Nea Smyrni, Athens – A guide to the Historic South
Nea Smyrni of Athens will always be a living testament to the roughly 1 million Greeks that thrived in Asia Minor during the 19th and the early 20th century. Especially for people of Asia Minor descend, like me. The aristocrats that flourished there, brought their finesse and wisdom to build on one of the most appealing suburban towns across Athens.
Established by Greek refugees, Nea Smyrni (aka New Smyrna) has a long history. Its story begins when the defeated Greeks fled the burning town of Smyrna (currently named Izmir) in Asia Minor (western Turkey) and sought refuge in the fatherland in August 1922. The first permanent residents settled in the area in 1923. At the time, it was an empty landscape full of rocks and dried up streams. The refugees brought with them their eastern aristocracy and class in the, at the time, under-developed Athens. Honouring their roots, the residents named more than 130 streets in Nea Smyrni after popular regions and figures of Asia Minor.
Throughout the years, the area evolved into a gorgeous residential district. It is currently known for its large squares, neat buildings, green element, and diverse bar scene. Located in one of the most strategic locations in greater Athens, Nea Smyrni remains one of the few areas close to the Riviera where good constructions are still offered at reasonable prices. Today, Nea Smyrni is a delightful suburban town housing the mid-upper class of the Athenian South. Located at the crossroads of the city centre and the Athenian Riviera, just 15 minutes away from both the centre and the Riviera.
The area is gorgeous with big green squares, pedestrian roads and purely residential streets. The core centre is well known for the Nea Smyrni Square; arguably the largest in the country, a full of life site spreading over more than 5 acres with amenities ranging from shops, coffee houses and bars to banks, services and restaurants. Αn all-day long haven, where you can have a delicious souvlaki at “Lefteris”, a creamy ice-cream at “Bufala” and then enjoy a fancy cocktail at “New Habits”. My personal favourite, however, lying 2-3 minutes from the square, is “Epitokio”. This authentic rock bar invites its customers to enjoy a cold lager accompanied by the nostalgic rock n’ roll sounds of the 70s and the 80s.
On Sundays, it is worth taking a walk a few blocks further towards Panionios football stadium. Panionios was established by Greeks in Smyrna back in 1890. In the aftermath of the war, it found refuge with them in Nea Smyrni in 1923. This is one of the many reasons why the team is also known as a “historic one”. The team is the pride of the town and its tifosi, the ‘Panthers’, are one of the oldest football fun clubs in Greece.
Just a few meters down the stadium, you will encounter the Lycee Lionee, the first Franco-Hellenic private school in Greece and one of the best in the country. Close to the main centre also lies the Nea Smyrni Park, a spectacular green oasis that covers roughly fifty acres of land, full of trees, shrubs and plants. Nea Smyrni is the ideal place for pet lovers, since, apart from the numerous green squares, it also offers 2 designated dog parks. There, our best friends can play with each other in a safe and friendly environment. Atmospheric, nostalgic and vivid, Nea Smyrni is a spectacular town to reside in, ideally positioned in one of the most strategic locations around Athens.
Click here to view MI4’s properties in Nea Smyrni in Athens.
Written by George Iliopoulos
14 September 2021