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Landscapes of the islands are the most demanded Greek souvenirs

07 August 2014 / 11:08:21  GRReporter
3578 reads

Simona Peneva

Plaka Square in Athens has always been one of tourists’ favourite places that they visit the most. It is located under the Acropolis, near the Temple of Zeus. In addition to the opportunity of going shopping tourists have the chance to explore the city, as it was a hundred years ago, to visit museums, restaurants and cafes.

In Ancient Greece, this place was an administrative, philosophical, educational, social, cultural and especially an economic centre of the city. Its name is the Ancient Market. It is crossed by Panathineon Street that leads to the Parthenon. The shops on both sides of the street are numerous and offer customers a wide choice. Tourists can buy a variety of accessories, clothes, shoes, figurines, souvenirs, table cloths, paintings, icons and all sorts of items to remind them of their visit to the capital of Greece. In addition, they can find in the Ancient Market gladiator sandals arranged next to ethereal white dresses with embroidered gold olive leaves that are typical of Greece. However, small souvenirs that reproduce landscapes of beautiful Greek islands and cities seem to draw the greatest interest.

While every third shop in Plaka Square sells such souvenirs, only one shop offers tourists oil paintings, engravings and old maps and it is regularly open to customers. "Canvas" shop has been in the Ancient Market for ten years already. Its owner says that the number of customers is higher this year but their purchasing power is lower. The shop for paintings is visited mainly by tourists from third world countries such as Kenya, India, Nigeria. Some time ago, Russians were the most regular customers of the shop that is now frequently visited by Americans as well. The lowest is the number of tourists from Europe and northern Greece.

Customers are most interested in price. The owner of the "Canvas" shop says that the first question of every tourist is "How much is this painting?" and "At what discount will you sell it to me?" The shop offers paintings worth from 3 to 1,100 euro. Art connoisseurs who are collectors or see which painting is the work of a professional painter always spend more on purchases whereas ordinary tourists usually buy paintings worth about seventy euro on average. Fifteen to twenty customers enter the shop every day, but a successful day is when it sells one of the expensive paintings.

The shop owner buys the paintings from artists who work in the area of ​​the Acropolis and from students whose paintings are cheaper. Best selling are those paintings that depict landscapes of the Greek islands, and especially of Santorini. Second ranks the Parthenon followed by all other Greek areas. The choice available to customers is huge. Competition is not great because there is only one such shop in the area that is rarely open to customers.

The owner of the "Canvas" painter’s shop is planning to make some improvements in the future. It is most important for him to offer products made in Greece and not ​​in China, like the majority of the shops do.

According to the vendors in the Ancient Market, however, about 30% of the tourists who visit Athens do not go to Plaka Square as cars often pass along the street that crosses the Ancient Market. This hampers the smooth movement of tourists as well as the business of shopkeepers in this area. "It is high time to solve this problem. It has existed for so many years. We do not profit from this and, moreover, we chase away the tourists who seem to have started actively visiting Turkey," notes the owner of the shop for paintings.

Tags: Souvenirs from GreeceLanscape of SantoriniView to the AcropolisPlakaAthens
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