Athens Changing of Guards

Location: Syntagma

The Changing of the Guards in Athens Greece: The change of the guards takes place every hour by the military unit whose members stand proudly in perfect stillness in front of the Parliament.
But every Sunday morning at 11 am, you can watch the official ceremony of the changing of the guards with the official dresses.

The Evzones is a special unit of the Hellenic Army, also known as Tsoliades, who guard the Monument of the Unknown Soldier in front of the Hellenic Parliament and the Presidential Mansion. The monument is a cenotaph created between 1930 and 1932, dedicated to Greek soldiers who were killed during times of war. It depicts a dead soldier lying down while holding a shield and wearing an ancient Greek-style helmet.
Throughout the long history of Greece, the Evzones have become symbols of bravery and courage for the Greek people.
The Presidential Guard, as the unit is now called, was constituted in 1868 and has taken many names through centuries (Guard of the Flag, Royal Guard, etc).

The duties of the soldiers are part of a ceremonial nature. Every soldier guards for about an hour, 3 times in total every 48 hours.
Throughout these 60 minutes, they have to stand perfectly still until it is time to switch with another guard.
During the changing, they work in pairs so they can perfectly coordinate their moves.
The steps that the official ceremony requires at the time of changing are carried out in really slow motion to protect their blood circulation after 60 min of immobility.

The soldiers of the Presidential Guard are selected according to their height, excellent physical condition, and psychological state as well as character and morality, as they follow hard training before they become part of this honorary unit. The training lasts for one month and includes exercises to keep the body and mind still. Apart from staying still, the soldiers must also not make any face or eye move and must not show any expression.

Their uniform has a historical meaning. It refers to the uniform of the Kleftes and Armatoloi, two groups of Greek warriors during the War of Independence in (1821) against the Ottomans.
In fact, the white skirt of the uniform has 400 folds to represent the 400 years of Ottoman occupation over the Greeks.

The uniform consists of:
- the phareon, which is the Evzone's hat, made from red baize with a black tuft
- the white shirt with loose leaves
- the phermeli, which is the waistcoat and it is the most difficult part to construct, handmade with many shapes wrought on it
- the Greek kilt (or else foustanella), its structure requires 30 meters of white cloth
- the tsarouchia, the traditional shoes of Evzones which are red, made of leather, with a small tuft in front. Each shoe weighs three kilos
- the fringes, blue and white standing for the Greek flag
- the garters which are made of silk
- the leather belt
- the inside garnet
- and the gun which is the most difficult piece to carry, not only for its gravity but also for the physical pressure that exerts on the soldier's body.

This is the official version of the uniform that the Evzones wear only on Sundays and National holidays.
On other days, the white shirt, the phermeli and the Greek kilt are replaced by the doulamas, a special uniform that the soldiers of the Macedonian Struggle (1904-1908) used to wear.
This uniform is blue in winter and brown in summer.

In official ceremonies, the Evzones also wear the traditional uniforms of Crete and Pontus, as recognition of the contribution of these regions in the national fights.

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How to get there

There are many ways to reach the Greek Parliament and watch the Changing of Guards, from any location in Athens.

Tours: Watch the Changing of Guards with an organized tour, starting from 61 euros.

Private transfers: We recommend using an online pre-booked transfer service, which provides transfer by taxi, minibus or private VIP car and arranging a pickup directly from the port, airport or your hotel. Alternatively, there’s the option of arranging a pickup by a local driver directly at the following numbers: 0030 693 881 8288, 0030 694 597 2090, 0030 690 943 9292 or book your taxi online.

On foot: As the Changing of Guards takes place outside the Greek Parliament in a central area of Athens, it can be easily reached on foot from Syntagma metro station, in approximately 3 minutes.

By metro: The closest metro station is “Syntagma” on lines 2 and 3. Get a map of the metro here.

By bus/trolleybus: Since Syntagma is one of the most central regions in Athens, there are many bus stops nearby. Check the routes and the official timetables on OASA Telematics.



1 Reviews
  • Fiona Green 11 Nov 2022
    Fascinating to watch

    This is fascinating to watch. The soldiers’ control and professionalism are testimony to the hours of training they must undergo to give such a flawless performance.