Tourists and Athenian locals who seek to visit a less-crowded area near the Acropolis can pass through the picturesque Plateia Avissinias situated just beyond the busy Monastiraki metro stop heading south along Ermou Street. The square has historically been a mixing ground for residents of various ethnic and religious backgrounds, including Muslim and Jewish minorities, primarily because it served as a merchant trade center.
Today, the area is known for its collection of small shops called “palaiopoleia,” which sell vintage furniture, decorative items, clothing, jewelry, paintings, books, and other items from the past. As if taking a trip through the turn of the 21st century, visitors can peruse the vast antique collections and enjoy an alternative shopping experience. On Sundays, the square hosts a bazar in the open space outside the vintage shops where local merchants bring a greater variety of items for sale.
Visitors who want something more than a causal walk through the area can also catch an evening sunset view of the Acropolis from the rooftop of Loukoumi Vintage Bar, located in the center of the square. This cafe also doubles as a palaiopoleio itself, where customers can purchase the displayed jewelry, decorations, artwork, and even the tables and chairs, for a discount. Music lovers gather at Loukoumi to enjoy live performances with specialty coffee cocktails. At the corner of the square is Café Avissinia, another meeting point ideal for dinner and wine. This restaurant offers a welcoming dining experience with home-style recipes in a setting that reflects the antiquated feel of the square. Next time you find yourself in Monastiraki, take a turn south and you will discover another side of Athens.