Παρασκευή 12 Ιανουαρίου 2024

Plaka, Athens

The Pláka district is an original working-class neighborhood in Athens. This neighborhood is located near the foot north of the Acropolis. Today this is no longer a residential area, but a touristic and pleasant neighborhood. The neighborhood has an authentic appearance with colored houses and is full of nice streets, restaurants and bars. Due to its central location near the Acropolis, the district is also easy to reach.

Plaka is the oldest and most beautiful neighborhood in Athens. Clustered around the slopes of the Acropolis, it incorporates labyrinthine streets and neoclassical architecture. Plaka is built on top of the residential part of ancient Athens. It is referred to as the "Neighborhood of the Gods" because of its proximity to the Acropolis and many other archaeological sites. Part of the charm, however, are the secrets the oldest neighborhood of Athens hides in each of the paved alleys just waiting to be discovered on your Athens sightseeing tour of Plaka!
Plaka is the oldest and most beautiful neighborhood in Athens. Clustered around the slopes of the Acropolis, it incorporates labyrinthine streets and neoclassical architecture. Plaka is built on top of the residential part of ancient Athens. It is referred to as the "Neighborhood of the Gods" because of its proximity to the Acropolis and many other archaeological sites. Part of the charm, however, are the secrets the oldest neighborhood of Athens hides in each of the paved alleys just waiting to be discovered on your Athens sightseeing tour of Plaka!
There are many different versions of how Plaka got its name. One of them speaks of a large “plaque” found near the church of Agios Georgios Alexandreias. The predominant version speaks of the Arvanite origin of the word. In Arvanitika (a dialect of Albanian and Greek) the word “pliak” means “old”, so when the Arvanites who came to stay in the area in the 16th century called it “Pliak Athena”, meaning “old Athens”, and the name stuck across the neighborhood.
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 "Neighborhood of the Gods" due to its proximity to the Acropolis and its many archaeological sites.
Rooftops of traditional style houses in Plaka.
The toponym Plaka is first attested in the second half of the 17th century. Up until the era of Otto, it pertained only to the area around the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates (locals knew it as "Kandili 'lantern' of Demosthenes"] at least since 1460, or just as kandili); it was only after 1834 that the toponym's application gradually expanded to eventually include the entire area between today's Makrygianni Street and the Ancient Agora. 
Prior of that, the local Athenians referred to the area by various other names, such as Alikokkou, Kontito, Kandili, or by the names of the local churches In particular, Alikokkou was the name of the broader area of what is now Plaka, until the early 20th century, and was one of the divisions into which Athens was divided during the Ottoman era; the toponym Alikokkou derived from the surname of a family who was likely of Frankish origin, but had been Hellenized.

History
Plaka was developed mostly around the ruins of Ancient Agora of Athens. It is the oldest district of Athens and has been continuously inhabited from the neolithic to the present day. As a result, Plaka contains monuments form all periods of the city's history. Some of the streets, such as Adrianou and Tripodon, can be traced back to the ancient era. The population of Athens grew during the early 16th century, and the town experienced another urban development after the one which occurred in 1456, this time towards the north-east, again mainly by the settlement of Albanians who had moved in the region several years before the Ottoman arrival. 
After the Ottoman conquest, these settlements occurred in Attica in one wave after the Venetian loss of its Morean strongholds in 1540, and in another wave after a revolt in the Morea in 1570. The such created north-eastern district of Athens later became known as Plaka. During that period, Plaka was also the home of the Greek aristocratic Benizelos family, the family that Saint Philothei came from. In the mid-17th century, out of the eight main administrative units (platomata) in Athens, it appears Plaka was the least densely inhabited..
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 in 1826. The area was repopulated during the first years of the reign of Otto of Greece. Plaka had a sizable Albanian community till the late 19th century, and as a result it was the Albanian quarter of Athens. They had their own courts where they used the Albanian language. Their descendants nowadays have been assimiliated into the Greek nation in considerable numbers. This happened through Greek control over the education system. At the same period the neighborhood of Anafiotika, featuring traditional Cycladic architecture, was built by settlers from the Aegean island of Anafi.
Plaka assumed its present form in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Following Greek independence, the area grew rapidly. Plaka became inhabited by a mixed population, that included old Athenian families as well as an influx of newcomers, such as artisans, professionals, military personnel, and others. 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 the 19th century. Growth continued until World War 2. From the 1950s until the 1970s, Plaka experienced some degradation, as a result of the post-war construction boom, the increase in motor cars, and the tourist boom. In the 1980s, a comprehensive preservation plan was implemented, and the area improved rapidly. Nowadays Plaka is a major tourist destination.
Modern neighbourhood
Plaka is visited by hundreds of thousands of tourists around the year, and is under strict zoning and conservation regulations, as the only neighborhood in Athens where all utilities (water, power, cable television, telephone, internet, and sewage) lie underground in fully accessible, custom-made tunneling

Many movies of the Greek cinema were filmed in the area.