Thursday, April 7, 2016

Exploring Monastiraki

One good thing about doing your own travel itinerary is that there is no pressure to rush off to places and keeping to the tight schedule with the tour group. No doubt doing a DIY travel would require a lot of walking on foot. The feet do come to protest after a couple hours of walking. And when they do, we know that it's time for some light refreshments. 

So after the quick stroll at the library, we stopped at a street seller for some Greek sesame bread rings or koulouri. 

We walked a bit further and ended up at Monastiraki Square - an open market square with bustling shops, street vendors and open markets.

 Monastiraki area spreads out at the foot of the Acropolis to the North of the Hephaestus Temple in  the Ancient Agora  and south of Ermou street; it’s a  charming alloy of colors, smells, tastes and senses.

Nuts about coconuts on the Monastiraki Square
Shops at Monastiraki Square selling anything from kitsch and souvenirs to chandeliers and beautifully crafted armoiries.

In the old days the flea market was called Yousourum from the name of a rug and bones of the man who first made business in the Monastiraki area.

Collectors items porcelains
More collectors stuffs
Old cameras for the photography enthusiasts

Tzistarakis Mosque

At the south corner of the Monastiraki Square, bordering the Library of Hadrian stands a domed building with a triple-arched loggia. It was a mosque built in the eighteenth century during the Ottoman occupation by the local governor Tzistarakis. 

Quranic verses on the walls of what used to be a mosque
Entrance to the mosque
 Today, however the mosque is home to a ceramics museum, an annex of the Museum of Greek Folk Art. Unfortunately, the museum was closed at the time of our visit.

Monastiraki was the site of one of the largest monasteries in Athens.
The surviving church, also known as the Pantanassa Church.

But most of this 'Great Monastery' was demolished during archaeological excavations in the nineteenth century. Little was left of the complex. Only the church remains intact.

What's your pick? Keep Calam & Drink Ouzo or I Love Greece?

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