04 June, 2009

Nostalgic Athens

Comparing to other European capitals, Athens does not have shining beauty that one can perceive on the first look. At least, it was my first impression of Athens, when I visited here more than 10 years ago. Look Rome or Paris, or even London or Lisbon, it is difficult not to be impressed by the beauty and the historical and cultural heritage they possess. There is no or little orderliness or cleanliness of German or North European capitals, either.

In Athens, Acropolis is beautiful and the Parliament building is orderly and impressive, but other parts are characterised more by ugly building of 60's and 70's or older buildings heavily in ruin. Even Plaka, relatively well preserved area, is so full of kitsch souvenir shops and ripping-off tourist restaurants, might disappoint the visitors.

But, on the second and third look, Athens has its own charm; something between Oriental and European, something old and new, something kitsch and chic. It is not that striking beauty of Paris or Rome, but it is a beauty of its kind.

One of its charm is the sense of nostalgia. Neo-classic buildings in ruin or in semi-ruin, ivy, narrow streets.

Shops that have everything and anything of their speciality. This shop below sells mirrors and glasses (it looks in ruin, but is alive and open).

Entrance mat shop, with all merchandise on display.

This shop sells all the small things made from metal. These are devices to catch creatures in water.

Old style mouse catchers of the kind I have only seen in animated cartoon, Tom & Jerry.

In Greece, also these metal things are still made by hand.

All these photos are shop near Monastiraki Square, very central Athens. All is very confused, but I started to appreciate the beauty in it.

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