Our neighbourhood

Our neighbourhood

Our guest house lies in the border between Thiseio and Ano Petralona. Ano Petralona means neighbourhood… it’s from this neighbourhood with its low houses, which mainly contained the dreams of refugees coming to live here after the Asia Minor Catastrophe, that inspired us and gave our guest house the name ATHENIAN YARD.

   The district of Ano Petralona took its name from the big stone threshing floors (called “αλώνια” or “alónia” in Greek) that used to exist there and were used by the residents to thresh their grain harvests. The part of the district that’s west of the metro lines used to be called katsikadika (“a place where there are goats”) from the goat herders that frequented it, which wandered the roads with their goats and gave milk to the residents. This name was kept until February 23, 1925, since on that date a law forbade the herding of goats inside the city and the goat herders started to withdraw to the more rural areas. The area then took on its current name.

This poor neighbourhood of the past has today been evolved in the most alternative district of Athens, a pole of attraction that’s respected by the younger people, who choose it for their stay and entertainment. With the central nucleus being the Merkuri square and the area around the Troon and Dimofontos streets, many Athenians chose to move somewhere nearby and even more visit it daily for food, drinks, or just to take a walk in its beautiful little streets. The old single-story houses and the numerous two-story houses give a sense of a “village” while the attempts of its residents to keep the character of the area unchanged throughout the years is famous. That’s why Ano Petralona have this enchanting feeling that, despite being very near the centre of Athens, there’s still the ability to enjoy the positives of a rural neighbourhood, since it takes just a few minutes to walk to Filopappou Hill for fresh air and a touch of nature, or even the open-air street market in Kallisthenous street for cheap but quality purchases, especially in foodstuffs and others. And those who have seen the Greek film of 1961 “The district called Dream” it’s very possible that they know it refers to the picturesque stone houses of the refugees from Asia Minor that were in that area, the famous “Attaleiotika” in Kallisthenous street (it took that name from Attaleia of Asia Minor, the former home of the refugees). The great apartment building was built later (it’s the only one in the area, because all other buildings, as you can observe, have three stories at the most) facing the hill, so that it could house many more refugees. There’s also a neighbourhood in Ano Petralona called Asyrmatos (“Radio Tower”) because the radio tower of the Germans was placed there, during the German Occupation of Greece.

  That very character, simple, relaxed, of companionship, was what we wanted to fill our guest house with, keeping the neighbourhood’s picturesque character alive and true on the same time, as well as the aura of old Athens. And despite our guest house being a breath away from the most important archaeological monuments, and as a consequence, the most important touristic sights, the visitor can still mingle with the locals and do things as if he was one of the area’s permanent residents (do and live like locals).

   And let’s not forget that we’re also in a historic – from ancient times – neighbourhood, the neighbourhood of Thiseio. The traditional settlement of Thiseio took its name from the Temple of Hephaestus that used to be called Thiseio from the reliefs of Theseus’ feats that it bores on its front. It was part of the centre of the ancient city of Athens, and the Ancient Agora was in Thiseio.