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Plaka is the old town of Athens with its neoclassical and island architecture.

  1. Modern and Contemporary era (1821 - )

    In the decades 1960-1980 Plaka declined due to excessive inflow of tourists and degradation. Based on project, noisy nightclubs and billboards were removed and pedestrian roads were created. Today, it is re-inhabited again and the property prices are too high.

  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

Plaka is the oldest district in the city, built on the foothills of the Acropolis. It encompasses a wide range of architectural styles, the most prominent one being a popular version of classicism. There are also some buildings from the Byzantine and Ottoman periods and the time of King Otto as well as a few examples of eclecticism and even fewer modernist ones. The dominant element in most Plaka houses is its Athenian-type indoor courtyards. Plaka is also famous for its taverns, where one can sample Greek cuisine and traditional beverages, while listening to live Greek music. The area offers mostly mild entertainment options and the chance to escape from the city in its picturesque alleys.

What I can't see

The name “Plaka” was first recorded in the 16th century and referred to the area around the Lysikrates monument. There are three accounts about the origin of the name: the first one attributes it to the existence of a large white plate (=plaka) at the junction of Thespidos, Adrianou and Tripodon Streets; the second links it to the planar form of the soil; a third account links the name to the Arvanite (Albanian) word “plak” which means “old” and was used to describe the old town. The last version is the dominant one, since Albanians arrived in the area in the 16th century. When Athens became the capital of Greece, Plaka was the city’s heart. Building restrictions were implemented to protect its antiquities but were not able to halt its expansion and the many planning violations. During the first years of the Greek kingdom, it was a favourite “destination” of antiquities smugglers. Until the 1970s, there was a discussion about demolishing Plaka to excavate the entire ancient city below. This debate continues today, albeit unofficially, but the issue of changing the decision to preserve Plaka is no longer raised. The district is also associated with the urban myth of Uncle John the jug maker, the first performances of the “corruptor” Karagiozis, among other Shadow Theatre characters, its annual carnival festivities and the game of stone throwing that used to be played here on Sundays, in the old days.


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

Makrogianni M., (1995), Ματιές στην Αθήνα που έφυγε, [Glances at Athens that is gone], v.1. Filippoti

Filippidis D., (2003), Νεοκλασική αρχιτεκτονική, ένα μέλλον για το παρελθόν μας, [Neoclassical architecture, future for our past], in Ιστορία του νέου ελληνισμού, 1770-2000, [History of modern Hellenism], Ellinika Grammata, v.4, p.p. 131-148