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A History of Gazi in 60 Seconds

Picture of Ethel Dilouambaka
Updated: 16 October 2017
Gazi is a neighborhood in central Athens, which owes its name to the old Athens gasworks, now an industrial museum and exhibition space. Located along Peiraos avenue and near the Acropolis, this district is known as a nightlife hub, thanks to its numerous bars and clubs (including the first gay and lesbian joints in town) and its small tavernas and eateries.

The first thing you will see when you arrive in Gazi is the old gasworks buildings, which were established in 1857 by royal decree by King Otto, at a time when the industrial revolution was starting in the newly established country. While the area was mostly a poor residential area, it welcomed the big facilities, while in the 1910s, a series of brothels opened their doors there. However, in the 1960s, the facilities were progressively abandoned, as the kind of technology was thought to be outdated. The gasworks stopped working in 1984, leaving the area to the spare part stores, garages and tinsmiths populating it.

Later on, the majority of the brothels moved towards Omonoia, and the first gasworks installations were turned into Technopolis, a cultural museum and event space, where exhibitions, concerts and other cultural activities are held. Gay and gay-friendly bars and clubs, including veteran joint Sodade, started settling in the area, though nowadays the district is undergoing a gentrification process, helped by the opening of a metro station called Kerameikos and the apparition of new loft-styled apartments and cool clubs opening left and right.

Today, visitors to Athens can enjoy leisurely afternoons in its many cafés, drink refreshing drinks and dance the night away in its bars, live music venues (bouzoukia) and clubs and enjoy a delicious dinner in the ample number of tavernas and eateries. You may even be lucky enough to catch an open-air concert in the restored Technopolis or a live performance at Gazarte, the multipurpose café and art space nearby. If you are visiting Athens, make sure to explore this up-and-coming neighborhood, where having a drink or two is just the beginning.