Brush with Modernity

It’s a typical Wednesday evening in Retsina, the scruffy industrial area behind Piraeus port. Traffic snarls up the backstreets, where mechanics smoke on plastic armchairs outside their workshops. Dockworkers pause for a beer on their way home. But one street has been cordoned off for a street party. The aroma of souvlaki grilling in a food truck mingles with the whiff of WD40 in a machine shop, glowing moodily under red spotlights. Bottles tinkle in coolers outside Paleo wine bar. Psychedelic armchairs made from flotsam and jetsam populate Rodeo, a gallery in a barely repurposed warehouse. Women in extravagant frocks pose with white balloons printed with portraits of cats at The Intermission gallery, which is celebrating its opening night. Welcome to the art scene in Athens, a city emerging from financial ruin to forge a new identity based on its oldest commodity: culture.

Read on to discover why Athens is the most happening cultural capital in Europe right now.