In Athens, you stumble upon ancient history at every corner. Even when you're in a district that seems to have no trace of it, like the area surrounding Sepolia and Kolonos, two heavily residential neighbourhoods just west of the city centre.
In ancient times, Sepolia was home to the Great Olive Grove of Athens, counting more than 150,000 trees. And let’s not forget that Sophocles’ famed tragic play Oedipus of Colonus unfolds in Kolonos. Until the 1960s, Kolonos was a rural region, adorned by the river of Cephissus (or Kifisos) and dotted with farms and olive trees. The two neighbourhoods as we see them today came of age during the 1960s and 70s when there was a surge of people moving to the capital for work. Part of this population settled in Kolonos and Sepolia to be close to the central railway station in the area.
Nowadays, just a few metro stops from Syntagma Square, Sepolia and Kolonos are home to a blend of locals and immigrants while still preserving some of their old Athenian charm; local stores shut down for siesta, curtains sneak through open windows in the breeze, kids run through streets and cycle through parks. Meanwhile, theatres, green spaces, archaeological sites and art spaces in forgotten spots are being revamped as the area begins to make its mark on modern history.