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Kolonaki Square

Kolonaki Square (47)

If you look in the southwest area of the square, under the trees, you will discover an ancient column which has a lot to do with the name of the square. And the Athenians for years decided to popularly name it  Kolonaki Square (column, in Greek) instead of its official name, Plateía Filikis Etareías. But the famous column not only gives its name to the square, but also the entire neighbourhood.

This area will not fit in with any preconceptions you may have about Athens; a city of ruins, popular neighbourhoods, street stalls and decorative ceramics. The traditional Plaka or Monastiraki are far removed from the sophisticated atmosphere emanating every corner of this area. 

This is the heart of the fashion area of the Greek capital, where large international haute couture firms greet the traveller from from lavish window displays. Gucci, Ralph Lauren and Escada stand by prestigious Hellenic designers such as Parthenis and Aslanis. 

Art galleries and antique shops are also dotted around the square. 

In Kolonaki there are no souvenirs, but there are luxury goods. There are no folding maps for tourists, but there are next-generation mobile phones with GPS. 

On the terraces of the square, ladies dressed to the nines look are accompanied by their freshly-coiffed dogs. Entrepreneurs check their PDAs over coffee. Young people arrive in gleaming vehicles and chat about where they sailed on the weekend. And among them, on the terraces, there are always groups discussing Greek politics and solving the problems of the world.

If sweets are your downfall, get ready to enjoy, or suffer, if you are on a diet, because it is full of zacharoplasteía Kolonaki, the famous Greek bakeries. Sometimes these establishments seem to sell works of art more than sweet treats, as their counters are overloaded and seem to impose on neighbouring boutiques. 

It is worth going to this quiet plaza to discover that Athens is actually a several-sided coin. Or several currencies, as the case may be. Kolonaki, with its Parisian atmosphere, is a real treat for visitors.

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