Athens Changing of the guard

Location: Syntagma

The Changing of the Guard in Athens takes place every hour by the military unit whose members stand proudly in perfect stillness in front of the Parliament.
Every Sunday morning at 11:00, people gather in Syntagma Square to watch the official changing of the guards, the military unit whose members stand proudly in perfect stillness in front of the Hellenic Parliament. There are changes every hour of the day, but on Sundays, the official ceremony with the official costumes takes place.

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.).

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More information about the Changing of the Guard

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 changes 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 of the Presidential Guard has a historical meaning. It refers to the uniform of klephts and armatoles, two groups of Greek warriors during the War of Independence against the Ottomans (1821). In fact, it is said that the white skirt of the uniform has 400 folds to represent the 400 years of Ottoman occupation the Greeks lived through. It was established by King Otto and he himself wore it during his official appearances.

The uniform consists of:
• the farion - the Evzone's fez, made from red baize and featuring a black silk tuft and the Greek coat of arms
• a white shirt with loose sleeves
• the fermeli - the handmade waistcoat with several delicate shapes sewn on it
• the fustanella - the Greek kilt, the making of which requires 30 meters of white cloth.
• four socks - two on each leg
• the anaspastos - the leather belt that holds the socks
• the tsarouchia - the red, traditional, leather shoes, with a black tuft in front. Each shoe weighs three kilos.
• blue and white fringes, representative of the Greek flag
• silk garters
• leather cartridge cases
All guards also carry a shotgun. It is the most difficult piece to carry, not only because of its weight but also because of 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 fermeli and the fustanella 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.
During official ceremonies, the Evzones also wear the traditional costumes of Crete and Pontus, as a recognition of the contribution of these regions in the national fights.

How to get there

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

Tours: Watch the Changing of Guard with an organized tour.

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) 18288, (0030) 18222, (0030) 18180. You can also book your taxi online.

On foot: As the Changing of Guard takes place outside the Greek Parliament in a central area of Athens, it can be easily reached on foot from Syntagma (Blue Line) metro station, in approximately 2 minutes.

By metro: The closest metro station is Syntagma (Red Line and Blue Line). 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.

By tram: The closest tram stop is Syntagma (Route 6, Syntagma-Pikrodafni). Get a map of the tram here.



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.