If you are in Athens on a Sunday, you should definitely make your way to the Syntagma Square at 11:00 am for the changing of the guards. Although the changing of the guards happens every day at 11:00, the performance on Sunday has more participants and more elaborate uniforms. There can be large crowds, so you might want to arrive a little early to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which sits in the square outside of the Parliament Building and the Presidential Mansion.
The guards are part of a special military unit called the Evzones and are carefully chosen for the honor to participate based upon their height, fitness, and character. Prior to the start of the ceremonial changing, the guards stand perfectly still and emotionless, very similar to the guards at Buckingham Palace in London. The guards make very dramatic, synchronized movements as the new guards trade places with the previous guards. The special uniforms that the guards where adds to the pageantry of the performance, which is beautiful and somber at the same time.
Having had the opportunity to see both the changing of the guards in London as well as at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery outside of Washington D.C., it was definitely an experience that rivaled either of those, although they are very different. If you have the opportunity to see this very unique ceremony, it will be an experience that you will always remember. There is something truly special about watching members of the military honoring those soldiers who have given their lives to protect their native lands.
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