The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Commemorating soldiers who have died in service to Greece, this tomb is guarded 24 hours a day by the Evzones or Presidential Guard.

TravelCurious Tip

The most important and elaborate changing of the guard, which includes a marching band, occurs weekly on Sundays at 11am.

In front of the Old Royal Palace in Syntagma Square lies the most important war memorial in Greece, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It commemorates every Greek soldier who has died fighting for his country, and as a result is a sombre place that demands the respect of visitors.


Elite Force

However, it is also spectacular in its own way. The Tomb is guarded by the Evzones, otherwise known as the presidential guard, a historically elite fighting force. Though their role is now predominantly ceremonial, the Evzones are still chosen from regular Greek army infantry units, with the requirement that they must be a minimum of 1.87m (6’2”) tall. As a result, their appearance is rather intimidating, and this effect is made all the more dramatic by the unusual uniform they wear. Their flamboyant attire is descended from that of the Klephts, warlike mountain Greeks who fought the occupying Ottoman forces from the 15th century onwards.


Fiery Discipline

These days the Evzones guard the tomb around the clock, and rotate personnel every hour on the hour in the elaborate “changing of the guard” ceremony. This involves marching up and down several times and stamping the ground hard with their right feet. The guards on duty also switch places every 15 minutes, but apart from this, they are absolutely motionless and at attention at all times. This was demonstrated in the most dramatic fashion in 2001, when a participant of a violent protest threw a Molotov cocktail at the wooden guardhouse. It immediately went up in flames, but the evzone on guard beside did not move until given the order to do so, at which point it could be seen by all that his uniform was partially on fire.


Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Athens
National Gardens
The site of an infamous pet monkey bite which changed European history, this central public park was commissioned by Queen Amalia in 1838.
Old Royal Palace
Overlooking Syntagma Square, this grand palace has been home to the Hellenic Government since 1934.
Syntagma Square
The central square of Athens with the Greek Parliament and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is the place where most of the major events of the last two centuries have taken place.
Guard change at the Tomb of the Unknown soldier
The Evzonoi accompanied by a military band, march from their barracks behind the Parliament Building, to the Tomb of the Unknown soldier where the change of guard's ceremony takes place every Sunday.
Ariston Bakery
Enjoy a coffee and a traditional pie in one of the oldest bakeries in Athens, operating since 1910.
Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens
The official church of Athens and the headquarters of the Archbishop of Greece.

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Athens Famous Landmarks & Hidden Gems: Private Walking Tour
Experience the glorious ancient city of Athens, one of the world’s best-preserved ancient cities, where venturing off the tourist drag is near impossible without a passionate, knowledgeable local guide. Enjoy the major landmarks, the hidden gems and a local coffee and pastry on us! 

On your private walking tour of Athens, you will:

  • Enjoy this fascinating orientation tour of the highlights and hidden gems of Athens with a private guide;
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Named after the goddess Athena, Greece’s capital is one of the world’s oldest cities, with a history spanning over 3,400 years, and human settlements believed to date back to the 11th millennium BC. Today, the city packs a heady punch of fascinating ancient history, and hip, gritty neighbourhoods all overlooked by the iconic Acropolis.

Enjoy meaningful insights from a local Athenian as you wander around the buzzing historic centre. As you explore the famed shopping street, Pandrossou Street, your guide will give you invaluable recommendations for the artisanal shops, and authentic restaurants - many of which are hidden in plain sight. 

On your walking tour, you’ll see several of the city's major attractions, including Hadrian’s Library, the Roman Agora, the Tower of the Winds, and the Lysicrates Monument, and hear their fascinating stories from your guide. You will be taken to one of the oldest bakeries in Athens, where you can enjoy a coffee and a traditional Greek pastry on us - while jotting down more expert recommendations for food! 

Your tour ends in front of the incredible Acropolis Museum - one of the most important museums in the world with art history stretching back 2400 years. It was ranked the 11th best museum in the world, and you are welcome to explore at your own pace. 
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