Street art in Athens by Alternative Tours of Athens

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Come on a street art tour of Athens, Greece
Come on a street art tour of Athens, Greece

**Updated SEP17**
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I knew Athens was a city with a lot of street art – but I wasn’t prepared for quite how much until Alternative Tours of Athens took Travel Bloggers Greece under their wing and hosted us on Sunday, 8th February 2015.  Representing Travel Bloggers Greece; myself, Table Salt and Passion for Greece were take on a comprehensive three hour tour of the neighbourhoods of Metaxourgeio and Gazi.

Reresentatives of Travel Bloggers Greece with our Alternative Tours of Athens guide.
Representatives of Travel Bloggers Greece with our Alternative Tours of Athens guide for our street art tour

Street art is a contentious form of ‘art.’  Many see it as graffiti and indeed, it cannot be denied that there is a lot of pointless defacing of already run down neoclassical buildings in Athens (no money for the upkeep of these beautiful houses).

Tagging

Graffiti originated in America, but was actually pioneered by a Greek living in Washington Heights – Takis Demetrakis.  In 1968, a lot of presidential campaigns were being stuck around the city, so Demetrakis thought ‘Why not me too?’  Any grafitti he drew was always ‘tagged’ with his signature.    More on the origins of tagging and grafitti can be read here.

So I guess it is hardly surprising that street art is prevalent in Athens, and the old saying that ‘everything originates from Greece (or the Greeks)’ can be true sometimes!

Metaxourgeio

We met our guide, Maria, outside the – unfortuantely now closed – Fashion House Hotel in Omonia Square.  Our street art tour started in the neighbourhood of Metaxourgeio.

First off, the Praying Hands located near Omonia Square on Pireos Street.

Praying Hands streetart in Pireos St, Athens
Praying Hands street art in Pireos St, Athens

A project overseen by Manolis Anastasakos in 2011, this 600 square metre work of art has been deliberately painted to  represent a message that the city, due to the crisis, is in the prayers of God, praying down to them.  He is praying at the inadequacies of a government to dispel the crisis.

As we wandered the side streets of Metaxourgeio, more and more street art popped up, along with the houses with a red light outside.  “Oh these houses look nice, can we take a peek?” I innocently said.  Er no, Maria our guide led me gently away.  They were brothels apparently.

It may look like a nice doorway - it is, in fact, an entry to a brothel! Streetart tour - Athens
It may look like a nice doorway – it is, in fact, an entry to a brothel! Street art tour – Athens

Works of art in this neighbourhood include Alexandros Vasmoulakis – who uses expressionistic and pop elements, De who uses stensils and makes art out of the letters D and E and Vangelis Hoursoglou – or Woozy – who started a support network for grafitti artists in Athens called Carpe Diem, whose aim was to provide a legal network for artists as well as a canvass.

Metaxourgeio street art in Athens, Greece
Metaxourgeio street art in Athens, Greece
Metaxourgeio Streetart - Athens. Maria, our guide, in action. By Dreyk the Pirate and Lints
Metaxourgeio Street art – Athens. Maria, our guide, in action. Art by Dreyk and Lints
Metaxourgeio Street art in Athens, Greece
Metaxourgeio Street art in Athens, Greece

Gazi

Gazi district - Athens
Gazi district – Athens

Next we had a look around the neighbourhood of Gazi.   Here you’ll find a whole host of art, and not just from Greek artists either.  International artists – i.e.: WD, or Wild Drawing from Bali have made their claim.

Take a look through the art in this neighbourhood:

Gazi street art in Athens, Greece
Gazi street art in Athens, Greece
Gaz streetart - depicting a famous Greek mathematician combined with Einstein.
Gazi street art – depicting a famous Greek mathematician combined with Einstein.
Street art by Achilles, a regular artist around Athens Gazi District, Greece
Street art by Achilles, a regular artist around Athens – Gazi

There’re so many more pictures I could share with you.  This is a great taster.  Why not take a street art tour when you’re next in Athens?  I’d highly recommend Alternative Tours of Athens – their knowledge is fantastic.  The also have other great tours on offer too.

Tips:

  • Wear comfortable trainers or walking shoes.  The tour takes three hours.
  • Bring a bottle of water
  • You will have a lot of names of artists given to you – so be sure to bring a notepad and pen

Travel Bloggers Greece were guests of Alternative Tours of Athens. A three hour walking tour costs €10 Euro per person, with a €30 Euro minimum before the tour will take place (i.e.: 3 people minimum). To learn more, visit their website.


Need ideas of where to stay when you come to Athens? Check out some great deals, as well as my Athens Hotel Reviews.

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Street Art Athens
Street Art Athens
Street Art in Athens
Street Art Athens
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6 COMMENTS

    • Thanks Ryan.

      If you ever get to visit this amazing city, I hope you’ll take one of these tours. You can’t help but notice the street art!
      In fact, I am wondering if I can ask someone to come and do a discrete design on my whitewashed back yard wall in my apartment – make it more interesting…

  1. I love street art! A lot of people don’t like it, but to me it’s simply an evolution of the cave paintings early humans created. We’ve always been painting on walls in some way or another 😉 Added to my Athens bucket list! Thanks for sharing Bex xoxo

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