Anafiotika | A Cycladic neighbourhood in the heart of Athens
If you were magically found in Anafiotika, you would not believe that you are in Athens. You would not have imagined that you were in a neighbourhood under the shadow of the Acropolis. You would feel like you were on an island somewhere in the Cyclades. Anafiotika, as evidenced by their name, is connected to the small island of Anafi, which is close to Santorini.
Anafiotika was formed during the reign of Otto and the reconstruction of the new capital, in the 1830s. Craftsmen and workers from the Cycladic Islands but mainly from Anafi arrived in Athens to work in the construction of Otto’s palaces. As a result, the neighbourhood on the northeast side of the Acropolis was built in the Cycladic style. In Anafiota, even today, the houses retain their Cycladic colour, with small white houses, courtyards facing the narrow streets full of pots and flowering bougainvillaeas, basil and braided vines.
Archaeology vs Traditional Culture
In Anafiotika, other islanders arrived later on, who, despite the town-planning ban, created an arbitrary settlement corresponding to the Islanders. Cycladic houses sprang up in every prominence of the “holy rock” of the Acropolis. Illegal installation in the archaeological zone has prompted reactions from the state authorities. Thus began the settlement demolition processes, leading in 1970 to tear down 20 houses. Although a few years later the site was expropriated, the inhabitants still remain there.
Today the settlement of Anafiotika counts 60 houses. Surprisingly 15 of them uses the Archaeological Service. The rest are inhabited by relatives of the first inhabitants and by squatters. A continuous fight of opinion continues for the fate of the area. No matter the opinions, its inhabitants and many others disagree, and a solution has not yet been found.
A painting canvas overlooking Athens
Anafiotika is like a painting canvas under the Acropolis hill. It is a unique oasis and an area of peace and serenity in the middle of “noisy Athens”.
There is a unique spot, perhaps the best one, located towards the end of the route. You will find whitewashed stairs leading to an elevated point in the area. The view is breathtaking. Despite the fact of the breathtaking view of Athens and Lycabettus, still, you feel like you are on a peaceful island somewhere in the South Aegean Sea. If you want to discover Anafiotika neighbourhood on a food tour, you can choose the Secret Athens Food Tour or the Sunday Athens Food Tour.
Finally, we will help you unlock the most beautiful secrets of the area through this special experience.