Change of Guard in Syntagma Square Athens, Greece

WARNING: This post has 21 pictures.The change of guard takes place at the Monument of the Unknown Soldier, in front of Parliament, Syntagma Square, Athens every hour no matter what the weather is. It is said that the change of guards on a Sunday at 11 AM is worth watching, it is more elaborate one. We had to be content watching the simple one as we were there on a week day.

The monument is guarded by Presidential guards known as Evzones. As we stood there waiting for the clock to strike 10 and for the drama to begin 3 well dressed guards marched into the square. Any first timer would be struck with awe at the graceful, yet firm rigid movements of the soldiers. They wear their traditional 19th century costume from southern Greece; the skirt with several neat pleats attracts attention. The shoes aren’t boots as one expects them to be, but deep red colored slipons (each is said to 3kgs.). The guys are huge. One has to be more than 6 feet tall to get selected for this prestigious role.

Photo Essay on Change of Guard in Syntagma Square Athens

The guards stand in front of their guard house motionless. As the new guards who are to replace them march in, the old guards start a kind of slow motion march dragging their foot backward, then raising that leg out straight before taking each step. They do a small drill lifting their guns, every action done very slowly. The new guards march towards them and they exchange their places.

Change of Guard in Syntagma Square
Change of Guard in Syntagma Square Athens Greece
The new guards march off to replace the old ones.
The old and the new guard do some drills together.
The old guards marching off.(could those shoes be 3kgs, really?)
The old guards join the main guard who escorted the new guards.
Three of them now march off, the soldiers in normal uniform saluting them as they cross.

A cross over takes place, the new guard at the right goes to the left, the one in the left to right.

Their movements are so symmetric and interesting to capture in lens.
The tassels, pleats all ruffled after the march.
A soldier in normal uniform adjusts the pleats and sets the tassels flat on the skirt, foustanela.

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54 Responses

  1. Hilary says:

    A fine series of captures, Indrani. I couldn't help but hear Zorba the Greek in my head though. Must be the uplifted legs and hands.

  2. I really like this set of photos! I would love to see this in person. They must be in terrific shape!

  3. ladyfi says:

    Fabulous shots. I just love their uniform.

  4. TexWisGirl says:

    what neat uniforms and a great tradition.

  5. Sylvia K says:

    This is one of my favorite memories of Greece!!! I did love watching the changing of the guard!! Thanks so much for sharing these, Indrani!! Hope you have a great new week!!

  6. I love those guards. They are stunning. I wouldn't have been able to resist posting 21 pictures either πŸ™‚

  7. DIMI says:

    Hello Indrani!!
    Wow!!Great series of pictures!!You can see the change of guard every day in from of the Greek Parliament house!Amazing captures!!Thank you for sharing!
    Dimi…

  8. Your posts make me yearn for seeing the places you describe so well embellished with eye catching pictures.

  9. Gail Dixon says:

    The images are wonderful! Enjoyed watching all the pageantry.

  10. Aunt Mary says:

    Awesome pictures, whole act of guards changing their places is looking beautiful πŸ™‚

  11. Nice shots. The Shoes have metal horseshoe and spikes. so can be 3kg πŸ™‚

  12. that i something cool πŸ™‚

  13. Gattina says:

    I have a lot of pictures of them too ! Was interesting to watch !

  14. Wonderful captures.. One of the marvellous and most useful inventions of digital era is the digicams..How easliy are we transported to the scene without being there.. thanks for sharing Indrani..

  15. eileeninmd says:

    Hello Indrani, what a cool thing to watch. I like the uniforms. A great series of photos! Thanks for sharing.. Have a happy day!

  16. What a fascinating drill. The dresses are gorgeous. !

  17. Nima Das says:

    lovely photography!

  18. Splendid captures, Indrani! Loved watching their costume… Do those shoes actually weigh 3kg???

  19. Jeevan says:

    Wow! Excellent series and absolutely stunning capture with the pretty yet prideful process… I also find the custom of changing guards every hour and their unique attire very interesting. Impressive!

    Worth checking post despite the warning!

  20. ashok says:

    The dress is rather cute …doesn't give an "Γ€rmy"feel :)…but thats the beauty of different cultures!

  21. Mridula says:

    And all of them are equally delightful!

  22. Fun60 says:

    They are in such perfect time with each other and so well captured. Fascinated by the metal horseshoe on the heel of their shoes. Great photos.

  23. 21 photos..equally enjoyed..:-)

  24. Carver says:

    I love the shots of the changing of the guard. Looks like quite a dance to me.

  25. colleen says:

    How weird can uniforms get. It looks more like a ballet!

  26. Al says:

    That looks like something to see – their costumes are very distinctive.

  27. Super series. I liked the dress.

  28. Felicia says:

    this must have been wonderful to see.

    there uniforms are quite lovely and the shoes are very interesting.

  29. NewsVarsha says:

    Queer uniform..funny drill.Pictures are eye feasting.

  30. Beautiful and fascinating pictures.

  31. Great shots…. even I wondered about the shoes!!!

  32. Beautiful shots. Great.

  33. D.Nambiar says:

    3 kgs? Whoa!
    Interesting uniforms, I see.
    Watching that must have been something.

  34. Anita says:

    Interesting!
    Wonderful pics, Indrani πŸ™‚

  35. Thats such beautiful pictures Indrani.Loved watching them πŸ™‚

  36. Beautiful Photographs! A good Presentation….

  37. Their traditional uniforms look beautiful but a bit clumsy. I wonder how they manage the march and parades so neatly in this uniform. A wonderful thing to witness. Thanks for sharing it all in the photographs.

  38. Funny and interesting

  39. SJ says:

    Interesting shots! Final shot of the uniform adjustment shows the human part of the otherwise mechanised ritual…

  40. Nice pictures of you in Greece. Tomorrow we go to Holland for Christmas holiday.
    Greetings Albert and Mara

  41. beautiful uniform .. and they look smart

    Bikram’s

  42. Freda says:

    What unique and interesting uniforms.

  43. Jayanthi says:

    Your pictures are so precise and well taken. Transported me right there.

  44. Tami says:

    I have viewed this ceremony in person, and it really IS quite amazing to watch. Impressive photos. You captured it all quite well!

  45. danik says:

    Wow, never seen this before. Loving the photos and the uniforms are very stylish πŸ™‚

  46. sherianne says:

    What an unique thing to experience while in Athens! Would love to see this, pinning it for the future!

  47. Wow, I on’t think I have ever seen uniforms like this. I used to work near Buckingham Palace in London an the guard uniforms look very different indeed.

  48. Rachael says:

    What a beautiful and impressive ceremony! Changing of the Guard ceremonies are so neat to see.

  49. Such majestic pageantry. It must have been really something in person.

  50. I love watching changes of the guard and I try to see them whenever I’m around one. I served in the military so I guess that’s why it means a lot to me. Plus I love seeing the uniforms; especially more traditional ones like this one. It’s crazy that you have to be over six feet to be able to do it though!

  51. Carol Colborn says:

    Love changing of the guards but this Greek one has pluses: their cute uniform and their leg lifts!!!

  52. Megan says:

    You did a great job capturing the ceremony. I’ve only been to the changing of the guards at the grave of the unknown soldier in Washington DC. It would be interesting to watch them elsewhere around the globe. Thanks for sharing.

  53. Chrysoula says:

    I live in Athens and the change of the Guards is something I love watching from time t time. Your photos are amazing by the way!

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