Welcome to Pittaki Street, Athens' Magical Lantern-Lit Alley

The Lights in Pittaki Street, Athens
The Lights in Pittaki Street, Athens | © sixtwelve / Flickr
Ethel Dilouambaka

What happens when a non-profit organization, a creative studio, and locals come together to revamp their neighborhood with a bright idea? You get the Pittaki street light art installation in the Psiri neighborhood of Athens, Greece.
Psirri, the gritty downtown district near Monastiraki Square, has been enjoying a certain boom these past years. It turned from an underground district into a dynamic night hub, filled with alternative bars and cafés, vintage shops, and street art open-air museum. But not all of Psirri’s streets enjoyed the same revival.

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Pittaki St, Psyrri

Pittaki Street, a poorly lit industrial alley near Monastiraki Square connecting Ermou Street to Psirri, was not a very popular one. Lined with warehouses and small businesses, the pedestrian street was mostly used as a urinal after dusk.

1-3 Pittaki st., Psyrri

But everything changed in 2012, when a non-profit organization called Imagine The City partnered up with creative design studio Beforelight to revamp the forgotten street. Their idea? Turn the dark alley into a promenade. They started by asking locals to donate lamps and shades, and the residents quickly obliged; pretty soon, chandeliers, Chinese paper lanterns, and lamp fixtures piled up and were weatherproofed, wired, and strung together, creating a bright, cozy canopy over the street.

Pittaki street in Athens, Greece

Today, this once forgotten alley is now a destination spot, and the light art installation has now been in place for over five years. This unique idea proves that once more, when people come together for a good cause, something beautiful is bound to come out of it.

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