In the heart of the city of Athens, at the Metro station ‘Keramikos’ or the bus stop ‘Geoponiki Scholi’, you will find endless unfolding gardens that one could not have imagined exist here, unless of course you visited the Agricultural University of Athens as a student. The hundreds of acres of land with an incredible variety of plants and flowers, invite us to discover it alongside local Greek produce extracted from the land – of the unknown and known ecosystems – in a collaborative project by the Onassis Cultural Centre and the Agricultural University of Athens. ‘Geometries’ aims to introduce visitors to a colorful world with a vibrant green background!
One Of Greece’s First Academic Institutions (Re) Introduced
A dense cycle of sowing and reaping will take place at the extensive gardens of the Agricultural University of Athens. The visitors – who are the participants – will be involved in a program divided into 7 themes including salt, fire, gardens, seeds, water, earth, and air; participants will have the opportunity to take part in numerous events such as cooking sessions, workshops, walks, talks and readings in order to discover the different aspects of the university, its vineyard, orchard, botanical gardens, and gain insight into alternative farming practices, as well as learn about the critical problem of climate change.
Through The Prism Of Art
In a project curated by locus Athens, works of contemporary art created by Greek and foreign artists have been set up in select locations throughout the grounds of the Agricultural University of Athens. Seeking to expand the conversation between contemporary art and the public sphere, ‘Geometries’ is sponsored by the Independent Contemporary Arts Organization founded by Maria-Thalia Carras and Olga Hatzidaki.
This event runs until 15 June 2018.
Some years ago, in the late evening of Holy Saturday we found ourselves on the uphill street of Prytaneion, with the Acropolis to our left, and we were most curious about the huge crowd that had gathered around the church, from which we could also hear an echo of light chanting. Ever since this day, every time we’re in Athens on Good Friday and Holy Saturday, we make sure to take a walk up Prytaneion Street and always make the descent down the narrow stairs to the courtyard of the Church of Agioi Anargiroi – this is where to truly experience Greek Easter in Athens.
The Church’s Long History
The Church of Agioi Anargiroi is located on the northern foothills of the Acropolis, at the intersection of Prytaneion St. and Erechtheos St., and was constructed in the 17th century at exactly the same spot as the Ancient Temple of Aphrodite. The church is a one aisled vaulted basilica with a porch, a gynaeconitis in the gallery, and a courtyard with a picturesque water well, impressive ancient remains of the area, walls of which some were built by famous ancient architects, as well as an old municipal gas lamp. The bitter oranges, jasmines, flowerbeds, and pots with ornamental and scented plants, as well as the rooms that were once monastery cells –used for a community of woman, and then a community of men – hug and protect this space from the outside world; all of which combine to reflect a glorious past and a setting of warm and intense religiosity.
The Metochi Of The Holy Sepulcher Welcomes The Holy Light
Then a monastery of the Exarch of the Holy Sepulcher in Athens, in 1760 it was bought by Archimandrite Iakovos who changed it to the Metochi of the Holy Sepulcher; from that time, and until 1858, it had been the residence of the exarch. The monastery also houses the tombs of the Byzantine Palaiologos family. The Epitaph procession on Good Friday is undoubtedly the best in Athens – it is truly a unique experience as it passes through the narrow streets of Plaka. This is also the first church to receive the Holy Light each year from Jerusalem; from here it is then distributed to the other churches. If you are lucky enough to have this experience, you will never forget it, and surely you will always seek to relive it!
If you find yourself in the city center of Athens on March 25, you will see streets adorned with Greek flags and many residents awaiting to watch the city’s grand military parade. Since 1838 when Otto was the King of Greece, March 25th commemorates the official start date of the Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire which began in 1821. A national holiday is observed on this day throughout Greece, and the festivities include a grand military parade, as well as organized student school parades across the country. On March 25 in Athens, the grand military parade takes place in the city’s central gathering point – Syntagma Square – and is attended by the President of Greece, important members of the Greek Orthodox Church, as well as other dignitaries.
March 25 & The Religious Observance of The Annunciation
According to the Eastern Orthodox Church, March 25 is a day of great religious significance, as it commemorates the joyful news of the imminent birth of Christ. According to the Gospel of Luke, Archangel Gabriel appeared before the Virgin Mary at her house in Nazareth, to tell her that she would bear the Son of God. The celebration of the event seems to have been established around the 4th century AD, while the first official testimony of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary can be found in the meetings of the Council of Toledo in 656.
In 1821, the Greek revolutionary, Alexander Ypsilantis, chose the 25th of March as the commencement date of the Greek Revolution. These two major events are festively celebrated in Greece with street processions, church services and an especially distinct traditional meal. Because March 25th falls during the period of Great Lent, this day is considered “exempt” from fast, and the traditional meal of the day is "bakaliaros skordalia", which is a delicious salted cod that is fried and accompanied by a flavorful garlic pate. This delicious dish is always included on the menu at the Athenaeum InterContinental, reminding visitors of the day’s customary dish!
Nestled in the shadow of the Acropolis, on the south side of Philopappos Hill, and bordered by the beautiful pedestrian street of Dionysiou Areopagitou and busy Syngrou Avenue lies the vibrant neighborhood of Koukaki. In 2015, according to tourists who choose apartment rentals, Koukaki was ranked as the 6th most interesting neighborhood in the world to stay. Yet this didn’t come as a surprise to the locals of the area because Koukaki has always been a hospitable, beautiful and convenient Athenian neighborhood.
Why Greeks and Foreigners Like Koukaki
Koukaki was named after Koukakis, a local bed manufacturer who owned a factory near the historic Syngrou Fix building – which is today home to the National Museum of Contemporary Art. Second to the famous and historic area of Plaka, Koukaki is the closest and most organized district neighboring the Acropolis; it continues to preserve the glory of its past thanks to the well-preserved and renovated homes, architecturally distinct neoclassical buildings, and characteristic apartment blocks that tell a story from Athens’ interwar period. Despite numerous abandoned buildings, the charm of this neighborhood’s past remains very evident behind some of the half-broken walls. In addition to the famous pedestrian way of Dionysiou Areopagitou, Koukaki also has the pedestrian streets of Diakou and Olympiou which give residents and visitors the opportunity to slow-down and relax at one of the authentic cafes and bars or traditional Greek tavernas. Koukaki also is one of Athens’ easiest neighborhoods to get to and navigate; there are several public transportation options including a number of bus routes along Syngou Avenue (550, A2, A3), two Athens Metro stations (Acropoli and Syngrou Fix), as well as Trolley line 10 that runs in the area. Another advantage of the Koukaki neighborhood is that it’s only a short distance from the sea, which for residents and visitors means a leisurely stroll to Athens’ beautiful waterfront.
A Neighborhood of Cultural Interest
Being located just below the Acropolis, next to the impressive Acropolis Museum, coupled with the fact that it's home to the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Koukaki has a particularly intense cultural character. It is precisely for this reason that artists and writers have always been drawn to this vibrant Athenian neighborhood. In Koukaki, one can find galleries, the well-known movie theater “Mikrokosmos” – famous for its cinematic films and particular tribute selections – as well as the Museum of Emotions for children and teenagers.