It is a known fact that Athens is a street art heaven. In a country where mass unemployment, social tensions and uncertainties are draining the nation’s spirit, youth have chosen street art as a way of expressing themselves. While many may frown upon this urban form of art, and even loathe, it has been attracting hundreds of visitors to the less touristy alleys and streets of the Greek capital, showing the world a different face. And a small alley in the heart of Psyrri may give tourists another excuse to visit this unique neighbourhood, just off Monastiraki square.
Psyrri is known for its dynamic nightlife, alternative vibe and street art. But the district is also filled with abandoned shops, derelict buildings and dark and gloomy backstreets. Yet, this centrally located neighbourhood is a choice location for travellers, which is why in the past few years, many hotels and long-term rental apartments have been popping up. Fully renovated and equipped with the latest innovation, these contribute to making Psyrri a hot destination.
One of them, the Heart of Athens hotel, took the initiative, with a few other locals, to glam up the narrow alley it is located in. They organized a street art festival, inviting well-known and amateur street artists to give this historic street, Louka Nika, more personality through colourful designs. Each participant had a portion of wall to cover according to a theme. Anyone was free to come and watch the artists paint, while guest DJs were mixing on decks and visitors could enjoy some street food.
The event was a hit and now, the street is a paradise for street art enthusiasts, selfie lovers and anyone in between. Filled with fascinating and colourful art designed by Rtmone, Simek, Yiakou or Mayra, the little gloomy alley has now turned into a major attraction spot and is also part of several walking tours focusing on alternative things in Athens. The murals change periodically with new designs and styles, which is a great way to give different artists the opportunity to showcase their talent and brighten up this once back alley in Psyrri.
If you’re visiting Athens and want to update your Instagram profile pic, simply head to Psyrri and make your way to Sarri street. Louka Nika street is a small alley off Sarri, opposite the Hbh (IVI) Theater. And seriously, don’t forget to have fun!