The Syntagma square is a central place in Athens, which is why it is so close to a great many attractions and famous neighbourhoods. It is also the centre of commercial business in Athens, which is why it is a place of historic, social and commercial importance.
The Old Royal Palace
Facing Syntagma square, you will see the old royal palace. This is where the current Greek government has its parliament. It was built in 1836, and is a neoclassical building that was the first royal palace of modern Greece. Parliament has only been in residence since 1929. It has also been a hospital, and suffered a massive fire in 1909.
The Water Fountain And Green Areas
To help stop the area looking stale and overly urban, they have created two green areas in the north and south of the area, and you will notice many trees dotted around the area. They also have a very large mid-19th century fountain.
It Is A Fun Place To See Greek Guards
You may see the changing of the guards if you get to the palace and the square at the right time. The whole area has a great vibe, and it feels safe. You may see the guards parade in front of the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The “Ballet” that is the changing of the guards is frequently referred to as the “thing” to see, but the location and architecture is also of importance and shouldn’t be ignored.
The People And The Location
You are not going to spend hours in the square because there isn’t a great deal to do, but it is worth seeing the changing of the guard, the royal palace, and the tomb of the unknown soldier. It is also a good place to see a variety of different Greek people, as well as a slew of different tourists from all over the world. Also, just like the British guards, the Greek guards have to stand there in blazing heat, freezing rain, and icy winds.
There Is Not Much Crime
Unlike other parts of Athens, you are not as likely to get your pocket picked in this area. Part of the reason is because there is a military presence and part of the reason is because people are in open spaces, which means even when they are milling around they are still a fair distance from each other. People that are not either going to/from work, or people that are not tourists are very obvious, which makes it an unfriendly place for thieves. The metro station and the two luxury hotels feel a little out of place, but it is not noticeable once you are in the square and looking at the royal palace.