In our day, Plaka is considered the ancient part of Athens. It is located in the most central area of the city, and is considered one of the most famous tourist attractions Athens has to offer. Wandering in the neighborhood with the nickname "old Athens," is a must-see for any thorough tourists, and a visit to the past.
Plaka was born from an ancient neighborhood that was here in ancient times, and built on the foothills of the Acropolis. During the last century, it has gone downhill and become a neglected, poor, and failing area. Only its tavernas and its location under the Acropolis kept its status as a tourist destination. Tourists come here to wander around, eat and drink, and mainly spend the evening hours.
In the way of poor neighborhoods, that suddenly surprise and return with full force, the Plaka in Athens is also slowly evolving as a place vibrant with life, fashionable, and a wanted location by youths. Young people came for the cheaper living quarters, and changed the buildings' exteriors. Many houses were renovated in the past decades, and to the famous tavernas, many souvenir shops have opened up, and currently, it is a lively spot in the evenings and at night.
Many tourists come here to wander around, do some street shopping, sit at a cafe in the district and at the busy tavernas. Most of the streets in the district are meant for pedestrian traffic, and in the square are usually live performances to enjoy.
The Plaka neighborhood is a type of village within the city. Inside the maze of narrow alleyways, you can see beautiful buildings on both sides of the street, designed in the neo-classical style, many of the houses have red tiled roofs, and picturesque terraces full with growing flower pots.
One next to the other, the houses here are well tended, next to the ancient ruins and ancient archeological remains of ancient Greece.
The Greek style is also wonderful, and comes to life here. The special character here is set by the colored tables of the tavernas in the neighborhood, white and blue for the Greek flag, the blooming geraniums and bougainvillea, the yellow ancient stones, and colorful garlands that are turned on at night.
During the Greek independence war, many residents abandoned the Plaka, and returned only once a new Greek state was declared, under the King Otto.
At the end of the 19th century, many Albanians settled in the neighborhood, that were part of the community, which the new neighborhood's name was named after - the Arvanite Quarter.
In 1884, a fire burned many of the houses in Plaka, which started digs in the areas, and led to fascinating archeological discoveries, with ancient Roman buildings being discovered from ancient Athens.
In the 1960's, a Greek musical culture developed in the neighborhood, and in the 1970's, it became a center for bars and wild night clubs.
Today, the Plaka returns to its place as a tourist destination, that combines youths, adults, and the elderly, tavernas and cafes with middle working class customers. From almost any point here the Acropolis is visible, what in the past gave Plaka a nickname, "neighborhood of the gods."