge you to ask staff about the restaurant’s unique name. Let’s just say it has something to do with a vegan member of staff taking a strong dislike to a sign on a neighbouring building, so much so that she ended up taking to it herself with a permanent marker thus becoming a vandal as well as a vegan.
In a country where grilled-meat souvlaki is as synonymous with the culture as are the soft white sands and inviting oceans, it was a brave move for owners Antonis and Vasilia to open up a vegan souvlaki shop back in 2018. But as time and tide wait for no man, neither did they; instead taking a chance and opening their first - small but significant - store in Athens’ Exarcheia neighbourhood. With a few scattered tables on the street outside, but no space to eat-in, Cookoomèla often found itself so overrun that in 2020 they opened up another restaurant in Gyzi. No matter which branch you visit the same clever ordering concept applies - choose your gyro by colour: red comes with tomato sauce; yellow with mustard; green with fresh herbs; brown with barbecue sauce; white with tzatziki. Ingenious, really.
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NUDIE FOODIE After spending some time in Australia’s second largest city, Melbourne, Chef Eva Kontaki returned to Athens feeling that something was amiss. Realising it was her favourite restaurant back in Oz, she knew there was only one thing for it: she would have to open something similar herself. Modelled on said Australian restaurant, but tailored for Greek and European customers, Kontaki opened Nudie Foodie. Serving gluten free, vegan, and vegetarian brunches, lunches and healthy smoothies designed to boost the immune system, Nudie Foodie is one of Psiri’s best kept secrets; but hurry - we don’t think it will stay secret for long!
AVOCADO One of Athens’ better known restaurants for vegan food, Avocado is not actually strictly vegan. Vegetarians are catered for here, too. The vibes - and menu - are designed with a healthy, holistic and wellness lifestyle in mind so it’s no surprise that the founders own a yoga studio nearby. Expect dishes named Mother Earth, Om Shanti, and Open Mind - among others labelled more simply for what they consist of - a Falafel Plate, some Crispy Tofu, or a Poke Bowl, for example. Organic, seasonal products are the foundation here, with a splash of macrobiotic, plus gluten and wheat free options, too. The few seats outside are comfortable on a nice day, but the inside is where this restaurant prevails. Spread across two floors this is a spacious, simple, but inviting space to spend a couple of hours over lunch or dinner.
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VEGAN FAIRIES Vegan restaurants appear to be popping up with speed in central Athens, but the movement has taken hold in the suburbs too. Vegan Fairies in Nea Erythraia has been a firm favourite with nearby residents for six years, serving up vegan staples such as smoothies and juices, raw cheesecakes and hot porridge, nut butters, energy balls, and superfood salads. It also serves organic coffees, and all manner of latte you can imagine: cacao, matcha, turmeric, pink chai, and the intriguing Mushroom Adaptogenic Latte made from the reishi mushroom, ashwagandha root, maca, oat milk and coconut sugar. The latter is also the personal favourite of co-owner Penny Sotira. While primarily a take-away concept, there are a few spaces to sit down inside the restaurant, as well as in their greenhouse-like outdoor space. For those who don’t regularly visit our city’s northern suburbs - watch this space, as Sotira and partner have plans to open another restaurant in central Athens soon, too.
fullSPOON Listen up, ice cream lovers. fullSPOON is here to satisfy even the most discerning among you. Yes, vegan friends, that includes you. In addition to their 45 milk-based ice creams, fullSPOON serves 12 fresh fruit sorbets and 6 vegan ice cream flavours, including parfait, pistachio and coconut milk. This cute dessert restaurant is a place worth visiting no matter your dietary preferences. Located on Athens’ high-street shopping favourite, Ermou, look out for the vintage-like striped pelmet outside, reminiscent of a 1960s dessert parlour. Inside expect a design-led space where pastels combine with cute corners to sit and enjoy confectionery with friends.
With a restaurant design - bright whites, natural woods and fresh flowers - as clean as the food, Ohh Boy! has been satisfying hungry Athenians for five years. While not everything on the menu is vegan, what’s great about Ohh Boy! is its ability to flow effortlessly with the time, needs, and moods of the day. This relaxed, all-day venue is as perfect for breakfast catch-ups with friends as it is for working lunches with colleagues, or long, lounging evening dinners over a good meal. Plus, come May 2022, Ohh Boy! is adding vegan wine to both its Athens and Santorini menus. Yamas! athens insider | 127 |
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METRO ATHENS GATE HOTEL
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see & do
Kalfayan Gallery Haritos 11, Kolonaki, Tel: 210.721.7679
Stavros Niarchos Foundation Syngrou 364, Kallithea Tel: 216.809.1000
Kapopoulos Fine Arts Varis - Koropiou Av. 94, Koropi, Tel: 210.642.6573
The Art Foundation Normanou 5, Athens, Tel: 210.323.8757
Rodeo Gallery 41 Polidefkous Piraeus,T: 210 41 23 977
Skoufa Gallery Skoufa 4, Kolonaki, Tel: 210.360.3541 Stavros Mihaliaras Art 260 Kifissias & Diligianni, Kifissia, Tel: 210.623.0928 The Blender Gallery Zisimopoulou 4, Glyfada, Tel: 213.028.0597
The George Economou Collection Grammou 77, Kifissias Av. 80 Marousi, Tel: 210.809.0519
Allouche Benias Kanari 1, Tel: 210.338.9111 Artion Voukourestiou 21, Tel: 211.210.6455 Tel: 212.104.4166 Four Seasons Lobby Apollonos 40, Vouliagmeni, Tel: 694.447.7383
The Intermission Polidefkous 37A Piraeus, T: 210-4131504 Xippas Gallery Sofokleous 53D, Athens, Tel: 210.331.9333
A. Antonopoulou Art Aristofanous 20, Psyrri, Tel: 210.321.4994 Artzone 42 42 Vas. Konstantinou, Athens, Tel: 210.725.9549
Zoumboulakis Gallery Kolonaki Square 20, Kolonaki Tel: 210.360.8278, Kriezotou 6, Syntagma, Tel: 210.363.4454
Astrolavos ArtLife Irodotou 11, Kolonaki, Tel: 210.722.1200 Athens Art Gallery Glykonos 4, Dexameni Sq., Athens, Tel: 210.721.3938
CULTURAL VENUES Athinais Cultural Centre Astorias 34-36, Votanikos, Tel: 210.348.0000. B&M Theocharakis Foundation for the Fine Arts & Music Vas. Sofias 9 & Merlin 1, Athens, Tel: 210.361.1206
Bernier - Eliades Gallery Eptachalkou 11, Thissio, Tel: 210.341.3935 (The) Breeder Gallery Iasonas 45, Metaxourgeio, Tel: 210.331.7527
Ileana Tounta Contemporary Art Centre Armatolon-Klephton 48, Athens, Tel: 210.643.9466
Carwan Gallery Polidefkous 39, Piraeus, T: 210 4114536
Megaron Mousikis (The Athens Concert Hall) Vas. Sofias Ave. & Kokkali, Tel: 210.728.2333
Citronne Gallery Athens Patriarchou Ioakim 19, Tel: 219.723.5226
Michael Cacoyannis Foundation Piraeus 206, Tavros, Tel: 210.341.8550
Crux Sekeri 4, Athens, 213 045 8911 Eleni Marneri Galerie Lebessi 5-7 & Porinou 16, Acropolis, Tel: 210.8619.488
Onassis Cultural Centre Syngrou 107-109, Athens, Tel: 213.017.8000
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French Institute Sina 31, 10680 Athens Tel: 210.339.8600 Hellenic American Union Massalias 22, 10680 Athens, Tel: 210.368.0900 British Council Kolonaki Square 17, 106 73 Athens, Tel: 210.369.2333 Instituto Cervantes Mitropoleos 23, 105 57 Athens, Tel: 210.363.4117 Goethe Institut Omirou 14-16, 100 33 Athens, Tel: 210.366.1000 Onassis Cultural Centre Syngrou Ave. 107-109, 117 45 Athens, Tel: 213.017.8000 Instituto Italiano di Cultura Patission (28 Oktovriou) 47, Tel: 210.369.2333, 210.524.2646
THEATRES Badminton Theatre Goudi, Athens, Tel: 211.101.0020 Gialino Music Theatre Sygrou 143, N. Smyrni, Athens Tel: 210.9316.101-4 Pallas Theatre Voukourestiou 5, Athens, Tel: 210.321.3100
MUSEUMS Agora Museum Located in the Stoa of Attalos, Athens. Tel: 210.321.0185 Atelier Spyros Vassiliou Webster 5A, Athens, Tel: 210.923.1502 spyrosvassiliou.org Athens Olympic Museum Leof. Kifisias 37a MarousI, T: 210 688 5560 Athens University History Museum Tholou 5, Plaka, Tel: 210.368.9502 history-museum.uoa.gr
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B&E Goulandris Museum of Modern Art Eratosthenous 13, Athens, Tel: 210.725.2895, goulandris.gr Benaki Museum Koumbari 1 & Vas. Sofias Avenue, Athens, Tel: 210.367.1000, benaki.gr Benaki Museum of Islamic Arts Dipylou 12, Kerameikos, Tel: 210.325.1311, benaki.gr Benaki Museum, Pireos Pireos 138 & Andronikou, Gazi Tel: 210.345.3111, benaki.gr Byzantine Museum Vas. Sofias 22, Kolonaki, Tel: 210.721.1027, byzantinemuseum.gr EMST National Museum of Contemporary Art Kallirrois Av. & Amvr. Frantzi, Athens, Tel: 210.924.2111- 3, emst.gr Hellenic Cosmos Foundation of the Hellenic world Pireos 254, Tavros, Tel: 212.254.0000 hellenic-cosmos.gr Goulandris Foundation Museum of Cycladic Art Neofytou Douka 4, Athens, Tel: 210.722.8321, cycladic.gr Herakleidon Herakleidon 16, Thissio, Tel: 210.346.1981 Apostolou Pavlou 37, Thissio Tel: 211.012.6486, herakleidon-art.gr Ilias Lalaounis Jewellery Museum Karyatidon & Kallisperi 12, Makrygianni, Acropolis. Tel: 210.922.7260, lalaounis.com Jewish Museum Nikis 39, Plaka,Tel: 210.322.5582 jewishmuseum.gr Kerameikos Museum Ermou 148, Monastiraki, Tel: 210.346.3552 Kotsanas Museum of Ancient Greek Technology Pindarou 6, Athens Tel: 211.411.0044, kotsanas.com National Archaeological Museum Patission 44, Athens, Tel: 210.821.7724, namuseum.gr
Building Block E71, Yalou, 19004, Spata, Tel: 210.663.0830, 210.663.0840 Designer Outlet Shopping Centre with value-for-money promotions
Vas. Constantinou 1, Athens, Tel: 210.723.5857
FASHION Ancient Greek Sandals Kolokotroni 1, Athina Tel : 210.323.0938
The Mall Athens Andrea Papandreou 35, Tel: 210.630.0000 Shops, cinemas and food
Callista Crafts Voukourestiou 11 Tel : 210.364.7989
Occhio Papavassiliou - Glyfada Leof. Dimarchou Aggelou Metaxa 34, Glyfada, Tel: 210.894.8510 Occhio Papavassiliou – Athens Stadiou 5, Athina 105 62 Tel: 210.321.0042 Kokkoris Optics Pl. Esperidon 3, Glyfada Tel: 210.898.0850 Linea Piu Sekeri 6, Tel: 210.360.6125
Apriati Pindarou 29, Tel: 210.360.7878 Smartly designed jewellery for the young Bulgari Voukourestiou 8, Kolonaki, Tel: 210.324.7118, Opulent designs in jewellery, watches & accessories Cartier Voukourestiou 7, Tel: 210.331.3600 Two floors of designs & timepieces by the prestigious Cartier maison
Luisa World Skoufa 15, Tel: 210.363.5600
Chopard Stadiou 2 & Vas. Georgiou, Tel: 210.325.0555 Legendary time pieces and jewellery
Louis Vuitton Voukourestiou St., Tel: 210.361.3938 Panaidis Eyewear Boutique Artemidos 2, Glyfada Tel : 210.892.0934 Milioni 12 & Iraklitou 2, Kolonaki Tel: 210 3616683 Zadig & Voltaire Voukourestiou 13 Tel: 210.364.0222
Elena Votsi Xanthou 7, Tel: 210.360.0936 Conversation pieces in gold and stone Fanourakis Patriarchou Ioakim 23, Kolonaki, Tel: 210.721.1762, Unique collection of animal and insect pins & earrings
Zeus + Dione Voukourestiou 6, Tel: 210.323.0132
Georgios P. Voulis 35, Athina Tel: 210.331.2220
Liana Camba Boutique: Anagnostopoulou 26, Kolonaki Atelier: Laodikis 33, Glyfada Tel: 210.364.1027
Ilias Lalaounis Panepistimiou 6, Tel: 210.361.1371 Fabulous gold designs by famous Greek jeweller Kessaris Panepistimiou 7, Tel: 210.323.2919 Wide range of luxury brand timepieces
Mahjong Boutique Kanari 14, Kolonki Tel: 210.362.2860
DEPT. STORES Attica Panepistimiou 9, Tel: 211.180.2600 Home to an array of luxury brands, designer shoes and cosmetics
Numismatic Museum Panepistimiou 12, Athens, Tel: 210.363.5953, nma.gr
Athens Metro Mall Vouliagmenis Avenue 276, Tel: 210.976.9444 Shops, cinemas and food
The Acropolis Museum Dionysiou Areopagitou Street, Acropolis, Tel: 210.924.1043 theacropolismuseum.gr
Golden Hall Kifissias 37A, Tel: 210.680.3450
The National Art Gallery and Alexander Soutzos Museum Michalakopoulou 1 &
Li-La-Lo Athens, Karagiorgi Servias 2, T :210 3630021 – 051 Kolonaki, Patriarchou Ioakeim 5, T : 210 7255264 Athens, Voukourestiou 2 & Stadiou, T:210 3319864 Marathianakis Karagiorgi Servias 4 (Stoa Kalliga), Tel: 210.362.7118 & 210.322.2424 Old-world shop known for its original & elegant designs
High-end (and high-street) stores for anyone with a passion for fashion
Marco Bicego Boutique Voukourestiou 20, Athina Tel: 210.363.6900 Nikos Koulis Filikis Eterias 15,
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Kolonaki Square, Athens Tel: +30.210.723.3783 Contemporary designer jewellery Odysseus Jewels Voukourestiou 20, Athens Tel: +30. 211.220.4500 Wide range of jewellery and watches Omega Voukourestiou 2, Kolonaki, Tel: 210.322.7682 Elegant boutique showcasing the brand's timeless timepieces Pentheroudakis Voukourestiou 19, Tel: 210.361.3187 Timeless pieces inspired by classical Greek design Van Cleef & Arpels Voukourestiou 1, Kolonaki, Tel: 210.331.0319 The jeweller of the international jetset Venetia Vildiridis Voukourestiou 11 and El. Venizelou 8, Tel: 210.363.5145, 210.321.9408 Original designer jewellery pieces and watches Yiannis Sergakis Athens, 5 Valaoritou, T: 210 36 30 041 & 6940 72 52 96 Zerteo Jewellery Kiprou 78, Glyfada Tel: 210.894.6682 Zolotas Panepistimiou 10, Tel: 210.360.1272 Designs inspired by the ancient Greece as well as contemporary collections by designers like Paloma Picasso
SOUVENIRS Anamnesia Athens International Airport Departure Terminal, Tel: 210.353.3104 Andrianou 99, Plaka Tel: 214.687.0704 Matogianni, Myconos, Tel: 228.907.9171 anamnesia.gr Acropolis Museum Shop Dionysiou Areopagitou 15, Tel: 210.900.0911 theacropolismuseum.gr Benaki Museum Shop Koumbari & Vas. Sofias Tel: 210.367.1045, Four Seasons Lobby, Apollonos 40 Tel: 210.890.2000 benakishop.gr Museum of Cycladic Art Shop Neophytou Douka 4, Kolonaki Tel: 210.722.8321-3 cycladic.gr
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EMBASSIES ALBANIA Vekiareli 7, Filothei, Tel: 210.687.6200 ALGERIA Vas. Constantinou 14, Athens Tel: 210.756.4191-2 ARGENTINA Vas. Sophias 59, Athens Tel: 210.724.4158 ARMENIA K. Palaiologou 95, Chalandri, Tel: 210.683.1130, 210.683.1145 AUSTRALIA Hatziyianni Mexi 5, Athens Tel: 210.870.4000 AUSTRIA Vas. Sofias Av. 4, Athens, Tel: 210.725.7270 AZERBAIJAN Marathonodromon 13, Psychiko, Tel: 210.363.2721 BANGLADESH Marathonodromon 119, Palaio Psychiko, Tel: 210.672.0250 BELGIUM Sekeri 3, Kolonaki, Tel: 210.360.0314 BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA Karneadou 25-29 Athens, Tel: 210.641.0788 BRAZIL Vassilis Sofias 23, Athens Tel: 210.721.3039 BULGARIA Stratigou Kallari 33A, P. Psychico, Tel: 210.674.8105 CANADA Eth. Antistaseos 48, Halandri, Tel: 210.727.3400 CHILE Rigilis 12, Athens, Tel: 210.729.2647 CHINA Leof. Dimokratias 10-12, P. Psychico Tel: 210.672.3282 CROATIA Tzavella 4, N. Psychico, Tel: 210.677.7033 CUBA Sofokleous 5, Filothei, Tel: 210.685.5550 CYPRUS Xenofontos 2A, Athens, Tel: 210.373.4800 CZECH REPUBLIC G. Seferi 6, P. Psychico, Tel: 210.671.3755 DENMARK Mourouzi 10, Athens, Tel: 210.725.6440 EGYPT Vas. Sofias 3, Syntagma, Tel: 210.361.8612 ESTONIA Messoghion 2-4, Ampelokipoi, Tel: 210.747.5660 FINLAND Hatziyianni Mexi 5, Athens, Tel: 210.725.5860 FRANCE
Vas. Sofias 7, Syntagma, Tel: 210.339.1000 FYROM Papadiamanti 15, P. Psychico, Tel: 210.674.9585 GEORGIA Ag. Dimitriou 24, P. Psychico, Tel: 210.674.2186 GERMANY Karaoli & Dimitriou 3, Athens, Tel: 210.728.5111 HUNGARY Vasileos Konstantinou Ave. 38, Pangrati, Tel: 210.725.6800 INDIA Kleanthous 3, Mets, Tel: 210.721.6481 INDONESIA Marathonodromon 99, P. Psychico, Tel: 210.674.2345 IRAN Stratigou Kallari 16, Patisia, Tel: 210.674.1436 IRAQ Mazaraki 4, Psychico, Tel: 210.677.8276 IRELAND Vas. Konstantinou 7, Mets, Tel: 210.723.2405 ISRAEL Marathonodromon 1, P. Psychico, Tel: 210.670.5500 ITALY Sekeri 2, Kolonaki, Tel: 210.361.7260 JAPAN Ethnikis Antistaseos 46, Halandri, Tel: 210.670.9900 JORDAN Papadiamanti 21, P. Psychico, Tel: 210.674.4161 KAZAKHSTAN Imittou 122, Papagou, Tel: 210.654.7765 KOREA Messoghion 2-4, Athens, Tel: 210.698.4080 KUWAIT Marathonodromon 27, P. Psychico, Tel: 210.674.3593 LEBANON Paritsi 2, Neo Psichiko, Tel: 210.675.5873 LIBYA Vyronos 13, P. Psychico, Tel: 210.674.2120 LITHUANIA Vas. Konstantinou 38, Athens, Tel: 210.729.4356 LATVIA Vas. Konstantinou 38, Athens Tel. 210.729.4483 LUXEMBOURG Vas. Sofias 23A & Neofitou Vamva 2, Syntagma, Tel: 210.725.6400 MALTA V. Sofias 96, Athens, Tel: 210.778.5138 MEXICO Filikis Etaireias Sq. 14, Kolonaki, Tel: 210.729.4780 MOLDAVIA
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Georgiou Bacu 20, Filothei, Tel: 210.699.0660 MOROCCO Marathonodromon 115, & Kondylaki 2, Psychico, Tel: 210.674.4210 NETHERLANDS Vas. Konstantinou 5-7, Kalimarmaro, Tel: 210.725.4900 NIGERIA Streit 17, Filothei, Tel: 210.802.1188 NORWAY Hatziyianni Mexi 5, Athens, Tel: 210.724.6173 PAKISTAN Vekiareli 15, Filothei, Tel: 210.729.0122 PALESTINE Giassemion 13, P. Psychico, Tel.: 210.672.6061-3 PANAMA Praxitelous 192 & II Merarchias, Piraeus, Tel: 210.428.6441 PERU Semitelou 2, Athens, Tel: 210.779.2761 PHILIPPINES Antheon 26, P. Psychico, Tel: 210.672.1837 POLAND Chrysanthemon 22, P. Psychico, Tel: 210.679.7700 PORTUGAL Vas. Sofias 23, Kolonaki, Tel: 210.729.0096 / 210.723.6784 QATAR Perikleous 2 & Kifissias Av. 212, N. Psychico, Tel: 210.725.5031 ROMANIA Emm. Benaki 7, P. Psychico, Tel: 210.672.8875 RUSSIA Nikiforos Lytra 28, P. Psychico, Tel: 210.672.5235 SAUDI ARABIA Palaiologhou 2 & Agias Annis, Halandri, Tel: 210.671.6911 SERBIA Vas. Sophias 106, Athens, Tel: 210.777.4344 SINGAPORE Leof. Kifissias 10-12 Marousi, Tel: 210.684.5072 SLOVAK REPUBLIC G. Seferi 4, P. Psychico, Tel: 210.677.1980 SLOVENIA Kifissias Av. 280 & Dimokratias 1, N. Psychico, Tel: 210.672.0090-091 SOUTH AFRICA Kifissias 60, Maroussi, Tel: 210.610.6645 SPAIN Dionysiou Areopagitou 21, Plaka, Tel: 210.921.3123 SWEDEN Vas. Konstantinou 7, Athens, Tel: 210.726.6100 SWITZERLAND Iasiou 2, Evaggelismos, Tel: 210.723.0364-6
EMERGENCIES EMERGENCY NUMBERS Ambulance Tel: 166 Doctors SOS Tel: 1016 They will issue an invoice to claim reimbursement from your insurer. Ipirou 1, Athens. Duty Pharmacies Tel:1434 Also check newspapers for listings. Emergency Hospitals Tel: 1434 Fire Brigade Tel: 199 Forest Fire Tel: 191 Poison Hotline Tel: 210.779.3777 Police Tel: 100 Tourist Police Tel: 171 Coast Guard Tel: 108 Air Police Tel: 210.964.2000 ROAD ASSISTANCE ELPA Tel: 10400 Emergency Service Tel: 104 Express Service Tel: 154 Hellas Service Tel: 1057 Interamerican Tel: 1158 HEALTH PAEDIATRIC HOSPITALS EUROCLINIC PAEDON Lemessou 39-41 & Aharnon 209, Kato Patissia, Tel: 210.869.1900 PAEDON AGIA SOFIA HOSPITAL Mikras Asias & Thivon, Goudi,
Tel: 210.746.7000 PAEDON AGLAIA KYRIAKOU HOSPITAL Livadias 3 & Thivon, Goudi, Tel: 210.772.6000 & 1535
Good Morning Athens at 10am, English programs at 11am, music programs on weekdays at 9pm, weekends at 1pm. Peiraios 100, Athens, Tel: 210.341.1610
PRIVATE HOSPITALS CENTRAL CLINIC OF ATHENS Asklipiou St. 31, Athens, Emergency number 1169 or Tel: 210.367.4000, centralclinic.gr EUROCLINIC Diagnostic, surgical and treatment centre. Athanasiadou 9, Athens, (near Mavili Sq.), Tel: 210.641.6600 EURODENTICA Specialized dental care Patision 150, Athens, Tel: 210.866.3367-8 Alamanas 3, Maroussi, Athens, Tel: 210.619.5760-1, El. Venizelou 162, Kallithea, Athens, Tel: 210.956.5365 YGEIA Kifissias & E. Stavrou 4, Maroussi, Tel: 210.686.7000, ygeia.gr IATRIKO KENTRO (ATHENS MEDICAL CENTER) Areos 36, P. Faliro, Tel: 210.989.2100-20 Distomou 5-7, Maroussi, Tel: 210.619.8100 METROPOLITAN HOSPITAL Ethnarou Makariou 9 & El. Venizelou, N. Faliro, Tel: 210.480.9000 metropolitan-hospital.gr IASO Kifissias 37-39, Maroussi, Tel: 210.618.4000 MITERA Kifissias & E. Stavrou 6, Maroussi, Tel: 210.686.9000
SCHOOLS GREEK LANGUAGE The Athens Center 48 Archimidous Street, Mets, Athens 11636 Tel: 210.701.5242 CELT Athens 77 Academias Street, 106 78 Athens, Tel: 210.330.1455 Greek House Dragoumi 7, 145 61 Kifissia, Tel: 210.808.5186 Hellenic American Union 22 Massalias str., 106 80 Athens, Tel: 210.368.0900 Omilo Greek Language And Culture Panagi Tsaldari 13 (4th floor), 15122 Maroussi, Tel: 210.612.2706
PUBLIC HOSPITALS ASKLEPIEION HOSPITAL Vas. Pavlou 1, Voula, Tel: 210.895.8301-4 EVANGELISMOS Ypsilantou 45-47, Kolonaki, Tel: 210.720.1000 KAT HOSPITAL Nikis 2, Kifissia, Tel: 210.628.0000 Specialized trauma unit. TZANNEIO Afentouli & Tzani, Pireaus, Tel: 210.451.9411-9 ENGLISH MEDIA NEWSPAPERS & MAGAZINES Athens Insider, the quarterly magazine for Greece in English The International New York Times carries the English version of Kathimerini RADIO Athens International Radio 104,4
SITES Acropolis is open daily and entrance, includes archaeological sites. Tel: 210.321.0219 Ancient Agora was the heart of ancient Athens - the focus of political, commercial, administrative and social life for centuries. Byzantine Churches. many churches dating from the 11th and 12th centuries are found around the city. Noteworthy examples include: Agios Eleftherios, next to the cathedral on Mitropoleos Street; Kapnikarea, halfway down Ermou Street from Syntagma; Agi Apostoli, Agora area south of Stoa of Attalos; and Agia Triada (Russian Orthodox church) on Filellinon Street. Churches are open to the public on Sundays and holidays, also usually for daily prayers 7am-1pm and 4-6:30pm. Dress soberly when visiting. Technopolis (Gazi) a 19th century gas factory turned major cultural centre for performing arts and installation works. Pireos 100 & Ermou, Gazi. Tel: 210.346.1589. Hadrian’s Arch a Roman arch that marked the boundary of ancient Athens and the new city. Located at the corner of Vas. Olgas and Amalias Avenues. Lykavittos Hill is the highest point in Athens. Take the teleferique from the top of Ploutarchou St. Odeon of Herod Atticus built in 161 AD, this is where the Athens Festival takes place. Accessible for €1.50 and open daily from 8:30am. Panathenian Stadium Kalimarmaro was the site of the first modern Olympics in 1896. Located at Vassileos Konstantinou and Agras, across from the National Garden. Pnyx Hill here, for the first time in history, every citizen could vote, giving Pnyx the name the birthplace
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of democracy. Close by is the beautiful Old Observatory. Presidential Palace formerly the Royal Palace, this building is used by the President of Greece to host dignitaries. Irodou Attikou Street. Stoa of Attalos shopping arcade built in the 2nd century BC and totally reconstructed in the 1950s. Tues-Sun 8:30am3pm. Admission to the Agora and museum €3.50. Adrianou 24. Tel: 210.321.0185 Syntagma (Constitution Square) is the heart of the city and the best spot for new visitors to orient themselves. The Evzones, dressed in traditional uniforms, guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in front of the Parliament. The changing-of-theguard ceremony takes place every hour. Temple of Olympian Zeus once the largest temple in ancient Greece, its ruins lie just behind Hadrian’s Arch. Mon-Sun 8am7:30pm. €2.00. Vas. Olgas and Amalias Avenues, Tel: 210.922.6330. Theatre of Dionysus built in 500 BC is where the plays of Aristophanes, Euripides, Aeschylus and Sophocles were first performed. Tower of Winds the octagonal tower, representing the eight winds, was built in the 1st century BC by the Syrian astronomer Andronicus. Mon-Sun 8am-7pm. Just east of the Ancient Agora. Tel: 210.324.5220.
City Centre Athens Centre:
Omonia, 4 Omonia Square Ermou, 39 Ermou str. Kolonaki, 6 Merlin Omirou, 4 Omirou Southern Suburbs
Glyfada, 2 Agiou Konstantinou str Nea Smyrni, 33 El. Venizelou str Kallithea, 108-110 Eleftheriou Venizelou Aven. Piraeus, 18 Bouboulinas Piraeus, 17-19 Tsamadou Rest of Attica region:
Kifissia, 3 Kolokotroni str. Chalandri, 4 Pentelis Aven. Korinthos, 42 Koliatsou str. For more store addresses and online shopping, visit: hondoscenter.com #HCExperience @hondoscenter
TAIWAN Marathonodromon 57, Psychico, Tel: 210.677.5122 Representative office THAILAND Marathorodromon 25 & Kyprou, P. Psychico, Tel: 210.674.9065 TUNISIA Antheon 2, P. Psychico, Tel: 210.671.7590 TURKEY Vas. Georgiou B’ 11, Athens, Tel: 210.726.3000 UKRAINE Stephanou Delta 4, Filothei, Tel: 210.680.0230 UAE Kifissias Av. 290 & N. Paritsi 2, Tel: .210.677.0220 UK Ploutarchou 1, Athens, Tel: 210.727.2600 USA Vas. Sofias 91, Athens, Tel: 210.721.2951 URUGUAY Menandrou 1, Kifissia, Tel: 210.361.3549 VATICAN Mavili 2, P. Psychico, Tel: 210.674.3598 VENEZUELA Marathonodromon 19, P. Psychico, Tel: 210.672.9169 VIETNAM Yakinthon 50,Psychico, Tel. 210.612.8733, 210.675.3080
PRIX PICTET SHOWS FIRE IN ATHENS Founded in 2008, the Prix Pictet is recognised as the world’s leading prize for photography. The Prix Pictet aims to harness the power of all genres of photography – to draw global attention to issues of sustainability. Featuring established photographers whose images span documentary, portraiture, landscape, collage and studies of light and process, this edition’s theme that runs until July 10 at the Athens Conservatoire, is Fire. A selection of photographs from the short-listed artists: Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige (Lebanon), Rinko Kawauchi (Japan) Carla Rippey (Mexico), Mark Ruwedel (USA), Brent Stirton (South Africa), David Uzochukwu (Austria/Nigeria), Daisuke Yokota (Japan), Sally Mann (USA), Christian Marclay (USA/ Switzerland), Fabrice Monteiro (Belgium/Benin), Lisa Oppenheim (USA) and Mak Remissa (Cambodia) athens insider | 136 |