Changing of the Guards in Athens, Greece.
Changing of the Guards in Athens, Greece.

Changing of the Guards, Athens, Greece

Changing of the Guards in Athens, Greece.


Hell Friends,

Wow, if you are awake at 10:30 am on a Sunday in Athens, Greece, you should go see the changing of the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Athens for an unforgettable experience. This solemn and patriotic site is located in Syntagma Square in the heart of the city. The tomb is guarded around the clock by the Evzones, the Presidential Guard.

The Evzones, or Evzoni, are a ceremonial unit of the Greek Army. They are famous for their traditional dress, which includes the fustanella, a pleated skirt made from wool. The Evzones are also known for their discipline and precision.

Every Sunday, rain or shine, at 10:30 AM, the Evzones change of the guards ceremony takes place outside the Presidential Palace in Athens. Tourists and locals alike come to watch the impressive show. The Evzones are a special unit of the Greek Army and are dressed in traditional costume. The ceremony is a solemn and impressive affair, and is a must-see for anyone visiting Athens.

When I was on a walking tour early in the week, the guide walked us past this and told me about this event, It sounded very interesting, so, waking up with no coffee in hand, I headed over to see what the changing of the guards was about.

Grab your camera and come along on this early morning adventure. 😀


Monument to the Unknown Soldier

Changing of the Guards, Athens, Greece

Location: Leoforos Vasilisis Amalias 133, Athens, Greece.
Google Map Link: https://goo.gl/maps/Q3xsMZehBDdoWJJA7


The Evzones are a curious sight. They stand in their white uniforms, with their tall red hats, and they dont move at all. They are so still, it is as if they are statues. But they are not. The Evzones are real people, and they are real soldiers. They stand at attention, perfectly still, for hours on end. They are the guardians of the Greek flag, and they are a symbol of the countrys history and traditions.

On Sundays, they start and walk to the tomb and back. It is, in some ways, like a small parade. Out front is the band.

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Behind the band, the guards start to march.

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The guards ranks are set with the length of the kilt (skirt) they have on. The longer, the higher the rank. Like the guard here, is a more senior guard.

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Comparable, The shorter, the more new they guard is. Each day, each guard has to stand still (on guard) for at least 5 hours.

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They also walk with a loud “Clop” step. It mimics that of a horse stepping on a parade.

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They all march to the same beat and tempo. Right arm up, Step, Clomp, move forward to the beat of the drum in front.

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The guards are “Dead” soldiers. They are not allowed to move, except their duty to guard. They do not talk and only look forward. If there is an issue, they should stop, and wait for help.

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The band will play 4 times, and I think the same song every time. A very somber tune, that reminds me of a New Orleans funeral march.

While they start to block the road, in front is a police office that stops and turns around traffic as seen in this photo.

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At the start of the parade, outside the president’s home, the crowd is thin. When it gets closer to the tomb, the crow gets very big. Lots of photos… I was told you are not allowed to take photography mitalery personal, only the guards when they are in uniform.

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The parade moves on, beat by beat, step by step to the tomb…It was quite the sight to see and experience

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The uniforms may not seem practical by today’s standards, but I was told they were traditional uniforms the soldiers had before.

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Like on the feet of the guards have a black “poof” thing. Back in the day, that was coincided a dagger, so if you were kicked by a guard, you also got stabbed. I was told they no longer do that… but who knows… Perhaps they still do?

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I don’t know too much else about the uniforms the guards have on… I was also told, that only the guards that served over 100 hours on duty were allowed to grow a mustache, and that was a great honor to them.

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Here you can see the shoes. They all have nails on the bottom, that make that very loud “CLOMP” with each step.

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At the tomb, the guards all gather, and the swap happens.

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While they change every few hours, I think every hour… this big parade happens only once a week, the same way, every time, and the guards stand and do the same thing every day.

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After the guards change, the band leads the way, back to where they started.

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I have to wonder what their guards think about when they are walking or standing… if their minds wanders, if they turn inward and think of dinner, or think about the moment. I am not sure. What do you think?

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It was here that I walked on, the band played on and the dance, the change of guards, went on.

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Every day, tourists and Athenians alike can witness a tradition that has taken place for centuries. The changing of the guards at the Parliament building in Athens. The ceremony begins with the playing of the national anthem and the raising of the flag. The new guards, in their traditional uniforms, march from the barracks to the Parliament building, taking up their posts. The old guards then march out and salute the flag as they leave.

If you are in Athens on a Sunday, be sure to check it out!

Thank you for joining me today, I hope you enjoyed this post. 🙂

Cheers


If you enjoyed this post, you may want to read this article that is titled : Free Walking tour, Athens, Greece.

Tim on a Rock
Tim on a Rock
Roaming Sparrow is a project by Tim Mack. It is a life on the road, an adventure to gain knowledge and share genuine experiences.
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