Twilight is the best time for exploring Gazi and Keramikos, for the area’s subtle charms fade under the glare of the noonday sun. The half-light of the late afternoon awakens a wanderlust deepened by the sight of the rusted railway lines on the industrial side of Ermou Street and for an instant, your thumb twitches to hitch a ride from one of the trucks trundling towards the city’s exit. In this dusky light, the ancient cemetery of Keramikos is one of the most beautiful spots in Athens.
Like Gazi, the Keramikos and its neighbouring Metaxourgio district come to life as darkness descends. Chinese discount shops and clothing wholesalers give way to more hedonistic pursuits—from cocktails and dancing to traces of the area’s legacy as the red light district. Alekos Fassianos’ The Myth of Neighbourhood installed in Metaxourgio metro station is a subtle nod to the area’s rebirth. Old warehouses have been transformed into cavernous clubs, cosy bars, experimental stages, and Michelin-starred restaurants that set the trends the rest of the city follows.