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  • The Ancient Agora has always been my favorite place in Athens. Right in the middle of the city, it is a place of memory, but of a unique kind. No monuments, almost, just spaces, foundations, with an inscription:"speakers' corner", "road to Piraeus", "bath"....

    Nothing remains but the flattened spatial organization of what was the city, leaving an empty space providing a basis for one's thoughts to form on; thoughts of the past, thoughts of the present, in this park, people wander, children play, almond and olive trees grow their fruits, cats and dogs rest... Thoughts of the past, of worlds gone, of people past, History and friends, all mixed in one big memory, in a living present.

    It took me years to discover the prison, in a remote place at the extremity of the park. I've never met anyone there. I always pay my tribute, go there and sit for a while...

    Then I go around the temple of Hephaestus, the only standing monument. The marbles are crippled by the bullets of the battles of world war II, as in a delicate attention from the stone not to be too heavy on us, and thus referring us to a world better known, that we can relate too.

    It is Sunday. It rains. 2.30 p.m.
    Few blocks from the Agora, on the porch of St. Irene church on Aiolou street, two homeless junkies help each other shooting their dose. Few hundred meters further, on Syntagma square, riot police are getting ready for the upcoming battle. Then I go down Panepistimiou street, toward Exarheia. The only people I meet are groups of young men in their twenties, sometimes a girl or two, dressed in black. They're heading toward Syntagma square. I'm going home.

    It is the magic of Athens, jumping 25 centuries in a hundred steps; swimming through layers of time, all of them real and alive. Still, sometimes, I'm not sure I was ever here....

    By the time I'm posting, the battle is on....
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