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The new Omonia Square


Omonia Square


Plans for the creation of a square where Omonia stands today began in 1833, under renowned architects Cleanthis and Schaubert, at the time designing the first town-planning map for the capital of modern Greece. The choice of location for the palace construction, quickly transformed Syntagma into the city's grandest square and a small roundabout was created to mark the city's commercial district around Omonia. The square was originally to be named after King Otto and host his statue but after the monarch's ousting in 1862, its character became populist, a symbol of class struggle, which earned it its current name "Omonia" meaning "unity".

Old OmoniaIn 1888, a subway terminal was constructed and a train station was built close to the grand hotels facing the square. The station opened in 1895 and in 1905 the first electric-powered trams passed through Omonia. As Athens grew, the square became circular, a hub connecting some of the capital's busiest commercial streets. The pedestrian area was further limited in the 1960s when more road lanes were created and a fountain was added in the middle.

Throughout most of the 1990s Omonia was fenced in by scaffolding as construction work for the Athens metro took centre stage. Questions over Omonia's functional and aesthetic role in the modern capital resurfaced following the network's completion in spring 2000.

Omonia is the oldest square of modern Athens. The square is the starting point for roads leading to different parts of the city, all with their own different character. It therefore is not a surprise that Omonia is one of the standard points of reference and orientation in Athens.

Omonia SquareOmonia today Location map has taken on a more modern aspect. Department stores, renovated hotels and sophisticated neoclassical building facades have breathed new life into it. The latest renewal of the oldest square in Athens, now is under review following howls of protest for its total lack of imagination and atmosphere as architects turned the square into a concrete surface, a concrete wall and a metal sculpture.

Unfortunately, drug dealers, junkies and prostitutes take over the square and the nearby small streets to the north and west at night. The endless activity on Omonia Square never ceases. Kiosks that stay open overnight, stalls of newspapers and magazines, night owls looking for a quick bite make sure the square never loses its character.

Nearest metro stationOmonia Top



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