What a place! What a transformation!
A buzzing, lively neighborhood 24/7
It is bound by Athinas Street, Ermou Street and Piraeus Street. You may get there from the Monastiraki or the Thiseio Metro stations
In the past, during the day, Psiri was the warehouse district, the center for industry and the place where tradesman went to restock and repair their tools, small shops selling everything from restaurant equipment to welding supplies from furniture to leather and leather working tools, paints, locks, plumbing supplies, etc. In fact some of my greatest photographs have been shot in Psiri. My most favorite one is the “Garlic sellers”, an older couple in front of their shop braiding garlic strands. Their dog, a big German shepherd, laying guard at their feet. It shows the traditional use of the neighborhood.
In the old days the area turned dark and unsavory after sunset. Today, it is a cosmopolitan Mecca with its roots still showing. Sure, when I go for my garlic fix I’m usually passing a few people getting fixes of their own. I’m like a local, so I don’t pay it too much attention. But a word of caution to visitors, this up and coming neighborhood ain’t done comin’ up. It is, though, one example of urban development. Take a rundown, neglected, colorful neighborhood and at no cost to the taxpayers transform it into a happening attraction for locals and tourists.
By day, the sounds of industry fill the air. The narrow winding maze of streets are full of mini-trucks and gypsy three wheelers, scouring for remnants of scap metal, while cabinet makers sand away at their latest project and welders catch some air outside their garages. A young man scurries across the street, carrying a traditional triangular coffee tray as he deliveries Greek coffees and frappes to the merchants. The hum continues until early afternoon, when the rollers and gates come down over the storefronts. By 3 or 4 the streets are empty, and a quiet settles the area until after siesta time, when the cafes, bars and restaurants start to prepare for the evening’s visitors.
By 8 pm, the streets are once again humming. Restaurants and bars of all types will keep this neighborhood busy and awake until the industrial shops open up in the morning, when the cycle begins all over again. If you happen to be closing one of Psiri’s many clubs, don’t miss a warm loukouma or koulouri from the bakery at XXX street. Join the workers in line as they stop in for their breakfast.
On Sunday morning Psiri transforms itself yet again becoming a huge outdoor flea market. If you’re headed toward Monastiraki for the famous “flea market”, it’s moved: to Psiri. It’s a great place to find that unique and sometimes rare gift or antique.
Truly a place that never sleeps. When visiting at night time don’t let the dark streets bordering Athinas and Ermou deter you from going on.
Boutique hotels the likes of Ochre and Brown are starting to appear in the neighborhood. They join the older budget hotels, like the Pella Inn, offering a place options for travelers at all price points and comfort levels. It is such an incredible multipurpose use of a neighborhood.
The old warehouses, transient hotels, the flea market, mixed with upscale hotels, trendy clubs and bars, chic boutiques and art galleries, coexist in a place that depending on the time you go has a different look and feel.