What do you think of when you hear the name “Athens”? Do you picture world-famous monuments like the Temple of Olympian Zeus or the Parthenon? Did you know that there’s more to this city than meets the eye?
For example, the scenic tiny neighborhood of Anafiotika is one of the lesser-known, but still very meaningful, tourist attractions downtown Athens has to offer.
Lying within the historical neighborhood of Plaka, on the northeast side of the Acropolis hill, this quaint residential neighborhood doesn’t contain the same tourist trappings as other places in Athens, which makes it all the more special and worth the visit. Those who deign to check it out will get a true taste of what everyday life is like for Greek locals.
Unlike many of the tourist hot spots in Greece, Anafiotika is a relatively new destination. Anafiotika was constructed in the 19th century in response to Greece’s freedom from the Ottoman Empire. King Otto chose to revamp Athens and turn it into a more modern capital.
To help him achieve his goal, King Otto brought masons and carpenters from nearby places, including Anafi, a small island on the southeastern side of the Cyclades, and these builders settled on the hill below the Acropolis. They referred to their settling place as “Anafiotika” in remembrance of their homeland.
The modern-day Anafiotika looks quite different from the Anafiotika of yore. Part of the neighborhood was destroyed back in the 1950s by archaeologists who were researching the area.
Today, only about 60 houses remain. They are worth visiting, though, especially for those who want to see remnants of traditional Cycladic architecture, which includes white cubic homes and flat roofs, as well as colorful doors and shutters.