Omonia Square Plateía Omonoías Concord Square, often simply referred to as Omónia, is a central square of Athens. It marks the northern corner of the downtown area defined by the city plans of the 19th century, and is one of the city’s principal traffic hubs. It is served by Omonia train station.
The circle accesses 3 Septemvriou Street in the north (September 3, exit), Patission Street, Panepistimiou Street (entrance), Agiou Konstantinou Street in the west (formerly entrance/exit, now exit), Panagi Tsaldari Street accessing Pireos Street (formerly entrance/exit, now entrance), Athinas Street (entrance/exit) in the south and now a walkway, while Stadiou Street (named after the ancient Stadium) in the southeast (exit) once continued the circle.
The square’s traffic route from the 19th century until 1998 once more fully circumvented the centre with six streets, of which five also functioned as entrances and exits. From the 19th century to the 1950s, the area’s layout more literally approached that of a square, framed by broad paths to the edges and centrally, and surrounded by neoclassical buildings. The square’s focus also featured a shading arc of palm trees until the 1950s, and a central fountain until 2000 ; while almost a century ago, ceremonial cannon were once aligned in a central circle.
The square including its trees were later and to great criticism demolished, except for the fountain, to make room for the ever-increasing traffic. The area now formed a pentagon facing northwest and greener hexagon to the northeast, with a central circle. Road areas continued to encroach on the previous design in the shape of a circle totaling four lanes, with part of the former road nevertheless transformed into a larger open pedestrian space; but half the neoclassical buildings in the western and northern areas were removed, although some neoclassical structures remain in the northern part and along Athinas Street.
Trees were later replanted within Omonoia Square, and encircled the fountain once again. When part of the square was shut down for renovation ahead of the Athens 2004 Summer Olympics, it was decided to eliminate traffic from the west and east sides, reducing it to the westbound lanes at the southern section and the eastbound lanes at the south leaving one route.
Sporting celebrations have recently been held here, including following Greece’s victory in the Eurobasket 2005 finals and in winning the championship. Other sporting successes, such as the Euro 2004 tournament, when people climbed the ‘Five – ring‘ sculpture to celebrate with national flags, have also tended to be celebrated here.
After its transformation in 2003 the square lost some of its former value and prestige, but nevertheless continues to represent a multicultural place and point of communication, as a transportation hub for thousands throughout the day. Two of its most recognizable buildings are the old neoclassical hotels of the area ; the “Bagkeion” and “Megas Alexandros”, located side by side on either side of Athinas street. The Pentakiklon (‘Five – ring’ sculpture) has its own story ; placed in the square in 2001, it functioned fully during the Christmas of 2008, when water ran in the sculpture for the first time, transforming the circles into motion.