Athens: Free show; the changing of the guard

Posted in: Athens


The Changing of the Evzones

We like fancy costumes. Bonus if that costume has pompoms and tassels. Major bonus points if said costume requires a snazzy red hat.

So, it’s no secret then that we love to watch the changing of the Evzone Guard in Athens’ Syntagma Square. The elite Evzones make up an infantry unit stationed in Athens and meant to guard the presidential mansion and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Some people refer to them simply as the “Presidential Guard“.

Every Sunday at 11 a.m., the changing of the guard, considered by tourists and locals alike to be the best free show in Athens, kicks off (literally; check out those pompom’d feet!) at the camp of the Evzones behind Parliament and travels down Vasilissis Sofias Avenue before reaching the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. For a brief period, traffic is even blocked on Vasilissis Sofias Avenue so the Evzone guards can strut their stuff in safety.

The changing involves high kicks, military stunts, and stoic faces. Seriously. Evzones are trained to tune out the paparazzi-like tourists who beg to take their photo alongside them. If you really want your photo taken with one of them, stand in an orderly line just below the steps in Syntagma Square. Onlookers are allowed up one-at-a-time for photos opps.

And, here’s a fun fact: The Evzones wear shoes that are carefully hand-made from hard red leather. Each sole has up to 60 nails in it!

For more fun facts, check out this great post by a “bootsnall” user.

Join us again tomorrow, Cheapos, for another free tip. Next stop on our Grand Tour? Barcelona!


About the author

Meredith Franco Meyers

About the author: Meredith earned an MFA in fiction writing at The New School in New York City. Her feature stories and articles have appeared in Ladies' Home Journal, American Baby, Self, Bridal Guide, Time Out New York, Fitness and more. She joined EuroCheapo in summer 2007.

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