On Athens, and the thin line between love and hate

Athens city. The capital of Greece. Its largest city.


The Hellenic Parliament, with the National Gardens visible on the left and the Columns of the Olympian Zeus just above them

Athēnai, as the Ancient Greeks called her. One of the world’s oldest cities, with a recorded history spanning around 3.400 years.


Acropolis of Athens, with the Parthenon on its centre

I quote Wikipedia;
“A centre for the arts, learning and philosophy, home of Plato’s Academy and Aristotle’s Lyceum, it is widely referred to as the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy, largely due to the impact of its cultural and political achievements during the 5th and 4th centuries BC on the rest of the then known European continent. Today a cosmopolitan metropolis, modern Athens is central to economic, financial, industrial, political and cultural life in Greece.”

Monastiraki and Acropolis

The square at Monastiraki, with the Acropolis and the Parthenon overhead

A city with more than 4 million people roaming her streets everyday, Athens is a chaotic, colourful, concrete mess.
I got to know her a little better during the last two or three years, and while my negative feelings towards her haven’t changed, there is a part of me that feels drawn to her, like Ulysses was drawn to the Siren’s song, tied to the mast of his ship.

Syntagma crossing

Pedestrians cross the street in Syntagma square, in the heart of Athens

There are many things to hate about her, but an equal number of things to love. This love-hate feeling is so fluid, and so subjective, that it is truly something thought-provoking on its own.
Below is a selection of photos taken there, not my best ones or those that manage to capture the city’s spirit, but instead those whose subjects made me stop and press the shutter button….

National Bank of Greece

The building of the National Bank, reflected on the waters of a fountain in Kotzia square

Philopappos Monument

The Philopappos Monument, an ancient Greek mausoleum and monument dedicated to Gaius Julius Antiochus Epiphanes Philopappos, on Mouseion Hill.

Full Moon over Parthenon, at Gazi

The full moon of June rises behind Hymettus mountain, as seen through an abandoned gas-tank in Gazi district, with the Parthenon and a chimney seen on the bottom right


Litter (despite the existing garbage bins) and many rental stickers on the columns, in Karaiskaki square


A marking with a sharpie over a faded map that was posted from the Unification of the Archaeological Sites of Athens S.A., reads: “A map faded, as is the city and it’s people”. Note the tables that surround it (almost certainly illegally placed there by the cafeteria)


A table and two chairs waiting for some customers, in the cobblestoned walkway in Plaka

Attica Road

The Attica Road, the ring road of the greater metropolitan area of Athens and the backbone of the road network of the whole Attica Prefecture. On the left the building (erected illegally) of “The Mall”, one of Athens many malls.

Sea of concrete

Athens, as seen from Aigaleo mountain, a sea of concrete mess…

Athens, never sleeps

The city comes alive after the sun sets

City Hall

Athens’ city hall, in Kotzia square, as seen at dusk.

Acropolis, at dusk

Acropolis and the illuminated Parthenon, with the city’s coastline visible, as seen from Lycabettus hill, during dusk

Greek flag at Acropolis

The Greek flag on the eastern side of the Acropolis.

Until next post,


3 thoughts on “On Athens, and the thin line between love and hate

  1. Pingback: On planning for a shot with all the best intentions, but missing a few details… – Part 1 | Through the Looking Glass

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s