Athens by Chris Kontos


They say that your past can be a heavy burden. For a city like Athens, with an overwhelming presence in human history that burden can sometimes weigh too much. The birthplace of democracy and modern thinking, around 1821 Athens was reduced to a small village of shepherds and glorious historical ruins. This iconic city is home to almost 5 million people -  a melting pot of colours, civilisations and flavours, yet still seeking its own identity.

Athens can be more than endless souvenir shops, gyros joints and traditional taverns around Plaka. Even if that wasn't the case, Athens could still claim to serve the best gyros in the world and its taverns (even at their worst) can deliver a mouthwatering experience. If I had the chance to take a friend on a tour of the city, I would follow a path less travelled to share the beauty of my birthplace. A city that lives more in the suburbs than the centre. The home-cooked food of the traditional taverns in Petralona, the fish market in Perama, the flea markets, the old Archeological museum, Sounio temple, bars dating back to the 1950s, indian cafes and taverns hidden in basements...

Athens is the city of contradictions, the city of kiosks that sell everything from vintage porn, to sunglasses and feta. It's a city with a coastal highway of more than 65 kilometres. It’s the city of Au Revoir and Galaxy - two of the most iconic bars in Europe. The city where you can eat the most satisfying meal under the sun for less than 10 euros and find a great place to live for 200 euros. Despite its many flaws, problems and heavy past... Athens has a very promising future.

Chris Kontos is a photographer, DJ and publisher of Kennedy Magazine.