The Changing of the Guard of the Evzones in front of the Greek Parliament Building is an absolute magnet for visitors and the highlight of Syntagma Square.
Learn all you need to know about the ceremony, history and how to get there in this complete guide to the Evzones Changing of the Guard in Athens.
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What Can I See at the Evzones Changing of the Guard?
The traditional changing of the guard of the Evzones is one of the most visited attractions of Athens. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in front of the Greek Parliament Building is guarded by the Evzones, the soldiers of the former royal bodyguard.
These are the highlights:
Every hour on the hour, you can admire the ceremonial changing of the guard that takes place in front of the Parliament Building on Syntagma Square.
The Evzones parade is an elaborate and meticulously rehearsed choreography that always captivates visitors from all over the world. With sweeping parade steps, the relief goes synchronously to their post, while the old bodyguards gracefully stride to the guard performer, who accompanies the two members of the Presidential Guard back to the barracks of the Evzones.
After the changing of the guard, the guard must remain stoic and motionless at their post. They only change their position every 20 minutes.
Also impressive is the traditional guard uniform, designed by Queen Amalia herself. The court costume is characterized by a pleated skirt, a jerkin, woolen stockings and pointed-toe shoes with bobbles.
The Evzones costume is meant to represent the history and culture of Greece. For example, the skirt's 400 folds stand for 400 years of Ottoman occupation of the country.
Traveler's Tip: Every Sunday at 11 a.m. there is an even more pompous and larger changing of the Evzones’ guard.
How Do I Get to the Evzone Changing of the Guard?
The Evzones Changing of the Guard takes place in front of the Greek Parliament Building on Syntagma Square. On the west side of Parliament Building is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, before which the ceremonial spectacle is performed.
The Parliament Building can be easily reached by public transport. It is best to take the Metro 2 or 3 to "Syntagma". It's just as easy with the Hop on Hop off bus tour, which takes you to station A1 "Syntagma Square".
Visitors arriving from Piraeus Port can go to the nearby Piraeus Metro Station and board the M1 line. A single ticket is sufficient for the 16-minute journey to Monastiraki Station. There change to the metro line 2 and go one stop to the "Syntagma" Station.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
The Evzones Changing of the Guard takes place every day on the hour. There is also a grand changing of the guard on Sundays at 11am accompanied by a military band.
The changing of the guard of the Evzones takes place in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which is located in front of the Greek Parliament Building on Syntagma Square.
Once the Royal Greek Body Guard and now the Presidential Guard of Greece, the Evzones are the epitome of freedom and bravery. The Changing of the Evzone Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is meant to honor all the soldiers who have fought and sacrificed for the country throughout Greece's checkered history.
As the Evzones Changing of the Guard takes place in front of the Greek Parliament Building in the centrally located Syntagma Square, it is easy to get there from anywhere in the city. The easiest way is to take the Metro 2 or 3 to "Syntagma" or the Hop on Hop off bus tour, which takes you to station A1 "Syntagma Square".
Visitors arriving from Piraeus Port can go to the nearby Piraeus Metro Station and board the M1 line. A single ticket is sufficient for the 16-minute journey to Monastiraki Station. There change to the metro line 2 and go one stop to the "Syntagma" station.
History of the Evzones Changing of the Guard
The Evzones were founded in 1824 during the Greek War of Independence as soldiers of King Otto's Royal Greek Guard.
In 1864 the unit was promoted to the elite troop of the Greek army. They were of great importance in the War of Independence (1821-1829) and also in the Balkan Wars and the two world wars, they made a name for themselves with their bravery. Since then, they have been considered the epitome of bravery and freedom.
Since the abolition of the monarchy, the Evzones have fulfilled a representative function as Greece's Presidential Guard and stand guard in front of the Greek Parliament and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Among other things, they accompany the Greek President on state visits abroad.
Even today, the Evzones are the elite regiment of the Greek army and have to complete a 5-week, top-secret training course. An Evzone must also meet certain external criteria, for example, he has to be at least 1.80 meters tall.
Among tourists, one of the most popular sights in Athens is the hourly Evzones Changing of the Guard .
August 24, 2023