As often in life, coincidence makes for a good companion on your journeys too. In Athens, he brought us to the right place at the right time, otherwise, we would have missed it – the change of the guard at Syntagma Square! Saturday around 10 am.
We walk across the Syntagma square towards “the old castle”. Actually, I just wanted to pass on my knowledge of the place to the rest of the family. The “place of the constitution” in Athens is a place so rich in history that one should take the time to appreciate it. It was here that revolutions and protest campaigns took place, state visits and mourning celebrations were held, and, when we were there, protest signs were featured all over. Unfortunately, I had to hold back my knowledge about all that at first because quite a view people had gathered in front of the building, all equipped with cameras. Our curiosity was greater than the urge to pass on knowledge, so in we went.
A good decision! In front of the Old Castle, today’s house of Parliament, The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is located. Here, every day at each hour, the Change of the Guard happens and we were just in time to see part of it.
Accompanied by one soldier, the guards, former royal bodyguards called the Evzones, were just about to perform their hourly procedure of handing over the responsibility to the next shift. They wore a great uniform, which immediately reminded me of the traditional Greece. The kilt-like garments have a long tradition and are handmade. They have 400 folds, which symbolise the 400-year occupation of the Turks. I especially liked the shoes. They have a black pompon on the top and the sole is fixed with 60 nails. With about 3 kg, this shoe is really heavy.
Two guards stand in front of the tomb on the Syntagma Square and change their position every 20 minutes. In between they stay perfectly still and motionless. Clearly, a lot of photos are shot here, but touching the guard is prohibited! Another soldier stands by watching over the Guards and ensuring their well-being. After the change of the guard, the guards walk back over the Syntagma Square to their quarters gracefully and in a very distinct manner. They never seem to stray from their route. On closer look, you discover their already discoloured track.
Platia Syndagmatos, „Platz der Verfassung“
Wax change times:
Every day at the hour Sunday: 11 am large change of guard