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Sundays in Athens

Sundays in Athens
Unlike some European capitals where Sundays don’t differ much from any other week day, in Athens all shops are closed and a shopaholic visitor can get very easily depressed. Here are some things you can do in the capital only on a Sunday, just to help you get over the closed shops blues. 
Sunday church. Attending a Greek Orthodox church service can be an interesting experience whether you’re religious or not. The Sunday morning service (between 07:00 and 09:30) is the one most Greek churchgoers attend all over the country, although fewer and fewer young people are seen in church. The best place to visit in the city centre is, of course, Athens Cathedral (modest compared to magnificent cathedrals you may have seen elsewhere) on Mitropoleos Street, where you are likely to mingle with local dignatories, politicians, etc. The little old church of Kapnikarea (see pg 62) on Ermou street is a more intimate and atmospheric alternative, although it can get crammed.  
Changing of the guard. The guards (Evzones) at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in front of the Greek Parliament change on the hour every day and night and this is a top tourist attraction. Every Sunday morning though, just after 10:30 the visitor can watch the full official ceremony when the whole Presidential Guard march from their barracks to the tomb followed by a millitary band. The uniform of the elite soldiers originates in the war of independence from the Ottomans and the kilts have 400 pleats, as many as the years of the occupation. 
Monastiraki flea market. Once you’re done with the Evzones, you can cross Syntagma square and walk down the deserted commercial Ermou street to get to Monastiraki where the flea market is at full swing every Sunday morning. Avisinias square is where you’ll find most shops selling antiques mixed with junk and you can spend a few hours watching people digging under the piles of used objects of all kinds. If you decide to buy something, remember that prices are negotiable, especialy those quoted to foreigners. A self styled market with old stamps, coins and banknotes take place every Sunday at the end of Adrianou street just outside Thissio metro station where you can buy a set of old drachma coins, but be cautious with the prices again.  
Free museums. Last but not least, a Sunday is the day you can dedicate to visiting museums and archaeological places as admission is free every Sunday until the begining of April (for a detailed account of everything worth seeing in Athens, see our ‘What to see’ pages 54-64). 

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  • tania - Lebanon 10 February 2013
    it was a lovely sunday, I went to church in athens in the morning, than i went to acropolis and the museum and ate in a lovely retaurant in plaka and bough some souvenirs, unforgetable moments:)

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