Welcome to Exarcheia, a Playground for Athens’ Anarchists Reply

By Ethel Dilouambaka

Tucked between the posh district of Kolonaki and the National Museum of Archaeology, Exarcheia is known as a popular student area in the Greek capital. It is the epicentre and playground for not only anarchists but also socialists and anti-fascism activists; it is a neighbourhood that cops don’t dare step foot in and tourists hardly visit. However, there is more to Exarcheia than meets the eye.

A historical stronghold during the dictatorship of the colonels in the 1970s, Exarcheia is an alternative district in central Athens, one based on solidarity, exchange, direct democracy and self-management. Bordered by the National Technical University of Athens (Athens Polytechnic), the area has a resolute bohemian and arty vibe. Its streets, lined with cool bars, alternative cultural centres, bookstores, small artisan shops and publishing houses, are typically decked out with colourful street art that depicts the area’s history.

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