Plaka lies below Anafiotika and fills the space between the ancient and modern city, stretching to Odos Ermou and Syntagma Square to the north. This was the centre of population from Byzantine times through to Greek independence and therefore can be called Athens Old Town. The maze of narrow streets, mostly traffic-free, is a delight to explore and there are numerous shops and eateries to choose from. Playful cats dart down the narrow alleyways, and you may be lucky to hear the Terpsichordean notes of the laterna drifting through the streets-these hand-turned barrel organs are now becoming extremely rare. Plaka is particularly atmospheric in the evenings when locals enjoy a volta, or stroll, before dinner and tavernas set tables out on the narrow side streets. It is almost a living museum with Byzantine Churches, Neo-Classical mansions housing galleries olcol- lectables stores and a wealth of historical detail at every turn. Do look beyond the tempting shop fronts to really get the most out of your tour. Thougil you'll want to simply follow your nose around the district, here are the locations of the main historical attractions of Plaka.

At Kidathineon 17 Street you'll find the Museum of Greek Folk Art, which offers an interesting collection of embroidery, lace and numerous liturgical garments. Spinning and weaving is also highlighted along with traditional puppets and festival masks and costumes. The collection features artefacts from allover Greece and her islands. Other divisions of the folk art museum can be found around the city.

On the southern end of Odos Adrianou, in a small square surrounded by cafes, is the Monument of Lysicrates. Dating from the 4th century BC, it consists of a series of curved panels and columns creating a circular structure supporting a dome made from a single block of Pentelic marble. Originally, this would have been topped by a bronze tripod, a prize awarded in choral competitions during the Classical era. In the 18th century a Capuchin monastery occupied the land all around the monument and the interior of the base was used as a guest room. Lord Byron stayed here in 1810 and is said to have written some of his work while enjoying the seclusion
One mansion on Odos Panos, high up near the Akropolis, has been turned into a museum. The Kanellopoulos Museum, which opened in 1976, has a family collection of artefacts from many eras of Athens' history. Mycenaean figurines and pottery, Classical Greek and Roman sculpture, and Byzantine icons, frescoes and tapestries are all well-displayed and illustrate very effectively the varied influences that make up the history of the city.
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