Anafiotika – A Touch of the Aegean
Anafiotika is the most magical part of Athens; it is indeed an island situated just below the Acropolis, a place that links the Greek history and culture of the past with that of the present. It is situated at the point where Plaka approaches the Acropolis on its north-east slope and is a settlement of whitewashed houses built into the rock of the Acropolis hill in a Cycladic style. This place was initially built by migrant workers from the island of Anafi who came to the Greek capital in 1840 to find work on the excavations of the various archaeological sites around the Acropolis. Being very experienced builders, they had little trouble constructing their new houses below the Parthenon, taking advantage of every nook and cranny of the steep hillside and using stones that had rolled down from the sacred rock. Today, this settlement is made up of 60 houses which make you think you are actually on the island of Anafi, with its narrow streets, its small whitewashed houses with their courtyards filled with pots of basil and all kinds of flowers. Twenty houses in this area were demolished around 1970. Later, the whole area was reclaimed by the state, though some people continue to live there, standing guard over their homes as if to symbolise the long history of the Greek people.
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The Metochi of the Panagios Taphos (the Monastery of the Holy Sepulchre) (18 Erechtheos St.) belongs to the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. It is a church characteristic of the Ottoman period which was built at the beginning of the 17th century and is dedicated to the Agioi Anargyroi. The church plays a prominent role in the Easter celebrations, as it is where the Holy Light first arrives from Jerusalem on the evening of Holy Saturday. You may also want to visit Aghios Nikolaos Ragavas (Stravonos Street), an 11th century church that is considered one of the most important Byzantine monuments of the city and which offers a panoramic view of Athens and Lycabettus Hill.