Just off Sokratous (Socrates) Street in the crowded market area of Athens on both sides of Athinas Street, you can peek into another world through a variety of doors.
Down below, through a basement door, is a κουτούκι (koutouki), once home to bouzouki players and the underground (literally, in this case) culture of rembetika, where spontaneous music and dance were performed along with the conviviality of food and drink. This is one of the last active koutoukia or underground tavernas in Athens. You can still get a decent midday meal here with a glass or two of χύμα (literally “bulk”, but translates as “wine from the barrel”), just don’t expect a menu.
The area is crowded with μαγαζιά (magazia), tiny shops reminiscent of the days before chain stores, high street shops and mini-markets. Many of these shops have goods spilling out of their single door. Through this door you can peek at all sorts of merchandise crammed into one room, a virtual Aladdin’s cave.
A peek into old Athens.
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