Visiting Athens’ Striking Stoa of Attalos 

The Stoa of Attalos is part of the historical Ancient Agora site in the centre of Athens, built around 150 BC by the king of Pergamon Attalos II, as a gift to the city. 

Stoa of Attalos is an impressively large building that spans over two levels and highlights Hellenistic architecture at its best. The ground level is inspired by the Doric style and the first floor is Ionic. The building features walls made of limestone, the facade was created using marble from Mount Penteli, and the roof is covered with tiles.  

Insights Greece - Visiting Athens’ Striking Stoa of Attalos 
Stoa of Attalos

This glorious building was once a cultural, social, and commercial hub, housing all kinds of shops leased by the State of Athens, and is described as an “ancient shopping centre,” and a busy spot where Athenians gathered socially to catch up with other locals while doing a spot of shopping.

The Stoa of Attalos is said to have been home to 21 shops (on each floor) lining the western wall. Visitors are able to get an idea of life during ancient Athens times through the vast collection of everyday objects which were unearthed during recent excavations. 

Facts About Stoa of Attalos 

-The Stoa’s dimensions are 115 by 20 meters wide (377 by 65 feet wide).

-There were five Stoas connected to the Agora and the Stoa of Attalos was named after King Attalos II of Pergamon who reigned from 159-138 BC. 

-A second Stoa, the Stoa of Eumenes II, was built by the brother of Attalos, on the southern side of the Acropolis. 

-The Stoa was open at either end on the ground floor, with a wall running along the western side on each floor with windows and doors leading to 21 small rooms.

Insights Greece - Visiting Athens’ Striking Stoa of Attalos 
Museum of Ancient Agora

The Museum Gallery 

The exhibition in the Museum gallery is home to archaeological finds from the excavations made by the American School of Classical Studies in the area and dates from the Neolithic to the Post-byzantine and Ottoman periods. The Museum exhibition is organised in chronological and thematic units that reveal aspects of the public and private life in ancient Athens. 

Here you will find an interesting collection of artifacts on display including marble statues, parts of columns, coins, ceramic vases, pottery, items of daily use, and there is an ancient ballot box and a ‘klepsydra’ which was a water clock used for timing public speakers in the courthouses.

Also look out for a giant statue of the god Apollo, a large statue of a female figure (goddess or queen), the tomb of a young girl that dates from the Geometric times, and a bronze Spartan shield that the Athenians took as a war prize in the Battle of Sfaktiria (425 BC).

Insights Greece - Visiting Athens’ Striking Stoa of Attalos 
Ancient Agora

Getting there

The Stoa of Attalos is situated below the Acropolis and within the Ancient Agora in the heart of Athens. The main entrance to the Stoa is Adrianou Street which is about 700 meters from Syntagma Square. There is a smaller entrance from Thisseion Square. The nearest Metro station is Thisseion or Monastiraki. 

A: Adrianou Street, 24, Thissio 

Visiting Athens’ Benaki Museum

The Benaki Museum is the largest and most active museum organisation in Greece, featuring four main museums in Athens– the Museum of Greek Culture, the Pireos Annex, the Museum of Islamic Art, and the Toy Museum. 

The Benaki Museum of Greek Civilization was founded by Anthony Benakis and donated to the Greek state in 1931. Here, one can find permanent exhibitions featuring ancient Greek and Roman art, Byzantine, post-Byzantine and Hellenic art, historic heirlooms, a vast collection of drawings, paintings and prints, Chinese and Korean art, and more. 

At the Pireos 138 Annex, the museum presents modern Greek architecture and photography and temporary events and exhibitions – currently, it is hosting some special event exhibitions honouring “1821,” 200 Years of Greek Independence. 

The Toy Museum presents the lifetime collection of Maria Argyriadi that is among the most important in Europe that includes toys, books, clothing, and other items associated with childhood from Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas.

The Museum of Islamic Art houses one of the world’s most important collections of art from India, Persia, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, the Middle East, Arabia, Egypt, North Africa, Sicily, and Spain. 

Two more museums have also been added to the museum’s impressive portfolio—the Studio of Yannis Pappas and the Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika Gallery. Plus there are five active Archival Departments (Photographic, Architectural, Historical) and a rich library, which come together to establish the Benaki Museum as the most active and dynamic museum organisation in Greece. 

The Benaki Museum is committed to presenting emerging knowledge about its collections through educational activities for children and adults, publications, exhibitions, and events, nationally and internationally.

Opening hours:

Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday: 10 am to  6 pm

Thursday: 10 am – 11:30 pm

Sunday: 10 am – 4 pm 

Address: Koumpari 1, Athens

Athens and Epidaurus Festival to Open in June

The Greek capital’s annual Athens and Epidaurus Festival will reopen to live audiences on June 1, with over 80 productions scheduled to take place over four months. 

With an emphasis on Greek artists (50 are Greek productions) the popular event (amongst both locals and international visitors) will conclude in October 2021. 

Insights Greece - Athens and Epidaurus Festival to Open in June

Taking place across Athens, venues will include the Pireos 260 building with performances including theatre, music, dance, and visual arts. This year, there will be an addition to the program, Cycle 1821, which is set to commemorate the centennial of Greece’s War of Independence from the Ottoman Empire. 

The Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus will premier 10 productions over three days a week (Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays) from June to August. Here, German theatre director Thomas Ostermeier and the Schaubühne will present a version of ‘Oedipus Rex’ by Maja Zade. Several Greek directors, independently or collaborating, will also present their ancient drama. 

At the Small Theater of Ancient Epidaurus, four Greek authors will each present a commissioned modern version of an ancient tragedy for the ‘Contemporary Ancients’ cycle, while other new performances will also take place. 

The Athens Festival’s main venue, the Odeon of Herod Atticus (Irodio), will host distinguished international musicians such as Brian Eno with his brother Roger Eno, pianist Zubin Mehta with the Maggio Musicale Orchestra of Florence, violinist Pinchas Zuckerman and the Monteverdi Choir accompanied by the English Baroque Soloists, in a performance conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner.

In terms of Greek performances, the Athens Festival will also include the National Opera, Eleftheria Arvanitaki, and Lena Platonos with Nalyssa Green, among others.

Protomagia, Welcoming the Month of May 

Protomagia, the first day of May, is International Labor Day in Greece and it’s a bright, fun, holiday that’s enjoyed across the country.

The national holiday is traditionally celebrated with locals gathering for picnics at nearby villages and the countryside, where they fly kites with family and friends and gather blossoming flowers along the way to take home.

Insights Greece - Protomagia, Welcoming the Month of May 

The flowers are then made into wreaths called “Stefania” which they hang on the front door to welcome the last month of Spring and to celebrate the upcoming arrival of summer. It is also where some residents living on the islands have their first swim of the season.

Protomagia finds its origins in ancient Greece as a celebration of nature’s rebirth, spring, and flowers. The month May was named after the Greek Goddess Maia, who was linked with the Ancient Roman goddess of fertility, Bona Dea, whose festival was held in May. The goddess took her name from the ancient word Maia, nurse, and mother. 

May, according to Greek folklore, has two meanings: The good and the bad, rebirth and death. 

To celebrate the day, there are usually parades and other festivities around Greece. As with every cultural event, May Day celebrations vary by region; for example in Corfu, locals walk around holding a cypress tree trunk, covered with yellow daisies, Cretans from Heraklio, host an annual Protomagia flower show. Other towns and islands organise parades and other joyous events to welcome May 1st. 

Kali Protomagia, Happy 1st of May! 

Recipe & Tips for Red-Dyed Greek Easter Eggs

Red-dyed Greek Easter eggs are a symbol of Resurrection, with the colour red representing the blood of Christ and the egg symbolising the sealed Tomb from which Jesus Christ arose after His Crucifixion. 

Traditionally dyed on Holy Thursday (along with the baking of homemade Tsoureki and homemade Koulourakia), they are cracked after midnight mass on Holy Saturday, representing Jesus’ Resurrection from the dead. 

There are a few ways of dyeing red eggs, depending on the brand and you should always follow the instructions. This recipe is for a sachet where you boil the eggs first and then dip them into the red dye.

Insights Greece - Recipe & Tips for Red-Dyed Greek Easter EggsIngredients 

-10 gm x red egg dye

-500ml x boiling water

-3 x tablespoons vinegar

-12 x eggs

-pinch of salt

-olive oil (for polishing)


Wash eggs in cool water and place in a large saucepan filled with water and a pinch of salt. 

-Boil the eggs on low heat for about 20 minutes or until they are hard-boiled. 

-In the meantime, place red dye into a clean bowl and add vinegar.

-Boil 500 ml of water in a saucepan or kettle and add to red dye. Stir and set aside.

-When eggs are boiled and still hot, submerge the eggs in the dye and keep them in the dye for around 1 minute or until desired shade is achieved. 

-Place about 2 x tablespoons of olive oil in a bowl and lightly dab paper towel with olive oil. Polish each egg with the paper towel evenly to give them a nice shine. 

Top Tips for Dyeing Red Easter Eggs 

-To achieve a vibrant red, use fresh, yellow eggs that are at room temperature before boiling. 

Insights Greece - Recipe & Tips for Red-Dyed Greek Easter Eggs-Always wash eggs before boiling to ensure the shell is clean. 

-Make sure to add vinegar to the red dye.

-Always boil eggs on low heat, to avoid cracking.

– Make sure to polish each egg with olive oil for a complete shine.  

Kali Anastasi to all those celebrating Pascha!

*Images by IN+SIGHTS GREECE © (Copyright) 

Greek Customs and Traditions of Holy Week

Pascha is the biggest religious holiday of the year in Greece, which follows the Holy Week rites in commemoration of the Passion of Christ and the celebration of His Resurrection on Easter Sunday.

Holy Week is the week just before Easter that extends from today, Palm Sunday, until Holy Saturday and marks the last week of Lent. It has been named “Holy,” due to the significant events that take place for Christianity in regard to the sufferings of Jesus Christ. During this week every year, believers prepare themselves for Jesus Christ’s Resurrection with special traditions. 

Here we share some of these age-old traditions.

Insights Greece - Greek Customs and Traditions of Holy Week

Palm Sunday 

At the beginning of Holy Week, the Greek Orthodox Church celebrates one of its most joyous feasts of the year. Palm Sunday is the commemoration of the Entrance of our Lord into Jerusalem following His glorious miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead.

Today, Greek Orthodox Christians mirror Jesus’ follower’s actions by carrying a small woven palm cross, which is given out during the Palm Sunday morning church service. While Palm Sunday still occurs during the Sarakosti (40 days of Lent), today the Greek Orthodox Church allows people to consume fish, oil, and wine and families gather after church to eat a seafood lunch. 

Insights Greece - Greek Customs and Traditions of Holy Week

Holy Monday to Holy Wednesday

From Holy Monday, the churches’ chandeliers and icons are covered in black and purple material, highlighting the atmosphere of mourning for the coming crucifixion and burial of Jesus Christ. Church services typically take place in the morning and evening of Holy Week. 

Holy Monday is dedicated to two events: The life of Joseph, son of Patriarch Jacob, and the adventures of whom reflect the life of Christ and his sufferings. It is also dedicated to the story of the fruitless fig tree that Christ dried, with the fig tree symbolizing the soul of every human who lacks virtue. 

Holy Tuesday is dedicated to the parable of the ten virgins which aims to teach people to be full of faith and charity, as well as the parable of ‘Taladwn’, which aims to teach people to be hardworking and cultivate their spirituality. 

Holy Wednesday is dedicated to Mary Magdalene, who regretted her life of sin, washed Christ’s feet with myrrh, and was forgiven because of her strong faith.

Insights Greece - Greek Customs and Traditions of Holy Week
Image @Souvlaki for the Soul
Holy Thursday 

On Holy Thursday, Christianity celebrates the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the twelve Apostles. In commemoration of this very important day, on Holy Thursday the preparations for Jesus Christ’s resurrection are underway in Greek households. According to tradition, people bake their koulourakia and lamprokouloura (Greek cookies), Tsourekia (Greek brioche), and traditional dye hard-boiled eggs, which symbolize the renewal of life since antiquity, while the colour red symbolizes Christ’s blood.

Insights Greece - Greek Customs and Traditions of Holy WeekGood Friday 

On Good Friday you will hear church bells ring all day for the funeral of Jesus Christ. The Bible said that He died in the ninth hour, and at nine o´clock in the evening, Greeks follow a symbolic funeral procession. Many people participate in the quiet procession while carrying candles and the experience overall is quite solemn. Each church carries an Epitaphios (a wooden canopied bier representing the tomb of Christ) covered with flowers of various colours. People follow along the streets of cities, towns, and villages listening to psalms being chanted. This is a day of mourning and the strictest day of fasting, with many people consuming very little food on Good Friday.  

Insights Greece - Greek Customs and Traditions of Holy Week

Holy Saturday 

Many people receive their Holy Communion during Saturday morning’s church service. When they return home, preparations begin for the festive dinner that is served after the Resurrection Midnight Mass. Magiritsa soup is a traditional dish prepared in most Greek houses (made with offal and finished in a lemon sauce). Before midnight, people gather in church holding candles, which they light with the “Holy Light” offered by the priest. Children hold their Lambades (candles) traditionally given to them by their godparents during Holy Week and join in on the midnight service. The Resurrection of Christ is celebrated when the clock strikes Midnight with drum beats and fireworks lighting the skies as the church bells ring and chanters begin the hymn ‘Christos Anesti’ (Christ is Risen), this is also chanted by all who attend. People then return home to gather around the dinner table and break their fast; this is when they crack their red eggs and say “Christos Anesti”. 

Insights Greece - Greek Customs and Traditions of Holy WeekEaster Sunday

Easter Sunday is a huge celebration in Greece, as the Greek Orthodox Church commemorates Jesus rising from the dead. In many parts of the country, lamb is skewered and cooked over charcoal. In other regions, the meat for the Easter table is roasted in the oven. The atmosphere is festive and joyous and people listen and dance to local folk music. And if you are lucky enough to be in Greece during Easter, don’t miss one of the local festivals taking place, as this experience is unforgettable.

Easter celebrations take place all over Greece; some of the most famous destinations to celebrate Easter in Greece are Corfu, Patmos, Kalamata, and Kalymnos. 

Main Image by IN+SIGHTS GREECE © (Copyright) 

Homemade Lazarakia Recipe

Today the Greek Orthodox Church commemorates “Saturday of Lazarus” and on this day it’s a tradition in Greece to make Lazarakia (Little Lazaruses).

These are traditionally small, sweet and mildly spiced bread, made only once a year. They represent the miracle of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Each region in Greece has its own variation of Lazarakia, however, most have a similar sweet-tasting flavour. 


  • 1 x kg of plain flour
  • 2 & 1/2  x cups of lukewarm water + extra for the kneading
  • 1/4 x cups of granulated sugar
  • 1/4 x cup of olive oil
  • 1 x cup of dark raisins (optional)
  • 3/4 x cup of finely chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 14 x grams dried yeast
  • 3 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of ground cloves
  • whole cloves to decorate


  • Preheat the oven to 200°C and place baking paper on a few trays. 
  • Dissolve the yeast in a glass filled with lukewarm water and set aside.
  • Place the flour in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Fill it with the sugar, the olive oil and dissolved yeast.
  • Start kneading the ingredients with your hands, slowly adding two and a half cups of lukewarm water, just enough until you have a relatively firm dough. Then add the spices, the raisins and the walnuts and continue kneading thoroughly until the dough doesn’t stick to your hands.
  • Place dough into the bowl, cover with towel and allow dough to rise and double (about an hour).   
  • Get quantities of the dough and cut it into small pieces. Start to shape each piece into small men. Shape separately the hands and the body (see photo above). Form eyes, with the tip of a clove. 
  • Transfer each piece of bread onto oven trays, cover with a clean kitchen towel and leave to rise for 1 hour.
  • Brush Lazarakia with some oil for a glossy effect and place trays in the middle shelf of the oven. Bake until they are nicely golden.
  • Take out of the oven and allow to cool on metal racks before serving.

Recipe and Images by IN+SIGHTS GREECE © (Copyright) 

Honouring the Revolutionary Masterpieces of Theodoros Vryzakis

I felt little interest when at the age of 12, my mother showed me some paintings depicting scenes from the Greek War of Independence made by her great uncle Theodoros Vryzakis.

At that age, I was more interested in Madonna, my dramatic poetry about unrequited love, and whether I’d pass my maths test. Several years later I found myself standing in front of one of my relative’s masterpieces; a giant canvas presenting a complex battle scene. This time I was a little more impressed, and let my eyes dance across the painting to observe the eyes, costumes, and actions of those depicted. But even then, to me, it was just a painting that left me with a delicate twinge of pride that it had been created by someone in my family. It took around 20 years more for me to truly and deeply value the incredible works of Theodoros Vryzakis, whose works are now on show in a permanent exhibition in the New National Gallery, and who through his striking historical depictions have immortalized the valiant and triumphant battle of Greeks against the tyrannical Ottoman Occupation of hundreds of years. 

Insights Greece - Honouring the Revolutionary Masterpieces of Theodoros Vryzakis

Instead of presenting the Greeks as victims, Vryzakis conceived of a heroic alternative, centering on the valour and vision of his people, from leaders such as Karaïskakis and Makriyannis to the common men and women who gave their life for their country. Also noted in his art was the nostalgic realism with which he presented his figures – with no facial contortions or exaggerated movements. Within many of his works, one can note the bond between the ancient Greek heritage of the nation, such as in ‘The Encampment of Karaïskakis’ (1855), in which the heroes of the revolution are looking towards Acropolis. The omnipotent presence of God, protecting, guiding, and waiting to receive the Greeks in their struggle for freedom can also be seen in some of his paintings, such as The Exodus from Missolonghi (1853). 

Insights Greece - Honouring the Revolutionary Masterpieces of Theodoros Vryzakis

Many of Theodoros Vryzakis’ works are rich with detailed side-scenes that offer profound supplementary messages to the viewer. His artworks led him to receive notable awards during his lifetime, like the First Prize at the International Exhibition of Vienna in 1853 for “The Sortie from Missolonghi,” and a Silver Prize at Olympia in 1870 for his lithograph “The Encampment of Karaiskakis.” His painting ‘I Hellas Evgnomonousa’ (1858) has become a symbol of the Greeks’ triumph over their oppressors, depicting a young woman in a white gown, wearing a wreath on her head, having broken the chains of slavery and rising over the fighters who bow at her feet or look adoringly up at her.

In 1861, Theodoros Vryzakis received a commission to paint icons for the Church of the Annunciation in Manchester, the first Greek-Orthodox church in the UK. A few years later he participated in a major exhibition at the Galerie Del Vecchio in Leipzig. In his final years his painting lessened as his eyesight deteriorated, until he passed away in 1878 due to heart disease, on the very same day as he was born, January first. 

Today, as Greece celebrates two hundred years of freedom from an Occupation that began in the mid 15th Century, I can’t feel anything more than pride for my people and for my relative, who immortalized their unity in overcoming terrible oppression. Sometimes it takes maturing a little to be able to see beyond the superficiality of daily life and feel an almost unsettlingly touching understanding of the big picture. 

Theatron of Americas Honors Greece’s 200 Years of Independence

Theatron of the Americas honors Greece’s 200 Years of Independence today at 17:30 Greek time with a special event featuring many distinguished guests such as Deepak Chopra and his co-author for the book ‘You Are The Universe’ Menas Kafatos. The event, titled ‘Theatron of the Americas Honours the Country in Which Theatre Was Born’ will be streamed live on Facebook and Zoom and hosted by the founder of Theatron of the Americas, acclaimed actor and director Socrates Alafouzos. 

Insights Greece - Theatron of Americas Honors Greece's 200 Years of Independence
Founder, Socrates Alafouzos

Alafouzos created the non-profit company two years ago after moving to California from Athens in 2016. It was an initiative inspired by his love of Greek theatre and all it has – and continues to – offer to the world. “I wanted to create a professional theatre company of the highest standards,” he says, to create something like a home away from home for Greek theatre in the US. It had been a great dream of mine for a very long time, and I had full faith in realizing, as, step by step I did. Over the years I’ve developed a profound internal strength by facing and overcoming the hurdles of life and travelling on a long esoteric journey, and through that empowerment, I wanted to bring light to the world through this theatre company. Greek theatre is full of light – the messages and ideas that the playwrights brought to life through their plays are full of wisdom, philosophical thought, truths about life that still stand today,” he says.

“When I arrived in the US in 2016 (he had lived there as a young man too, having received a Fulbright Scholarship for acting, and had vowed to himself to return one day) I had no base. I knew no one and felt very insecure to be so far from home, family, friends, and the familiar. But I had to accept and deal with my insecurities and keep looking forward towards my dreams, the things that were so deeply important to me to express and share. In the same way, the Theatron of the Americas is an initiative that started as a dream and is slowly but surely materializing into a tangible way to respect Greek history as a light-filled source of civilization and have an ongoing presence in the modern world. Change can only occur through taking action and continuing to look ahead.”

Insights Greece - Theatron of Americas Honors Greece's 200 Years of Independence

The event, marking Greece’s Bicentenary since The War of Independence, is just one initiative by the Theatron of the Americas created to remind or educate the world about Greece’s singularly rich theatrical culture. The Theatron describes its mission as such:
The timeless messages presented in the works of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes are more relevant today than ever. As in the 5th Century BC, we experience fast and great progress in science and human knowledge about life: Greek tragedy deeply explores and uncovers the need and the vanity in people for power, control, and certainty. As in the 5th Century BC, modern society continuous to deal with the pressure between the brutal realities of war and the rhetoric of its politicians: Greek tragedy anatomizes this tension with painful insight. Moreover, Greek tragedy is fixated with conflict between the genders, between public and private duty and between self-control and a sense of helplessness in the face of the world’s violence: All this too finds a powerful echo with modern audiences.

Through theater, the great Athenian poets were giving voice to timeless human experiences, that when viewed by a large audience that had exposure to those experiences, nurtured compassion, understanding and a strongly felt interconnection. Through tragedy, the Greeks faced the darkness of human existence as a community.”

Insights Greece - Theatron of Americas Honors Greece's 200 Years of Independence

Alafouzos’ career as an actor included a wide array of roles in theatre, ancient theatre, television and cinema and who later successfully moved to film directing with the world-acclaimed and multi-awarded short movies ‘Little King’ and ‘Between Black and White’. In talking to IN+SIGHTS GREECE about the Theatron of the Americas he expressed the deeper dream of one day creating a physical theatre structure such as those in Epidaurus or the Odeon of Herod Atticus that will be dedicated entirely to honouring Greek theatre. Only in its second year, however, the Theatron is for now focusing on presenting its first production, the play Antigone by Sophocles, in the autumn of 2021.  Antigone is a timeless play whose themes of power, loyalty, tyranny, justice, and the position of women in society continue to resonate strongly today, as do many ancient dramas and comedies. 

“Especially with the way we are living today, since the Covid outbreak, which has forced us to look more within and question so much about the way we live out life and the way the world has been functioning, ancient theatre resonates with so many powerful questions and ideas that are completely relevant to us,” Alafouzos says. 

Apart from his dedication to the Theatron, Alafouzos has written the screenplay for a feature-length movie. “I wrote it three times,” laughs Alafouzos, “making the best of lockdown! This period gave me the chance to step back and take a good look at my original screenplay, and rework it in different ways, coming up with another two versions.” The film centres on the life of a young opera singer who is a single mother and a huge Maria Callas fan. Growing up listening to Maria Callas, her daughter makes the opera diva her imaginary friend when faced with a difficult experience. The film will have a strong musical element, featuring both classic pieces and modern compositions.   

Watch the livestream on Facebook here 

Celebrating 200 Years of Greece’s Independence

Tomorrow, March 25, 2021, marks an incredibly special day, as Greece celebrates its 200th Anniversary of Independence. 

On March 25 every year in Greece and among the diaspora, Greek Independence Day is commemorated with parades, ceremonies and celebrations- marking the country’s Revolution of 1821, against Ottoman rule. 

Celebrations may be different this year, with many events being cancelled due to restrictions, however, this historic moment is nonetheless just as important for Greece and will be honoured not only here but worldwide, as iconic landmarks across the globe are set to illuminate in blue and white. 

The year 2021 marks the bicentenary since the start of the Greek Struggle for Independence, which is a huge milestone.

Insights Greece - Celebrating 200 Years of Greece’s Independence

Festivities in Greece

March 25 is usually celebrated with rich Greek traditions and culture, including festivals with folk music, dancing and national costumes paraded around the country. From main cities to remote villages, locals celebrate this day with food and wine, with the traditional dish of the day being Bakaliaros Skordalias (fried salty cod with potato and garlic mash), which is made and served at festivals, taverns and family gatherings. 

Due to the country’s current restrictions, usual parades for the general public will not take place, however, a few very special events will mark the bicentenary of the Greek War of Independence, starting from this evening, March 24. This will include a reception at the newly re-opened National Gallery of Greece with special guests given a tour of the gallery. On Thursday, Greek Independence Day, soprano Anastasia Zannis will sing the national anthem as the Greek flag is hoisted at the Acropolis site in the morning. A liturgy will follow at Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens, before a wreath-laying ceremony at the Unknown Soldier Monument at Syntagma Square.

An impressive traditional military parade will then take place in the centre of Athens and will be attended by official guests; including foreign dignitaries and royals from the UK. 

Happy Greek Independence Day, Xronia Polla! 

*Images of Evzones at Syntagma Square by IN+SIGHTS GREECE © (Copyright) 

Celebrating 25th of March With Traditional Bakaliaro Skordalia 

Greeks worldwide celebrate the 25th of March as a double holiday- marking both a historical and religious occasion.

On this day, Greece commemorates the War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire, which led to the country’s liberation; and the Greek Orthodox Church celebrates the Annunciation of Theotokos, where Archangel Gabriel revealed to the Virgin Mary she would become the mother of Jesus Christ.

The country marks this double celebration with a special dish named “Bakaliaros Skordalia” which is codfish and mash potato with a garlic sauce. 

It is a custom across the country on this day is to eat crispy, fried cod, which needs some preparation from the day ahead. 

Happy Greek Independence Day!


Insights Greece - Celebrating 25th of March With Traditional Bakaliaro Skordalia 

For the cod

  • 1/2 kilogram boneless, dry salted cod
  • 1 x cup all-purpose flour
  • pepper to taste 
  • oil for frying
  • lemon and parsley to garnish (optional) 

Method for Bakaliaro 

  • Cut the dry cod into pieces. Soak in cool water, and keep in the refrigerator for 24 hours.  
  • Remove cod from the water and dry on a paper towel.
  • Season the flour with pepper and coat the cod pieces with the flour.
  • Add oil to a frying pan and allow to heat. When the oil is hot place cod and fry over medium heat. Turn cod over a few times to cook evenly and until it’s golden brown.  Roughly 17 minutes. 
  • Remove the cod from the frying pan and let drain on a paper towel-lined plate to soak up some of the excess oil.


For the skordalia

Insights Greece - Celebrating 25th of March With Traditional Bakaliaro Skordalia 

  • 5 x potatoes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 x garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup x red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 x cup lemon juice 
  • 1 cup oil

Method for the Skordalia

  • Peel the potatoes and cut them into cubes.
  • Bring a pot of water to a boil, add a tablespoon of salt and when the water has boiled add the potatoes.  
  • Boil until they are soft, approximately 20 minutes. 
  • While the potatoes are boiling, prepare your garlic.  Peel the garlic and grate. 
  • When the potatoes have boiled, drain and keep about a cup of stock. 
  • Allow potatoes to slightly cool.
  • Place potatoes in a large bowl and mash.  
  • Combine the lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, and grated garlic in a small mixing bowl and whisk until well combined. 
  • Pour the marinade over the mashed potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Mix until smooth. Pour potato stock into the mashed potatoes to thin the dip to your desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
  • Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley (optional). 

Main image courtesy of Akis Petretzikis 

Traditional Lagana for Kathara Deftera

Today is a very significant day in Greece as it’s Kathara Deftera (Clean Monday) and the start of Sarakosti, the Great Lent period before Greek Easter.

Kathara Deftera marks the beginning of abstaining from all meat, dairy, fish, and eggs. The traditional foods for today are calamari, octopus, prawns, olives, taramosalata, skordalia, and Lagana, which is a specially-made flat bread; that is only consumed on Clean Monday. With a sesame seed crust and a soft, airy inside, this recipe includes olive oil, however, those observing a strict fast can omit the oil. 

The quantities below are for four large loaves- halve or double if you would like to make less/more. 

Kali Sarakosti! 


– 1 kilo of all-purpose flour

– 18 grams dry yeast

– 1 tablespoon salt

– 2 tablespoons olive oil

– 1 tablespoon sugar

– sesame seeds for sprinkling

– 700 grams of lukewarm water


– Place the flour, yeast, and sugar in a big bowl and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon.

– Make a well in the centre and place olive oil, salt, and 2 cups of water and mix thoroughly with your hands.

– Add the third cup slowly and kneed mixture with your hands, until it becomes a smooth-like dough.

– Shape the dough into a ball, brush it lightly with olive oil and allow it to rise in a covered bowl for about 40 minutes.

– When ready, place the dough on your workbench, dusted with flour, and knead the dough again for another 5 minutes.

– Cut into 4 pieces.

– Place on lightly oiled baking sheets and shape into rectangular or oval loaves.

– Place on a baking tray and brush lightly with olive oil.

– Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

– Place in 200 degrees C oven and allow to bake for 30 minutes or until bread is golden brown.

Recipe and Images by IN+SIGHTS GREECE © (Copyright)