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Ancient Roman Ruins in Plaka Marketplace - Athens, Greece
Ancient Roman Ruins in Plaka Marketplace - Athens, Greece

Deep in the heart of Plaka, ancient Greek marketplace of Athens, I ran across this vestige of Greece's heralded history. A Roman structure of unknown date lay unearthed - in fact, beneath street level - for all to see.

One of the aspects of history that had previously escaped my notice, was how far UP we've gone since ancient times. These columns, battered, broken, but still proud, climb up out of history to remind us of our past. At least four to five feet below street level, how much history is yet left to be uncovered?

The Romans were fearsome and brutal. But they were also exact and proficient in the art of architecture. What might remain standing of our modern works a thousand years from now, let alone, two thousand, I ask you?

Plaka is the ancient market of Athens. Here, in Hadrian's day, the Neighborhood of the Gods, a Roman market existed and also hosted Hadrian’s library. All lost in the ebb and flow of time, reminders of Roman Rule persist, such as this.

The Romans were not the first to trade here, however. Historians tell us that a marketplace has always been here, tucked under the shadow of the Acropolis, and many other of Greece's historic sites.

How wonderful that the give and take of commerce has flourished here in these streets since the days of the founding of Greece's capital city.

Welcome to Plaka
Welcome to Plaka

Wedged between Syntagma and Monastoraki Square, Adrianou Street dominates the Plaka. The marketplace bleeds out into a rambling labyrinth of streets dominated by small street stalls purloining trinkets and souvenirs and restaurants and bars of all persuasions.

Street Stalls
Street Stalls

Lined with pavers and assorted stones, the Plaka lives on in a myriad of winding streets, aged and twisted by time. Some of the streets are modern and toned, but many show the stress of Greek tragedy that the economic challenge of this ancient Republic endures.

Here, cherry blossoms and orange trees outside a Greek Orthodox Church welcome the spring to this Mediterranean country.

Could a new spring be in store for Greece? Since the austerity imposed upon it by the European Union, the country has struggled to contain unemployment and its associated misery. The people work hard, plying their trades in streets forged by centuries. Will Greece flower again?