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Monastiraki square

What makes Monastiraki Square unique is that by making 360 degree turns, one can witness all the phases of architecture in Greece.

  1. Modern and Contemporary era (1821 - )

    2008 The most recent restructuring.

  2. Ottoman era (1453- 1821)

  3. Byzantine era (331 AC- 1453)

  4. Roman era (30 BC- 330 AC)

  5. Hellenistic era (322- 31 BC)

  6. Classical era (478-323 BC)

  7. Archaic era (800-479 BC)

  8. Geometric era (-1100- 800 BC)

  9. Prehistory (-1100 BC)

What I can see

Monastiraki Square is one of the few squares in Athens that have been laid out uninterrupted by greenery. Its plateau remains full of life during most of the day and evening hours. What makes it unique is that by making 360 degree turns, one can witness all the periods in Greece’s architecture: Classical Greece in the Acropolis, the Roman period in the Library of Hadrian, the Byzantine/Ottoman period in the Pantanassa church, the Ottoman period in the Tzistarakis Mosque, the Neoclassicism of the metro station, Modernism on the corner of Ifaistou Street and Postmodernism on the corner of Ermou Street as well as inside the square. The design of the recent redevelopment bears symbolisms of the city. The pebbles symbolize its diverse population, the wooden benches on Ermou Street symbolize the hills of Athens, while the tin-plate construction of the Metro ventilation system symbolizes the urban environment. If one looks at the square from above, one can see that the pebbles create the illusion of flow, a symbol of the river Eridanus that runs underneath the square, a small part of its riverbed still visible. According to a recent hydrogeological study however, this may not be the Eridanus River but instead, the stream of Kessariani.

What I can't see

The biggest part of the square was once the courtyard of the monastery of Pantanassa and the buildings that surrounded it. During the Ottoman period there was a fountain from which water was constantly running and seats for the Agas chiefs, all of them gifts from the voevod Tzistarakis. The square was known by more than one name including “Hadrian’s Square” (due to its proximity to the Library of Hadrian), “Old Barracks” (during Otto’s reign), “Wagon Square” and “On Flatbed”. The popularity of the square is not a recent phenomenon. The square has always been a pole of attraction for itinerants, acrobats, magicians, and more.


  • Address: Ermou and Athinas St.


Yohalas T., Kafetzaki Τ., (2013), Αθήνα, Ιχνηλατώντας την πόλη με οδηγό την ιστορία και τη λογοτεχνία [Athens, Tracing the city guided by history and literature], ESTIA Bookstore


Scientific editors’ field observation


Kontarou- Rassia N., (2013), Ο Ηριδανός τρέχει στην Καισαριανή, [Eridanus flows in Kessariani],

Last visit 16/2/2015


Melampianaki E. (2006), Οι πλατείες της Αθήνας 1834-1945, διαδικασία διαμόρφωσης, λειτουργία- πολεοδομική σημασία, [The squares of Athens 1834-1945, formation process- functionality- urban design importance], NTUA, Ph.D.