Pláka (Greek: Πλάκα) is the old historical neighborhood of Athens, clustered around the northern and eastern slopes of the Acropolis, and incorporating labyrinthine streets and neoclassical architecture. Plaka is built on top of the residential areas of the ancient town of Athens. It is known as the "Neighbourhood of the Gods" due to its proximity to the Acropolis and its many archaeological sites.[15][16]

The name "Plaka" was not in use until after the Greek War of Independence. Instead, the Athenians of that time referred to the area by various names such as Alikokou, Kontito, Kandili, or by the names of the local churches.[17] The name Plaka became commonly in use in the first years of the rule of King Otto. The origin of the name is uncertain: it has been theorized to come from Arvanite "Pliak Athena", meaning "Old Athens",[18] or from the presence of a "plaque" which once marked its central intersection.[19][20]


Plaka is on the northeast slope of Acropolis, between Syntagma and Monastiraki square. Adrianou Street (running north and south) is the largest and most central street in Plaka and divides it into two areas: the upper level, - Ano Plaka - located right under the Acropolis and the lower level - Kato Plaka - situated between Syntagma and Monastiraki.


Plaka was developed mostly around the ruins of Ancient Agora of Athens in an area that has been continuously inhabited since antiquity. During the years of Ottoman rule, Plaka was the known as the "Turkish quarter of Athens",[21] and the seat of the Turkish Voevode (Governor). During the Greek War of Independence, Plaka like the rest of Athens, was temporarily abandoned by its inhabitants because of the severe battles that took place mostly in 1826. The area was repopulated during the first years of King Otto's rule. Plaka had a sizable Arvanite community till the late 19th century, which lead some to refer to it as the Albanian (Arvanite) quarter of Athens[22] .[23][24] At the same period the neighborhood of Anafiotika, featuring traditional Cycladic architecture, was built by settlers from the Aegean island of Anafi.[25]

In 1884 a fire burned down a large part of the neighborhood which gave the opportunity for the archaeologists to conduct excavations in the Roman Market and Hadrian's library. Excavations have been taking place continuously since 19th century.

Modern neighbourhood

Plaka is visited by hundreds of thousands of tourists around the year, and is under strict zoning and conservation regulations, being the only neighborhood in Athens where all utilities (water, power, cable television, telephone, internet, and sewage) lie underground in fully accessible, custom-made tunneling. Motor vehicles are not allowed in Plaka, and most streets are too narrow, thus not being able to accommodate them anyway.

Museums in Plaka include the new Jewish Museum of Greece, the Museum of Greek Folk Art, an annex of which is the Old Public Baths building, the Frissiras Museum, the Museum of Popular Music Instruments, the Museum of Pavlos and Alexandra Kanellopoulou and the Athens University Museum. Excavations have proven that Adrianou Street is the oldest street in Athens still in continuous use with exactly the same layout since antiquity

Athens Greece

Modern Greek: Αθήνα, Athína, Katharevousa: Athine, Ancient Greek: Athēnai

  • Location: Athens is located in Greece
  • Coordinates: 37°58′N 23°43′E
  • Country: Greece
  • Region: Attica
  • Regional unit: Central Athens
  • Districts: 7
  • Mayor: Giorgos Kaminis (PASOK) (since: 29 December 2010)
  • Population statistics (as of 2011)
  • Urban
  • Population: 3,074,160
    Area: 412 km2 (159 sq mi)
    Density: 7,462 /km2 (19,325 /sq mi)
  • Metropolitan
  • Population: 3,737,550
    Area: 2,928.717 km2 (1,131 sq mi)
    Density: 1,276 /km2 (3,305 /sq mi)
  • Municipality
  • Population: 655,780
    Area: 38.964 km2 (15 sq mi)
    Density: 16,830 /km2 (43,591 /sq mi)
  • Time zone: EET/EEST (UTC+2/3)
  • Elevation (min-max): 70 - 338 m ­(230 - 1109 ft)
  • Postal: 10x xx, 11x xx, 120 xx
  • Telephone: 21
  • Auto: Yxx, Zxx, Ixx (excluding ZAx and INx)
  • Website:

Athens is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica periphery and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state. A centre for the arts, learning and philosophy, home of Plato's Academy and Aristotle's Lyceum,[2][3] it is widely referred to as the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy,[4][5] largely due to the impact of its cultural and political achievements during the 5th and 4th centuries BC on the rest of the then known European continent.[6] Today a cosmopolitan metropolis, modern Athens is central to economic, financial, industrial, political and cultural life in Greece and it is rated as an Alpha world city.[7] In 2008, Athens was ranked the world's 32nd richest city by purchasing power[8] and the 25th most expensive[9] in a UBS study.


The Greek capital has a population of 655,780[10] (796,442 back in 2004)[11] within its administrative limits and a land area of 39 km2 (15 sq mi).[12] The urban area of Athens (Greater Athens and Greater Piraeus) extends beyond the administrative municipal city limits, with a population of 3,074,160 (in 2011),[13] over an area of 412 km2 (159 sq mi).[12] According to Eurostat, the Athens Larger Urban Zone (LUZ) is the 7th most populous LUZ in the European Union (the 4th most populous capital city of the EU) with a population of 4,013,368 (in 2004).

The heritage of the classical era is still evident in the city, represented by a number of ancient monuments and works of art, the most famous of all being the Parthenon, widely considered a key landmark of early Western civilization. The city also retains a vast variety of Roman and Byzantine monuments, as well as a smaller number of remaining Ottoman monuments projecting the city's long history across the centuries. Athens is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Acropolis of Athens and the medieval Daphni Monastery. Landmarks of the modern era, dating back to the establishment of Athens as the capital of the independent Greek state in 1833, include the Hellenic Parliament (19th century) and the Athens Trilogy consisting of the National Library of Greece, the Athens University and the Academy of Athens. Athens was the host city of the first modern-day Olympic Games in 1896, and 108 years later it welcomed home the 2004 Summer Olympics.[14] Athens is home to the National Archeological Museum, featuring the world's largest collection of ancient Greek antiquities, as well as the new Acropolis Museum.


  1. Wells, John C. (1990). Longman pronunciation dictionary. Harlow, England: Longman. p. 48. ISBN 0582053838. entry "Athens"
  2. "Contents and Principles of the Programme of Unification of the Archaeological Sites of Athens". Hellenic Ministry of Culture.
  3. CNN & Associated Press (16 January 1997). "Greece uncovers 'holy grail' of Greek archeology". Archived from the original on 6 December 2007.
  4. "Ancient Greek Athenai, historic city and capital of Greece. Many of classical civilization's intellectual and artistic ideas originated there, and the city is generally considered to be the birthplace of Western civilization"
  5. BBC History on Greek Democracy – Accessed on 26 January 2007
  6. Encarta: Ancient Greece[dead link] – Retrieved on 26 January 2007. Archived 2009-10-31.
  7. "The World According to GaWC 2008". Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network (GaWC) based at the geography department of Loughborough University. 2008.
  8. "City Mayors: World's richest cities by purchasing power". City Mayors. 2008. Retrieved 12 May 2008.
  9. "City Mayors: Cost of living – The world's most expensive cities". City Mayors. 2008.
  10. Hellenic Statistical Authority " PRESS RELEASE:Publication of provisional results of the 2011 Population Census", Hellenic Statistical Authority (EL.STAT.), July 22, 2011, accessed August 14, 2011.
  11. Athens Facts (2011). "Athens Facts & Figures".
  12. "Characteristics". Hellenic Interior Ministry. Archived from the original on 4 January 2007.
  13. "ΕΛΣΤΑΤ Απογραφη 2011".
  14. CNN & Sports Illustrated (5 September 1997). "Sentiment a factor as Athens gets 2004 Olympics".

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 Plaka, Athens, Greece Map

This webpage was updated 27th January 2020