Syntagma Square (Constitution Square), is located in central Athens, Greece. The Square is named after the Constitution that King Otto was forced to grant to the people, after a popular and military uprising on September 3, 1843. It is the oldest and socially most important square of post-Ottoman Athens, at the epicentre of all commercial and touristic activity throughout the nineteenth century.
The stairs emerge below between a pair of outdoor cafes, and are a popular city-centre gathering place. Syntagma also includes two green areas to the north and south, planted with shade trees, while in the center of the square a large water fountain traditionally hosts the occasionally sighted Syntagma pigeons, along with heat-tormented Athenians during the summer. The Greek Parliament is immediately across Amalias Avenue to the east, and surrounded by the extensive National Gardens, which are open to the public; the Parliament itself is not open to the public, even when not in session.
Every hour, the changing of the guard ceremony, performed by the Presidential Guard, is conducted in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on the area between the square and parliament. On Sundays and official holidays, the ceremonial changing of the guard takes place with an army band and the majority of the 120 Evzones present at 11am. Over the last two years, the Square has been the focus of mass protests, including an occupation of the square with tents and other provisions. Some of the demonstrations have amassed crowds of the order of 10,000 persons, according to police reports, 50,000 from other sources. Since the inception of the "Unity Government", the occupation has been removed from the Square and demonstrations are rather less frequent.
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