Syntagma Square is the heart of modern Athens, and over the last few decades has been home to the city’s best Christmas decorations and festivities. Among other things, Athens endeavors to erect one of the largest Christmas trees in Europe every year in Syntagma Square. This tree and the other decorations, along with live entertainment that the square has become famous for, has made Syntagma Square a huge draw for locals and visitors at Christmastime.
Syntagma Square is at the center of old Athens, and is home to many major sites, from the Greek Parliament building to the national Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Every year at Christmas, Syntagma Square is transformed into the Christmas village known as “Sugar City”, where candy and toys are to be had at what is effectively a mini-Christmas market. The plaza is also famous for the live entertainment that takes place during the holidays, from choirs singing Christmas carols to traditional Greek dancing troupes.
The centerpiece of the decorations is always a towering Christmas tree decked out in red and gold decorations. Every year the Syntagma Christmas tree vies for the title of tallest/largest in Europe, but it is always up against stiff competition from other cities. Still, it is always one of the largest, and by most standards certainly one of the most beautiful. On an interesting historical note, Greece’s most famous Christmas tree was burned to the ground in 2008 by angry rioters. Athenian police now keep the area under constant surveillance during the holidays to avoid a repeat of the incident.
Syntagma Square is located in the older districts on the southwest side of Athens a few blocks from the Acropolis. It is a public square and an open site. The decorations are lighted up nightly throughout most of December and early January. As of this writing, no information was available for the hours of Sugar City or for any entertainment schedule. Web: www.visitgreece.gr/en/main_cities/athens (official tourism website of Greece)