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With a history that goes back for millennia, Athens is a city that has seen countless changes over the course of time. But there’s one thing that has remained the same for centuries; the name of Tripodon street in the historic center of the city in the Plaka neighborhood.
Tripodon holds the Guinness World Record as the oldest street in Athens and in whole Europe and has remarkably kept the same name for almost 25 centuries.
Here’s all you need to know before visiting the world-famous Tripodon street.
The Name and Importance of Tripodon Street
In the times of ancient Greece, Tripodon street was used to connect the Ancient Agora of Athens with the Theater of Dionysus. That’s the reason why it was widely known as the “street of theater and fine arts” among locals.
History books suggest that Tripodon was by far the most beautiful and decorated street in ancient Athens.
Just imagine walking this 800-meter long and 6-meter wide street alongside Pericles or Aristotle on the way to catch a play at the crowded theater.
For ancient Athens, this was the equivalent of the Hollywood boulevard.
But that’s not the only reason why it left its mark on the city.
Tripodon street got its name from the bronze tripods that were placed on both sides of the road.
These tripods were funded by the sponsors as prizes for the victorious theatrical and musical performances, which took place at the theater of Dionysus.
You can still see an ancient tripod today, maintained in excellent condition in Lysikrates square.
The Monument of Lysicrates
The Lysicrates monument (also known as the “Diogenes Lantern”) is the best-preserved choragic monument in Athens.
The name ‘choragic’ means that it was a monument funded by a sponsor.
At the time, it was very common for sponsors (who were usually wealthy Athenians) to undertake the costs of performances that the state could not cover.
According to the custom, when a sponsored performance won an award, sponsors would raise monuments on Tripodon street as a tribute to their victory.
In this case, it was Lysicrates who commissioned the monument to celebrate an award-winning play in 334 BC.
The monument of Lysicrates is a round statue standing on a square podium, famous for being the first ancient monument to feature Corinthian style design.
Several centuries later, in 1669, a group of Capuchin monks who had found a home in a nearby monastery, purchased the monument from an Ottoman resident.
At the turn of the 19th century, Lord Elgin attempted to buy the monument from the monks but his offer was turned down.
It wasn’t until after the Greek War of Independence in 1821 ended that the monument finally became property of the Greek state.
Today, the monument of Lysicrates stands tall amidst a colorful garden on Lysikratous Square, attracting hundreds of visitors every year.
Points of Interest on the Oldest Street of Athens
Below you will read about some places you can find on Tripodon Street that are definitely worth a second look.
School Life and Education Museum
Even though it’s not one of the best-known museums in Athens, the School Life and Education Museum is worth spending a few minutes of your time when visiting Tripodon Street.
Its collections feature all kinds of school material including old books, documents, photos, and manuscripts to narrate the long history of the school system in Greece.
Opening hours: Weekdays from 10 am to 5 pm, Weekends from 11 am to 5 pm.
Address: Tripodon 23, 10558, Athens
Phone: 0030 2103250341
Located at the corner of Tripodon and Flessa street, Cafe Plaka is a charming cafe that serves coffee, pastries, and snacks with a few tables laid out on the side of the street as well as a small terrace where you can grab a refreshing beverage before continuing to explore the streets of Plaka.
Opening hours: Every day from 9 am to 1 am after midnight. Mondays from 9 am to 11 pm.
Address: Tripodon 1, 10558, Athens
Restaurant Scholarchio is a traditional tavern (or “ouzeri”) located in the middle of Tripodon street. What makes Scholarchio special is that they still do things the “old” way.
This means that once you’re seated, a waiter will come by holding a large tray with all kinds of dishes including starters, salads, meat or fish dishes, and typical Greek “mezedes”.
After explaining what all of those are, you are free to choose as many as you like. Prices range between €3 and €8 per dish.
Opening hours: Everyday from 11am to midnight.
Address: Tripodon 14, 10558, Athens
Phone: 0030 2103247605
Al Hammam Traditional Baths
Bringing an exotic touch to Tripodon street, the Al Hammam traditional baths are a great place to unwind and relax after a full day of sightseeing.
They offer hamam, wellness, and spa treatments and massages with natural organic products as well as manicure and pedicure services.
We recommend walking there from Syntagma Square so that you can also enjoy a stroll and some window shopping around the streets of Plaka.
Getting to Tripodon from Syntagma on foot would take less than 15 minutes.
Alternatively, you can reach it by metro via the Acropolis metro station (red line) that is located about 5 minutes away.
All in all, what better way to get acquainted with a city that boasts such a long history than to visit its oldest street? Just walk down Tripodon street and get ready to immerse yourself in a world of fine arts, culture, and eternal glory.
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