The sweetest Christmas sweet, the one dripping with honey, the most guilt-free sweet made with olive oil, honey and walnuts, may also be the most difficult to make to our liking. Perhaps because the olive oil has to be top quality, the honey aromatic and the walnuts crunchy. Or perhaps because no one can match the mouth-watering melomakarona our grandmother used to make. Their Christmas cousin, the kourabies, is also held to high standards. It must not stick to the roof of the mouth; it should be light and crispy, with just a scent of butter but not so you can taste it; in short, it should be rich in flavour, in aroma and in ingredients.
Two old-fashioned sweets
It is possible that the kourabies, like many other specialities of Greek cuisine, came from Asia Minor along with the Greek refugees who hid their rich cultural heritage in what little baggage they could carry. In many parts of Greece, kourabiedes (plural) or some version of them are served throughout the year, particularly at weddings and christenings. The name is borrowed from the Turkish word kurabiye, which may have come from the Persian word gülābiye; it contains the root words gül and ab, meaning rose and water - rosewater. Still, the internet offers a number of other suggestions for the word’s origins. No matter which explanation you accept, one thing is for certain: the kourabies symbolises the Christmas holidays, with a generous sprinkling of icing sugar and childhood memories.
The word melomakarono, on the other hand, sounds like it would be associated with honey (“meli”) and macaroni, but the latter at least is highly unlikely. The likelier explanation is that it derives from the word “macaron”, a French sweet that is known as “macaroon” in English, and first appears in 16th century cooking references. This word, together with the honey that is characteristic of this pastry, probably came into use much later, in the late 19th century. In many parts of Greece, melomakarona (pl.) are also called foinikia, or chourmades (dates), because they resemble them in shape and sweetness. For some, the word melomakarono comes from the psychopitta made for All Souls’ Day, and the ancient Greek word “makaria”, meaning blessed, a sweet that became a melomakarono after it was dipped in honey. Nevertheless, the French macaron or the Italian maccheroni/macaroni sounds sweeter and more uplifting.
Melomakarona, kourabiedes and plenty of Yule logs on the Athenaeum InterContinental’s Christmas menu
The traditional Greek melomakarona and kourabiedes, chocolate Yule logs, syrup-soaked pastries, sweets with chestnuts, fruit and cream, gourmet or classic - no matter what you most enjoy or how you like it, the Athenaeum InterContinental Athens is preparing a wide selection of sweets and irresistible flavours just for you. Set aside any guilty feelings and enjoy!
10 am to 10 pm. 1 December to 7 January. For children and the young at heart, there is a factory unlike any other. It’s a factory that makes Christmas come alive, warms the heart and puts a smile on everyone’s face. The Christmas Factory at Technopolis in Gazi. Buy your ticket and start your tour. One day may not be enough.
School of Magic for renowned magicians
Those brave enough to venture into the world of magic can try their hand at the magical space with a classroom and three practice rooms at the Christmas Factory, where reality and fantasy come together in a journey of magic for all ages. The School of Magic is a brand-new activity at Technopolis this Christmas, and joins the popular Escape Room to complete the magical mystery of the season.
Time for an adrenaline rush
If magic tricks and games of mystery prove insufficient to get your adrenaline racing, a 200 square metre skating rink for would-be ice dancers and those daring enough to test their skating skills is fully equipped and ready. Next to it is the 20 metre Ferris wheel, the highest in the centre of the capital, offering those with no fear of heights a spectacular view of the Christmas Factory from above, the Acropolis and the entire city.
Taste treats, gifts and a carousel
A surprise at every turn and around every corner: That’s what the Christmas Factory organisers had in mind when they set up shops with dozens of gift ideas for home and family, restaurants and patisseries with countless options for food and delicious sweets around the famous Italian carousel, a classic ride reminiscent of our childhood.
The Christmas Factory invites you to forget your troubles and share laughter, joy, games and holiday spirit. It was created just like you dreamed it would be. Enjoy it with the whole family and let yourself feel like a kid again
Your next holiday destination has already been decided. Tickets have been purchased, and now the only thing remaining to decide (but perhaps the most important for ensuring a thoroughly successful vacation) is choosing the right hotel.
Location: Central and easily accessible
Where will you stay? Well, naturally – in the heart of the city! Our chosen hotel should be located in a central point within the city, or, better yet, somewhere just beyond the centre with good roads for quick and easy access. This is particularly true in cities known for their traffic problems. Moreover, the ideal hotel should be close to major means of public transport such as buses and subway and naturally should guarantee round-the-clock taxi service and easy car rentals as well. Furthermore, you should feel that you can easily return to your hotel at any time, even for a quick nap or dip in the hotel pool, in order to go back out again, refreshed and ready for further exploration.
The luxurious Hotel Athenaeum InterContinental Athens is located in the centre of the city on one of the capital’s main thoroughfares, Syngrou Avenue, which leads easily and directly to all of the major points of historical and commercial interest. With taxi, bus or car, in ten minutes you can be in the heart of the commercial district, in the traditional neighbourhoods of Plaka or Monastiraki, at the foot of the Acropolis or by the sea.
Lodging: Different rooms for every need
A vast selection of rooms and rates! How we travel: alone, with one other person, with the entire family (with or without nannies and assistants), with a group of friends or other families – all these factors and their consequent requirements influence our choice of hotel accommodations. A double room, two joined doubles or doubles that merely communicate via a shared door, a large family suite, two communicating suites…. The list of options needs to as extensive as our possible demands. And the sine qua non for any room carrying (and respecting) a “luxury” designation is absolute cleanliness and impeccable service.
The Athenaeum InterContinental Athens offers 533 rooms in 6 different categories: Superior rooms, Deluxe rooms, Family rooms, Rooms for persons with special needs (PWD), Club Intercontinental rooms with special club benefits and privileges and Suites of different sizes, kinds and configurations. All of the rooms are characterized by their quintessential cleanliness and state-of-the-art service.
Services & Amenities
Flexible check-in and check-out, Spa, Pool, Gymnasium, private dining and meeting rooms, concierge guide, conference rooms and incredible views! The services and amenities of a hotel to a large extent determine the hotel’s rating and number of stars – as well as the guests’ degree of satisfaction with their stay. Most of a hotel’s amenities depend on its facilities and infrastructure, while its services and quality depend on its staff.
The Athenaeum InterContinental Athens is a luxury 5-star hotel in the heart of Athens featuring state-of-the-art service by friendly, experienced, highly-trained staff who truly understand the art of hospitality. The hotel offers a gymnasium and Spa, outdoor pool, special services for guests staying in Club rooms and suites, a unique view of the Acropolis and surrounding hills and monuments, award-winning restaurants and one of the most beautiful and atmospheric cafés in the city.
On the 12th of November, yet another classic Marathon will take place in Athens, dedicated to the memory of the Balkan champion Grigoris Lambrakis. This is the true and original Marathon following the classic route, the most demanding – but also the most rewarding – in the world. Entries have been flooding in from all over the world since April 10 for the classic Marathon as well as for the race-walking event, 5k and 10k races and a special race for children!
A tough course, an athletic event, a legend and a story
In the 42,195-meter Athens Marathon, both physical and mental endurance are severely tested, with the mental once again emerging victorious, because this Marathon, the toughest and most punishing for human endurance, demonstrates like no other the true mental strength and spirit of the athletes. And when the athlete’s physical strength falters – that is where mental toughness rises to the occasion, where passion, persistence and love for this special contest created by a legendary messenger comes to the fore. This is where human greatness is cultivated and celebrated.
History – a story…
The Marathon race was introduced into the Olympic programme at the birth of the modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896. From 1982, the annual classic Marathon has been dedicated to the memory of the great pacifist athlete, scientist and politician Grigoris Lambrakis, who became a symbol of the struggle for human rights. From 1983 (when the 1st International Athens Peace Marathon was run by 700 mostly Greek athletes) until today, tens of thousands of athletes and amateur runners of all ages and nationalities have come to consider their preparation for and participation in the Athens Marathon as a way of life.