Kipseli is a neighbourhood in the north area of central Athens, it is well known in the city for being a district with many shops, restaurants, and cafes, most of them located on the central street of the area: Fokionos Negri. This street was open to the cars until the ‘70s when smart developers decided to close it to traffic, pave it, turn the small stream which was dividing the street into a series of fountains, and make it accessible just to pedestrians, making it one of the best places in Athens for a relaxing stroll or for a good coffee in one of the many bars.
Fokionos Negri’s both sides are full of cafes with different and distinctive traits and characteristics; some of them stick just to coffees and snacks some others instead have a good offer of alcohol and spirits, while some focus on in-house-made meals or prefer to organize karaoke or live music shows. Mostly open from 9am until well after midnight, these cafes definitely share a feature: they are all small, with not a lot of tables inside, but they all take advantage of the good Greek weather to set up tables right on the streets, in front of the gardens, where costumers can enjoy the mild temperatures and the sight of people walking by.
Halfway up the street you’ll find the Kipseli Agora, a market built in the 1930s following the style of the Central Agora (Omonia) but at smaller scale. The recent history of this place is an example of civic participation against poor political decisions in Athens: after the market closed down the city wanted to tear it down to build a parking area but residents of Kipseli and other Athenians decided to not let this happen; they occupied the space and they turned it into a place for expositions and activities, a library was set up and events such as lectures by scholars, professors, or city planners took place. Lately the city has taken back the Agora’s managing, but events, galleries, and organic markets are still organized weekly.
This street is truly a microcosm of the whole city: Athens’ coffee culture, its positive and caring spirit, its food, music, and multicultural soul as well as examples of short-sighted decisions , like the old liberty-style buildings left to ruin, can be found on just one street and it is great idea for a visitor to come here to take a look at this vibrant yet quiet area.
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