Monday, May 21, 2012

Athens (Greece) - Hellenic Parliament and Evzones

5/21/2012 - We drove past, or through (not really sure as my photos are so blurry I can't display them here) the National Gardens of Athens.  It is a huge park in the middle of the city.  It is the green backdrop to most photos in the Athens posts.  At the northwest corner of the gardens stands a royal building.

This building is the Hellenic Parliament and is the parliament of Greece.  It is in the Old Royal Palace, overlooking Syntagma Square.  Students and other tourists are gathered here. (See Wikipedia for details)
 I found that the big draw in this area is because the Evzones of the Presidential Guard are guarding the Unknown Soldier.  The changing of the guard ceremony happens on a regular basis.  These guards are mostly ceremonial now, but have quite a reputation.  They are known for their fustanella, a kilt like garment, and their valor.  Read more about the Evzones here.  It is quite interesting.

Syntagma Square is an important place to the people.  Often used for social gatherings, it is also the scene of mass protests in 2010-2012.  I recognized the building when the recent protests were shown.  More info about Syntagma Square here.
 The other working guards were discretely present and keeping an eye on the events of the day.
 A woman on the platform to have her picture taken next to one of the evzones wearing a fustanella.  We didn't get off the bus (heck, the bus didn't even stop!) or I would have been in this photo, too.  Take a picture of me with the guards!!
 I looked on the other side of Syntagma Square and saw another set of guards, watching.
 This is on the north side of the building, on the left side of the building as we viewed it. The street next to Parliament was blocked.  Safety?  The building in the background, with the tall black windows, is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  Here is their website if you want a different perspective.
 This is the side walkway. You can see that there are barracades stacked, ready to go if needed.
 The next three photos are close-ups from the photo above. There is a statue, a round medal ornament (with blue spray paint graffiti), and a metal cap.  I cannot yet find what these are, but I am going to keep them here for you to see.  Perhaps someone will read the blog and identify these interesting items.

 This photo of the parliament building was taken later in the day when we drove past it again.  This gives you a better idea on the size of the former Old Royal Palace.

1 comment:

Ladee said...

While I was reading the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, I saw a report on the latest meeting with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (9/26/12)