Plaka is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Athens, it is a magnificent cultural and historical center that still retains the glory of another era. Its busting streets are always full of people wandering around in awe of the beauty all around. Quaint little alleys and beautiful, neoclassical, architectural masterpieces create a setting unlike any other in the middle of the city. It is also where you can find the Melina Merkouri Café, which pays homage to the legendary Greek actress and politician, Melina Merkouri. One would say that Plaka is simply a little piece of heaven.
Under normal circumstances Plaka is full of smiling local people, tourists eager to uncover its wonderful secrets, light and life… However, as the pandemic of Covid-19 started spreading, the streets slowly started emptying, while the stores, museums and restaurants – along with the Melina Merkouri Café – started closing. A veil of melancholy covered this whimsical area, but a spark of hope always remained floating in the air. Since then, a very difficult period followed for all the small businesses of the neighborhood as they struggled to survive. Only a few people could be seen walking their dogs or simply taking a walk to escape the harsh reality and gain some power.
But life goes on, and so will Plaka! If anything, it will go on even stronger! The ancient monuments and the historical legacy are always going to be there. Most importantly, the people are still going to be there, full of drive to continue giving life to this neighborhood, each in their own special way and more connected to each other than ever. The streets will start flooding again, and, as always, visitors from every corner of the earth will come back to know and experience this place to the fullest. It goes without saying that the Melina Merkouri café will also open its doors once again, and its people will be there to greet you with a smile so big it will shine even under a protective mask!
In times like these, the preservation of every bit of history and cultural values is of the utmost importance… Because through embracing history we can learn, grow and overcome anything, even the hardest challenges! This is where the true essence of Plaka lies and it is what we have always been doing, and will keep on doing, here at the Melina Café. Just like this strong and determined woman, Melina Merkouri, would have wanted it herself.