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Easter in Athens
Easter in Athens Overview“Easter in Athens” is an exceptional tour, a unique opportunity to explore one of Europe’s most fascinating cities and experience its spectacular past and vibrant present during its most important annual celebration.
This is a unique combination of first-rate archaeological and historic sites with hands-on experience of the living traditions in a modern capital city.
Greek Orthodox Easter is a special time to be in Athens. To Greeks, Easter is the biggest annual feast, far more important than Christmas. It consists of Holy Week, commemorating Christ’s sufferings and Passion, and the Easter night itself, a celebration of resurrection and salvation, of light, joy and beauty, and also of Greek identity. Our “Easter in Athens” is a one-of-a-kind invitation to witness that celebration, in all its sobriety and all its exuberance, and in the enfolding context of the city’s rich past.
Athens is a fascinating place, a city where monuments from three millennia and from diverse cultural contexts rub shoulders with one another: Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, Neoclassical and modern. At the same time, a vibrant modern city with a very distinctive Athenian feel invites you to discover its own special sounds and scents, its own enchanting rhythms, its own time-honoured traditions, its own enticing lifestyles and its own joyful celebrations.
Two expert guides, steeped in the history and archaeology of Athens and her modern life, will introduce you to the unforgettable experience of an Athenian Easter. They will bring the wonders of the Acropolis to life, help you engage with the timeless art and architecture of Byzantine Athens, explain the intricacies of modern Greek history and show you the beautiful landscapes and seascapes that surround the Greek capital.
A range of activities has been selected to bring you even closer to the life of Athens, past and present: a specially-arranged visit to a pottery workshop will permit you direct contact with an ancient craft, and a personal cooking lesson will enable you to participate in producing some of the delights that form an integral part of Greek Easter.
Along with these experiences of Athenian culture through the ages, you will witness the events of Holy Week, the build-up towards Easter, as it is celebrated by Athenians in the city’s various churches. In the evenings, you will see their candlelit liturgies held in an intense atmosphere heavy with incense and deep piety. On Holy Tuesday, the air will ring with their mystical choral song in the venerable Byzantine tradition, the sound of centuries of devotion. On Good Friday, you will see local congregations lovingly and intricately decorate the bier of Christ with fresh spring flowers, before carrying it in procession through their neighbourhoods… It all culminates in Easter night itself, when the countless flames of a new season light the face of the assembled, young and old, believing or doubting, in a moment of celebration shared throughout Greece. You will share this unique experience, as well as the great and delicious feast of Easter Sunday.