CHANGING OF THE GUARD – ATHENS
Who doesn’t love a man in a uniform?
What about a man in pom poms? I know I do.
The official (more extravagant) changing of the guards is held every Sunday at 11am in Syntagma Square. However, no need to fear if you’re not able to make it then. The guards change every hour so pop on down and have a little peek! (If only for the pom poms).
While you’re here, be sure to check out the National Garden too. It’s just down the road from Syntagma Square.
The square itself is situated in front of the Old Royal Palace which has housed the Greek Parliament since 1934. Pretty cool, huh?
The palace was designed by Bavarian architect Friedrich von Gartner for King Otto of Greece and sure is one to marvel.
Sadly I only snapped this corner of it (I know, what was I thinking) but let me tell you, it’s a grand beauty.
Not only has it been a palace for greek monarchs but it’s also served as hospital during WWll, a refugee shelter in 1922 and a museum.
True to european history, it’s also withstood a fire.
But back to the guards..
The Presidential Guard, previously known as the Evzones or Tsoliades, guard the Monument of the Unknown Soldier.
With each guard guarding the monument three times over the period of 48 hours. Ensuring they remain perfectly still and show no face or eye movement.
Which I imagine would be quite difficult when staring directly into that hot greek sun!
At the end of the hour they must then work in perfectly coordinated pairs, raising their arms and kicking their legs in a march.
As they’ve been so still for so long the march has to be very slow so that the guards blood circulation can slowly return back to normal. But in total I think it only goes for about 10 – 15 minutes.
The uniform worn by the soldiers above is brown as it’s summer but changes to blue in the winter.
However, if you go on a Sunday (at 11am) you’ll be sure to see different uniforms, along with a different march altogether. Something I seem to have missed both times I’ve been to Athens. But as I like to say.. It’s just another reason to go back!
After all, my favourite leather sandals are from Athens so it was only a matter of time before I needed to restock..