The hill of Strefi: An urban oasis in Athens
Nestled in the heart of Athens, a stone’s throw from Exarchia Square, lies the enchanting Hill of Strefi. This small but significant hill stands as a green haven amidst the bustling cityscape, offering a serene escape for locals and visitors alike.
With its lush vegetation and captivating views, Strefi Hill has become a popular destination for nature lovers and those seeking a peaceful retreat. The ascent of the hill may be modest, but it rewards its climbers with breathtaking panoramic views of Athens, revealing the city’s vibrant tapestry from a unique perspective.
One of the distinctive features of Strefi Hill is its vibrant and diverse ecosystem. Tall pine trees majestically line the paths, providing shade and shelter for visitors on warm summer days. As you explore further, you’ll discover pockets of wildflowers, aromatic herbs, and a variety of plant species that create a delightful sensory experience.
As you walk the paths of the hill, you’ll encounter charming meandering trails that take you to different parts of the landscape. These paths invite exploration and contemplation, allowing you to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature while feeling a world away from the urban environment.
Events and cultural activities in Strefi Hill
The Strefi Hill has also become a meeting place for community events and cultural activities. It serves as a stage for open-air concerts, art exhibitions and other creative endeavors, attracting locals and artists from all walks of life. The vibrant spirit of the Hill fosters a sense of community and belonging, creating a space where people can come together to celebrate and enjoy shared experiences.
Dog Walking in Strefi Hill
For dog owners, the Hill of Strefi offers an ideal environment for leisurely walks with their furry companions. The open spaces and tranquil surroundings provide ample room for dogs to explore, run and play. The hill’s pet-friendly atmosphere fosters a sense of camaraderie among dog owners, creating opportunities for socialization and the joy of seeing our four-legged friends interact.
Read more: dog walking in Athens
Whether you are looking for a quiet spot for a peaceful stroll, breathtaking views of the city, or a place to connect with nature and the community, the Hill of Strefi in Athens offers a captivating experience. It stands as a testament to the harmonious coexistence of nature and urban life, and reminds us of the importance of preserving and cherishing such green spaces in our cities.
Where does the name “Hill of Strefi” come from?
Strefis was the owner of a quarry on Strefis Hill, then called Agheshmos Hill, in the 1840s. Between 1924 and 1926, trees were planted, creating a beautiful green space on the outskirts of the city. For this reason, Emmanuel Benaki Street was then called Suburban Street.
The Strefi Hill from 1936 until today
In 1936, the first redevelopment of the area took place and the hill reached its present size and was called Pinacoton Grove. Since then, it was not until 1985 that the hill was redeveloped again and the open basketball court was created. Swings, a theater, walkways and more were added. Even though Athens was not a fortified city at that time, eight bomb shelters were built on the slopes of the hill as a precaution against aerial bombardment.
In those days, the hill was closed at 6 p.m., but that did not mean that life ceased. For a small fee, the keeper let couples take shelter, while many teenagers had their walks and first cigarettes by sneaking through openings in the barbed wire. For a few years, the hill was kept in good condition and was a magnet for the residents of Exarchia and the whole of Athens. From then on, the constant neglect and indifference of the Municipality towards the open spaces of Athens led to the degradation of Strefis Hill.
Since 2004, it has been cleaned daily, but this is not enough. It is necessary to plant trees, install a fire extinguishing system, reconstruct the playground and maintain it permanently. In addition, the lighting needs to be strengthened, events need to be organized, and refreshments need to be kept on the site to attract as many neighbors as possible, young and old.
But the hope is there. Hopefully you will still find children playing on the hill, couples enjoying the view, or groups of people hanging out on the grounds. If you’re lucky, you might catch one of the festivals with music or plays. Beautiful green trails, friendly tavernas, and of course the field, which is usually buzzing with new people.