According to Greek mythology, the eternally young Dionysos (always merry, indolent, clever and more beloved than almost any other god of antiquity) had entrusted the cultivation of his favorite vineyard to the residents of Attica. From ancient times until the present, Attica has been renowned for its vineyards, especially the Mesogeia region, just northeast of the capital, which todays boasts more grapevines than anywhere else in Greece and is home to 26 different vineyards, many of them distinguished for their quality, craft and production.
Blessed by a favorable microclimate
Attica has an exceptional climate with mild winters and a tremendous amount of sunlight, while the surrounding sea further adds to these ideal growing conditions. The vine-growing zones in Attica are relatively small and belong to traditional wine-producing families, who ply their craft with passion and pride, from harvest to bottle.
Touring the vineyards
You can easily pass an entire day among the vineyards of Attica, following all the seasonal rituals – from harvesting and pressing the grapes to bottling the new wine. Moreover, at many of the vineyards they also give lessons in wine tasting and gastronomy, while special seminars are often offered as well. Visit the website of the Region of Attica; follow Attica’s wine routes, and find the vineyards which most appeal to your taste and curiosity
On Sunday October 1, the center of Athens will be filled with thousands of men, women and children of all ages. The purpose of this race (now in its 35th year and with over a million participants in 140 countries around the world so far) is to raise public awareness about breast cancer.
The history of the race
The idea behind the Race for the Cure began with Nancy Brinker, following a pledge she made to her sister, Susan G. Komen, who died of breast cancer in 1982, that she would do everything in her power to help find a cure for the disease. The first race was held in Dallas, Texas, and it soon spread across the globe, each year touching hundreds of thousands of people of all ages.
The meaning of the race
The goal of this race, which starts and finishes at the Zappeion, is to inform, sensitize and support women, a goal embraced by thousands of women volunteers who have experienced this same situation and who want to do everything possible to aid in the prevention and timely treatment of the disease. Money gathered from the participants and from those who simply want to support the cause is donated and used with utter transparency in service of the race’s goals.
Register to participate
Register to participate as a runner or volunteer, either online or at specific registration points, and become a part of the most important and effective means of spreading information about women’s health and breast cancer – the leading cause of death among women in the western world.
During our stay in the capital, Syntagma Square is always on our route – and is always our point of reference. The numbering of the city’s streets (with the even numbers always on the right), and the distance in kilometers to any other point in the country also start from here. Since 1932, Syntagma has been the home of the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, with inscriptions from Pericles’ Funeral Oration (via Thucydides) as well as the names of the sites of major battles fought by the Greek forces during four great wars: The Balkan Wars, the two World Wars and the Asia Minor Campaign.
The upper side of Syntagma, on what is called Boubounistra Hill, was selected as the site for King Otto’s Palace following a proposal by Friedrich von Gärtner, architect to the Bavarian court. This small hill, cool and safe, faces the Acropolis and the other hilltops of Athens and was considered the most appropriate location for the home of the young nation’s first king. Following its construction, Queen Amalia oversaw the creation of the Royal Gardens (now the National Park) just behind the Palace.
On this square unfolded the nation’s history
On September 3rd, 1843 in the open courtyard in front of the Palace (it only became a public square after 1870), Ioannis Makryiannis, the army and a mass of citizens gathered to demand that King Otto accept the creation of a constitution – which signaled Greece’s transformation into a Constitutional Monarchy, hence the later renaming of the site as “Constitution Square” (“Syntagma” in Greek).In November 1929, it was decided to move the Parliament and Senate into the Royal Palace. The transformation of the Palace into a Parliament building, with all the necessary reconfigurations and changes, was done according to plans by the architect Andreas Kriezis and took six years to complete, with the official inauguration taking place in 1935.
On this Square, from the balcony of the Pallis Mansion at the corner of Karageorgis Servias Street on 18 October 1944, the Prime Minister of Greece, George Papandreou, declared the country’s liberation. Two months later, one of the darkest chapters in the nation’s modern history unfolded on the same spot with the events later referred to as the “Dekemvriana” in which dozens of demonstrators were killed.
While appearances change, traditions remain
Greeks have always gathered at Syntagma Square – and still do so today – whenever they want to draw attention to their causes or demands, with marches, parades and mass demonstrations. Greece’s two major organized processions, the student parade on the 28th of October and the military parade on the 25th of March, both pass through the Square, while the leaders of the nation’s largest political parties regularly use the Square for their speeches and pre-election rallies. Hundreds of pigeons also gather here, especially in front of the Parliament building, where, on some genetic or instinctual level, they know that they will be fed by a steady stream of passing tourists and residents alike. And here you absolutely must stop to observe the changing of the Presidential Guard in front of the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Shopping for gifts is an inseparable part of travelling. Before leaving a place, almost every tourist goes looking for special gifts or souvenirs for themselves and their loved ones. Both the centre of Athens and its suburbs offer nearly limitless opportunities to find all kinds of gifts – edibles, jewelry, clothes, accessories and items both decorative and useful for the home.
The Varvakeios Market for traditional foods – ouzo, tsipouro (raki), traditional cheeses, mastic, legumes from the smaller islands of the Cyclades, “loukoumi” (Greek delights) from Syros, herbs and spices, olive oil and honey from Crete. The gastronomy of Greece is rich and diverse, and its native products are among the most highly sought-after in the world. The Varvakeios Market is the ideal place to stock up on these specialties.
Voukourestiou Street and Plaka for the best in jewelry. Dozens of Greek designers working in gold and silver create extraordinary jewelry, real works of art which compete in beauty and price with the finest jewelers in Europe. Take a look; compare – and you will agree.
Kolonaki, Ermou, Syntagma Square, Kifissia and Glyfada for clothes and accessories – for every taste, age and budget. Famous fashion houses, Greek and foreign designers, department stores and boutiques that import and sell famous brand names – as well as small and unknown (but fantastic) shops selling unique items – you stumble across them at every turn, tempting, inviting and almost impossible to resist.
Plaka and Monastiraki for souvenirs made in Greece. Clothes, bags, cups, plates, paintings, rugs, key-chains, scarves – anything you can imagine, useful or decorative – all bearing the “Made in Greece” stamp to remind you and your friends of your stay here.
Museums for exceptional reproductions, books and more. The Acropolis Museum - The Benaki Museum - The Museum of Cycladic Art - The Byzantine Museum - The National Archaeological Museum - are just a few of the dozens of fine museums in Athens whose gift shops offer a wealth of choices of the highest aesthetic quality and a wide range of prices. Amazing items for friends, relatives and… yourselves!
The Mall for everything! At - City Link for signature items from major Greek and foreign fashion designers. At Attica department stores - in the centre at City link, Golden Hall and at The Mall Athens – for brand names in cosmetics to clothes and accessories for every taste. At Golden Hall - with 131 domestic and foreign outlets, easy access and parking and a pleasant atmosphere. At The Mall Athens and at Athens Metro Mall with 200 shops at the first and 100 shops in the second, with year-round sales and guaranteed parking. At Factory Outlet at Smart Park and at McArthur Glen Designer Outlet Athens for ongoing sales in a vast shopping space with everything you can imagine for men, women, children and for the home.