Greek ramblings
fokionos negri
Kypselli

Kypseli is an Athens neighbourhood about 30 minutes walk from Monistiraki. It's off the main road called Patission, which has the Archaeological museum in it as well as big park called Pedion Aeras.

To get to Kypseli you can take the metro to Victoria or Attiki and walk up, but the easiest way to find it is to get a number 9 trolley bus. This runs along the side of the National Gardens, across the top of Syntagma, through Omonia Square, past the Archaeological Museum and then up to Kypseli Square at the top of Fokionos Negri. Depending on traffic the journey from Syntagma to Kypseli Square is about 30 minutes.

road sign

The main attraction in Kypseli is Fokoinos Negri, the pedestrianised road at its centre. This is a long strip of grass, trees, seating areas, fountains and statues, surrounded on both sides by cafes, tavernas and shops. It's always lively and interesting, with people walking up and down, sitting in the cafes and tavernas or just taking the air on the park benches.

There is a very different feel to the centre of Athens, as this is an area with few tourists and a big local population going about its daily business. There are some great restaurants, good bakers, and lively local markets on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

fountain

This is an unusually ethnically mixed area, with a big African community, as well as Albanians, Poles, Russians and Ukranians. African groceries and hairdresses, Polish stores, and Ukranian restaurants are springing up all over the area.

There are a lot of little theatres in the area and some artists studios, giving the area a bit of a bohemian feel.

The old fruit and veg market was saved from demolition by the local community, who use it for community events and exhibitions, as well as an organic market on Saturday mornings.

Kypseli was once an affluent middle-class area, with grand houses and villas. You can still see some beautiful old houses like the one below.

kypselli house

A few have been very smartly done up, with all the old features picked out in different colours, but most of these are empty and in various state of decay. We think this is because there are now preservation orders on a lot of these old houses, so you can't knock them down, but they'd be massively expensive to renovate, and so moulder away.

There are also some interesting older, art noveau-ish style apartment blocks, with stylish doorways and stairways. What you'll be most aware of, however, are the hundreds of 60's apartment blocks, of which there are lots, as in most of Athens. Kypseli means 'beehive' in Greek, and it's apparently one of the most densely populated areas of the city.

apartment

In March 2011 we stayed in an apartment in Plateia Aghios Giorgiou, which is just a few minutes from Fokionos Negri. We rented this from Athens Apartments. It is in a great position looking out over the square (which is really a circle). This is a picture of it.

This area is a little neighbourhood in its own right. There are several tavernas, a bakers, a butchers, a green grocers, a general store, two cafes and a large church. With loud bells!

On sunny days the square is lively, with kids playing and people sitting in the sun outside the cafes and in the park in the centre of the square.

The apartment is very nice, in a big old building just above the cafe Allontina. It has high ceilings and wooden floors, and a curved balcony looking out over the square. It also comes with a big flat screen TV and internet access.

We found it a bit noisy at night, as the bedroom is right above the cafe and while the road isn't that busy you're aware of the traffic as the bedroom is right at the front of the building.