Thematic Tour III - The city's secrets

Would you like to know the secrets Athens keeps in her heart?
This tour begins on Mount Lycabettus, Athens' highest point commanding a panoramic view over the city. The cable car takes us up to this point where we can visit the medieval church of Agios Georgios.
The next stop is one of the most remarkable Byzantine monuments in Athens, the Holy Monastery Asomaton Petraki

The main temple is a composite four-column cross-in-square style and most probably dates from the 10th century A.D., though the narthex was constructed in later Byzantine years. Today, the catholico of the Holy Monastery is also the Synodal Chapel of the Church of Greece.
situated next to the offices of the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece, and then on to the Byzantine Museum
One of the most important museums internationally for the art and culture of the Byzantine and post-Byzantine years. The Byzantine and Christian Museum houses more than 25,000 objects, which date from the 3rd to 20th century and come from the wider Greece, Asia Minor and Balkan Area
. This is considered to be one of the most important museums internationally for the art and culture of the Byzantine and post-Byzantine years.
We will momentarily leave the Byzantine years, taking our tour into the modern Greek State and the imposing building of the Greek Parliament
The imposing building of the Greek Parliament has a long history that is directly connected to the history of the modern Greek state. It was designed by the official architect of the Bavarian Court Friedrich von Gaertner and initially served as the Palace of Kings Otto and George I (1843). Today, it is the Greek Parliament, a timeless symbol and part of the country's collective memory.
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Heading down Stadiou Street, south-west of Klafthmonos Square, a pleasant surprise awaits us. Agion Theodoron Square, which still carries the nostalgic air of old Athens, despite its recent renovation. It also happens to be home to one of the most important Byzantine monuments of Athens, Agion Theodoron Church
Experts have classified this as one of the most important Byzantine monuments in Athens, originally built on the site of an old chapel. It dates to the mid-11th century A.D. and is constructed in the simple distyle cross-in-square.

We move on towards Evripidou and Aiolou streets. The old eaves of shops and the buildings adorned with narrow balconies and elaborate railings mix with the scents of spices, nuts and pastrami.  Anyone care for traditional loukoumades (something like a donut with honey?)
Continuing along pedestrianised Aiolou Street, next to the imposing Chrysospiliotissa Church, we come to the picturesque church of Agia Paraskevi
Dated to the period of the Ottoman Occupation, the church is a single-aisled vaulted basilica. In 1762 it became a part of the Osiou Meletiou Kithairona Monastery.
which houses wall murals dated to 1930. A little further on from the crossroads of Kolokotroni Street is Agia Irini Church
It is believed to have been built on the ruins of 70 Byzantine churches that were destroyed under Bavarian Rule. With the transfer of the centre of the Greek State from Nafplio to Athens, Agia Irini became the official cathedral of the capital. The renovation and repair of the temple was carried out in 1845 by the well-known architect, Lysandros Kavtatzoglou.
, the first Metropolis of Athens and a treasure trove of modern Greek history, witness to exceptional events such as Theodoros Kolokotronis' funeral, the ordination of Archbishop Makarios and the Cypriot President and such like.  
Here in the most commercial pedestrianised street in the city, Ermou Street, we find a diamond of Byzantine architecture, the Holy Church of Eisodion tis Theotokou
The lack of sufficient historical information on the mid-Byzantine period in Athens, does not allow for precise chronological records on the long and important history of the monument. It is believed to have been built towards the end of the 11th century A.D..
, or the Panagia Kapnikarea as the locals call it. Continuing towards the junction with Athinas Street, we encounter perhaps the oldest church in Athens, Koimiseos tis Theotokou Pantanassis
The Panagia or Pantanassa church is a vaulted basilica and one of the oldest in Athens.  During the Ottoman Occupation it became the catholicos of Ieras Monis and gave its name to the wider area, known at the time as Monastiraki.
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Following a spectacular route along Adrianou Street we reach the pathways of the Ancient Market
Inhabited since early Neolithic times (3,000 B.C.), it was once used as a cemetery. In the early 6th century B.C. the area was used as public space for citizens' meetings.  The monuments on the archaeological site span various historical periods from the classical years to the 11th century A.D..
and the Stoa of Attalos
The two-storied building was a donation from King of Pergamon, Attalos II (159-138 B.C.), and was a kind of ancient shopping centre with shops and workshops.  It was reconstructed between 1953 and 1956 and since then has been used as a museum to display mainly objects of daily use, that were discovered during excavations in the Ancient Market.
, where the pulse of Athens beat in the time of Pericles. The Ancient Market was the political, economic, administrative, religious and cultural centre of the city. All citizens came together here to carry out all kinds of activities.
Α bit further up in Areios Pagos, Apostle Paulos arrived in order to bring to the West the news for Christiandom and that Christ is risen.
Inevitably we find ourselves in the most beautiful pedestrianised street in Europe, Apostolos Pavlos Street and Thiseio to hear all the stories it has to tell. Time to enjoy a coffee, or meal, with the Acropolis in the background, now that all the city's secrets have been revealed!