The heart of modern Greece beats in the historic centre of Athens—but contrary to what you’d think, it has little to do with ancient ruins.

Shopping, Politics & Grand Designs

Most visitors would imagine the Acropolis to be the ‘historic centre’ of Athens. But just as classical Greek society centred on politics and trade, so does modern Greece. Commerce remains anchored in the triangle formed by Syntagma, Omonia, and Monastiraki Squares—the city’s ‘historic triangle’ that contains both the banking institutions that are the economy’s backbone and the one-man enterprises that represent its psyche. Politics is also firmly rooted here: Parliament overlooks the city’s largest public square and many key ministries such as Finance and Foreign Affairs are located here. It is not quite the ‘navel of the earth’ like Delphi, but it is certainly where a place where the decisions made reverberate throughout Greece.

The sun sets on Syntagma.

Photo: Thomas Gravanis

Syntagma

Shopping on Ermou & Aiolou

These pedestrian streets are some of the best for shopping.

Photo: Manos Chatzikonstantis

Whether or not you have to pick up groceries, the Varvakios Market is worth a wander.

Photo: Manos Chatzikonstantis

Varvakios Market

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

This is one of the city’s most-photographed landmarks.

Photo: Thomas Gravanis

The Academy of Athens sits alongside the University and the Library, and all are architectural beauties.

Photo: Thomas Gravanis

The Neoclassical Triad

The University of Athens.

Photo: Thomas Gravanis