Odos Patission (Patission St.) is one of the main streets of Athens, reaching from the town center to the northern edge of the city, at the neighborhood of Patissia, hence its name. It is actually the continuation of Odos Aiolou (now partly pedestrianized) which starts from the foothills of the Acropolis, in the Plaka neighborhood, and progresses outwards.
|Police towing off illegaly parked motorbikes at the pedestrian part of Odos Aiolou.|
Greek local authorities have had a bad habit of renaming streets, purportedly “to honor” someone or something but most of the time for self-serving political reasons. Sometimes the “new”, official names stick, while in other cases the people continue to refer to the old, traditional names that everybody is used to. Patission St. is one such case. In the 1980s, the Athens city council took a decision to rename the first part of “Patission” (from Omonia Square and outwards, up to no. 200) to “Eikostis Ogdois Oktovriou” (“28th October”, the day Greece entered WWII, resisting an Italian invasion, which is a national holiday). However, nobody uses this name except for maps and hapless tourists :) If you ask an Athenian for directions to “28th October” Street you will probably get a blank stare!
So, for Athenians, Patission is considered to start near Omonia Square (officially as "28th October" St.), at the intersection with Odos Panepistimiou (aka "Odos Eleftheriou Venizelou" – another case of unfortunate renaming!).
Odos Patission is not in anyway an attraction in itself but it has a few things going for it: 1) Fairly large pavements, of variable width but still better than in most of Athens, which make it easily walkable and wheel-chair accessible, 2) The National Archeological Museum with its garden and 3) the chance to see a cultural cross-section of modern Athens, with its multitude of ethnicities, various architectural styles (or lack thereof…), and varied urban neighborhoods. Most of all, it is a live street, with mixed-uses that always has people walking along it, day or night.
The pictures in this post were shot on Monday, 2010-05-24, which, except for retail stores, was an official holiday (called Whit Monday or 'Monday of the Holy Spirit'), thus the low traffic.
|National Bank of Greece building, at the intersection of Panepistimiou St. and 1 Patission St.|
|Much wider than the typical Athens pavement|
|A private school entrance, at Patission 29|
At the corner of Ipeirou & Patission you will notice the recently renovated Livieratos Mansion, a 1909 building which was one of the first to break from the neoclassic architectural trend of modern Athens. More pics here.
The pedestrian odos Ainianos, at the corner with Patission. The neoclassical corner building houses the offices of the “Greek Workers Union” (a.k.a. Greek Union bosses...)
Up to this point Patission looks a bit shady. It has all the signs of an once great avenue that has gone downhill, even though it is bustling with people, esp. when shops are open. After the corner with Alexandras Ave. things get a little better and it's a long strip of retail stores - clothes and shoes mostly - with the recent addition of illegal, street-vendors. Police and local authorities turn a blind eye to their presence and local shopkeepers complain.
Corner of Odos Patission & Odos Heyden. Street vendors and people who have just come out of the Victoria Metro Station
One of the many kiosks found in the sidewalks of Greek towns, with a bus load of newspapers and magazines laid out in the steps of the adjacent building.
|Illegal street vendors|
|Buses and trolley buses going back and forth till late in the evening|
Starbucks fans will recognize a familiar sign, at the neoclassical building, at Patission 123, which also has a backyard with a nice shade. Starbucks coffee shops are among the few smoke-free places in Greece. Highly appreciated for that!
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