At the top of the city's main square stands the Greek Parliament, formerly King Otto's (Othon's in Greek) royal palace, completed in 1838 for the new monarchy. It seems a bit austere and heavy for a southern landscape, but it was proof of progress, the symbol of the new ruling power. The building's saving grace is the stone's magical change of color from off-white to gold to rosy mauve as the day progresses. Here you can watch the Changing of the Evzones Guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier —in front of Parliament on a lower level—which takes place at intervals throughout the day. On a wall behind the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the bas-relief of a dying soldier is modeled after a sculpture on the Temple of Aphaia in Aegina; the text is from the funeral oration said to have been given by Pericles. In recent years the square has become the new frontline of mass protests against harsh austerity measures and the ongoing economic crisis in Greece, as well as
the base for the citizen movement of the "Indignants."
Pop into the gleaming Syntagma metro station to examine artfully displayed artifacts uncovered during subway excavations. A floor-to-ceiling cross section of earth behind glass shows finds in chronological layers, ranging from a skeleton in its ancient grave to traces of the 4th-century BC road to Mesogeia to an Ottoman cistern. The 21st century arrived here in 2006 when the first public wireless network with free access to the Internet was set up in Syntagma Square. (Note that this station is the first one to shut its doors for security reasons when a demonstration takes place outside in Syntagma Square.)
Vasilissis Amalias and Vasilissis Sofias, Athens, 10558, Greece