Koutoukiα & Magaziα: A Peek into Old Athens

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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    • Shops like this tend to specialise and this one deals in cleaning supplies as well as plastic bags and cardboard boxes. I was in another one that was a cobbler’s dream shop – soles, shoe buckles, leather on spools for making laces, shoe forms, odd tools I couldn’t identify, and piles of every colour leather you could imagine. You never know what you might find.

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  1. Just love streets and areas like this, have written about similar areas in old Kathmandu, my wife’s original home. Our only visit to Greece was a week in Athens 25 years ago and we stayed in a small hotel on the edge of the Plaka and hardly strayed from that surrounding area except to visit Delphi and the port. Must go back to some of the islands before the legs and brain give out 😂👍🕉👫


  2. […] SueBee and KatWeekly Photo Challenge: Peek Weekly Photo Challenge: Peek – Wishing My Life Away Koutoukiα & Magaziα: A Peek into Old Athens – An Evolving Life » Weekly Photo Challenge: Peek Laresa Watkins WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge – Peek_2 – […]


  3. Hi Debi,
    Nice photos! We visited the market and had lunch at Diporta last month. The traditional dishes were delicious. I have photos of the same door, as well as, the door to the second entrance. Such a pity that graffiti is painted everywhere in Athens these days.


    • Almost a week from writing this post, we did (finally) eat at Diporto. It is fabulous – great atmosphere, great food and the old style retsina from the barrel. There was even spontaneous music! Will be going back again (and again).

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  4. […] To learn more about Diporto and see photos of the interior of the taverna, check out the following articles: Diporto: Time Travel Taverna by Culinary Backstreets, and To Diporto by Greek Gastronomy Guide. Also, stop by Debi’s blog, An Evolving Life, to read her post Koutoukia & Magazia: A Peek into Old Athens. […]


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