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.

Related Tours

Private Walking Tour of Athens, including Changing of the Guard, Monastiraki, and Plaka
In Athens - one of the world’s finest preserved ancient cities - venturing off the tourist drag is near impossible to perfect without a local guide, and worth every moment of serenity.  On your private walking tour of Athens, you will:

  • Get yourself oriented in the city with the help of a private guide, including helping you navigate the famed Monastiraki area shops and restaurants. 
  • See the highlights of the historical center in a matter of hours, including Athens Cathedral 
  • Enjoy personalised attention from your expert guide, who will be able to answer any of your questions from the city and country’s history to where to enjoy the best dinners
  • See the Greek Changing of the Guard in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier 
  • Enjoy a coffee and traditional Greek pastry at a local bakery.
  • See some of Ancient Greece's most iconic sites, including Hadrian's Library, Arch and the Roman Agora. 
  • Walk through the charming Plaka district, with its white staircases, cafe's and terraces.
  • End your tour by the Acropolis Museum, which you are free to explore at your own pace. 
Greece’s capital ranks amongst the world’s oldest cities, with 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 absorbing ancient history and hip, gritty neighbourhoods overlooked by the Acropolis even in Athen’s furthest reaches. 

Enjoy meaningful insights from a local Athenian as you wander the historic centre with a local. As you explore the famed shopping street, Pandrossou street, your guide will give you invaluable recommendations for the artisanal shops which are hidden in plain sight. 

On your walking tour you’ll see several of the major attractions, including: Hadrian’s Library, the Roman Agora, Tower of he Winds, and Lysicrates Monument, all of which your guide will give you the history of. Your guide will take you to one of the oldest bakeries in Athens, where you can enjoy a coffee and a traditional Greek pastry, while jotting down more expert recommendations. Your tour ends in front of the Acropolis, which you are welcome to explore at your own pace. 



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