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Learn about the culture and history of Plaka, Monastiraki and Thissio

June 28, 2011 - 2:26am
The Acropolis
Travelers who are headed to Greece on their European vacation should make their way to Plaka, located in the heart of Athens. Because of the neighborhood's close vicinity to Monastiraki and Thissio, this area is one of the most historic and culturally pleasing districts in the capital city.

In Plaka, tourists will be able to finds sights like neoclassical 19th-century residences as well as Roman ruins. On the west end of the district is the Roman Agora, home to the Tower of the Winds, an octagonal structure that features a different deity on each of its sides. Also here is the Ancient Agora, which was ancient Athens' political and administrative hub and the location where the 5th-century Temple of Hephaestus stands. The 11th-century Agias Apostoli church, which is one of the city's oldest religious buildings, can also be found in this area.

After visiting the attractions in Plaka, tourists can make their way over to Monastiraki. This district boasts a cool bohemian atmosphere that is very popular with vacationers. It is also a prime location to pick up intriguing souvenirs, such as antiques, artwork, clothing and more. On Sundays, Monastiraki hosts the Flea Market of Athens, where guests will find everything from used goods to music, books, posters and everything in between.

Thissio is situated on the other side of Monastiraki, opposite of Plaka. Here, visitors will find the Kerameikos archaeological site, home to many funerary sculptures of the past. One of the most recent monuments that have been excavated here is Kouros, which is a 2.1-meter-tall sculpture that is purportedly the work of an ancient Greek vase painter known as Dipylon. It was discovered by the German Archaeological Institute at Athens.

Together, these districts create the border of the Acropolis, the ancient citadel that is one of Greece's' most iconic attractions. Standing high above Athens on a plateaued rock, those who visit the Acropolis will be able to tour the Parthenon Temple - devoted to Athena, goddess of wisdom, strength and female arts, among others - as well as the Erectheion, the Propylea and the Temple of Athena Nike. Vacationers can also check out the New Acropolis Museum, which opened in 2009 and offers insight into the rich and storied history of ancient Greece.