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GreekReporter.comGreek NewsCultureTen Greek Souvenirs to Take Home from Athens, Greece

Ten Greek Souvenirs to Take Home from Athens, Greece

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Items featuring the Mati are among great souvenirs you can purchase while in Athens, Greece. Credit: Greek Reporter

Many — or let’s face it, all — people who visit Greece want to take home a little piece of this spectacular country with them in the form of souvenirs when they leave.

With so very many items to choose from, it can be hard to pick the best souvenirs to pack with you in your limited luggage space, but there are a number of high-quality items that embody Greece and will leave you nostalgic for the country.

Post cards

Post cards featuring stunning Greek landscapes, archaeological sites, and artworks are a great souvenir because you can either send them home to your loved ones to show them snapshots of your vacation, or you can keep them for yourself to decorate your home with after you return from your trip.

Unique postcards can be found all across Greece, with many sold in kiosks on the streets, souvenir shops, and even in museums, where you can purchase post cards featuring images of individual works of art.

Mati, or the Evil Eye

When you are visiting Greece, you will see people wearing a blue and white eye everywhere you go. The symbol has even become trendy in many other parts of the world.

The symbol, called “the evil eye,” or “mati” in Greek, is rooted in the superstition that someone’s glance at you — particularly if fueled by jealousy — can hex you, manifesting in unpleasant physical symptoms like headaches.

While there are some Greeks who don’t actually believe in the mati, many in the country still do, and they even go to special “healers” who can cure them of the hex. You can easily avoid being cursed by the evil eye by wearing the color blue or the evil eye amulet, however.

It’s a common gift for young babies as well as beautiful young women, who are often subjects of jealousy. In addition to its powers, the mati is a very appealing and iconic symbol in itself, and makes a wonderful souvenir that is rooted in Greek culture.

Souvenirs inspired by ancient Greek sculptures

Ancient Greek statues are known across the world for their great beauty and cultural significance. After visiting the country’s countless impressive museums and archaeological sites, you may wish to take a piece of antiquity back home with you.

Luckily, there are many shops in Athens that sell beautiful replicas of ancient artworks as well as other pieces inspired by ancient sculptures.

There is even a school that trains artists and sculptors to create perfect replicas of ancient masterpieces that will later be sold in shops.

The exact copies of the most iconic pieces of ancient Greek art are made by hand, with great expertise, by talented sculptors, painters, conservationists and craftsmen at Athens’ Archaeological Resources Fund workshops.

The workshops are under the control of the Greek Ministry of Culture, which supports their efforts to replicate masterpieces of Greek art for private sale, educational purposes, or even for exhibitions.

Both workshops, one located in Athens and the other in Pella, in northern Greece, are equipped with the cutting edge tools needed in order to allow the artists and craftsmen to recreate the masterpieces with the greatest level of accuracy and beauty possible.

T-Shirts and Dresses

Updated, fashionable dresses inspired by ancient Greek fashion are wonderful souvenirs from Athens that you will likely wear for years to come. Many of these dresses are made in light, gauzy cotton that is perfect for the summer heat, and are adorned with the wonderfully Greek “meander” pattern that screams “Greek goddess.”

If you’re not interested in dresses, there are also many unique Greek t-shirts that feature ancient Greek phrases, designs, or monuments available, and they are very easily packed into your suitcase.

Ancient Greek wreaths and jewelry as souvenirs from Athens

Inspired by the Greek goddesses? You can look just like Aphrodite or Athena with a golden olive wreath hairband to put in your hair, or a piece of ancient Greek-inspired jewelry to take home with you.

Pieces like these can be found all across Athens, but are quite rare outside of Greece. Putting a golden olive wreath in your hair will likely be a wonderful conversation starter back home, as it is an iconic symbol of Greece.

Greek sandals

When many people think of ancient Greek clothing, the first thing they think of are graceful leather sandals. Referenced in mythology as the preferred footwear of Hermes, the messenger of the gods, sandals have remained an important clothing item in Greece throughout the millennia.

The trendy ancient Greek leather sandals come in various styles and many of them are genuine Greek products, handmade in the country, using natural leather, stones and accessories from Greece.

Craftsmen trained in creating the highest-quality leather sandals inspired by ancient Greece can be found all across Athens, and a pair of the unique shoes, made to fit you perfectly, is a great souvenir.

They are also perfect to take with you on a summer trip to the Greek islands!

Komboloi

The Komboloi, or worry beads, may be one of the most typical symbols of Greece’s easy-going mentality that has become widely known both in Greece and Cyprus since the middle of the 20th century.

Yet the history of the komboloi and its origins date back to time immemorial, when monks on Mount Athos began making strands of beads by tying knots on a string at regular intervals in order to say their prayers to God.

However, in modern times worry beads are often not meant for religious or ceremonial purposes but are used for relaxation.

Whether on the street, on an airplane or in a busy kafeneion downtown, you will find people playing with their worry beads in different manners, even doing flips and tricks with them, letting go of their stress and worries as one bead moves deliberately towards the other.

Worry beads may be constructed from any type of bead, although amber, amber resin (such as faturan), and coral are preferred, as they are thought to be more pleasant to handle than non-organic materials such as metal or stone.

On their own, Greek worry beads are extremely beautiful works of craftsmanship, and make great souvenirs even if they are just for display at home.

Olive Oil

Greek olive oil is synonymous with Greek tradition, as well as its healthy diet and its rich history. The “Liquid Gold” of the country, as Homer called it, is an irreplaceable nutritional component for every Greek person.

Ancient Greeks consumed olive oil for a healthy, long life — both as food, or as an essential treatment for the skin and hair.

Today, olives and olive oil are staples in a Greek home, where they are used in salads or as an essential ingredient in much of Greek cuisine.

Many visitors to the country notice an immediate difference in taste and quality in terms of Greek olive oil compared to oils from other countries, and bringing a bottle home as a souvenir can help you keep the flavors of Greece alive.

Mugs

Mugs are useful souvenirs that can help you remember your trip to Greece every morning when you drink your cup of coffee. High-quality cups and mugs from Greece usually feature images from ancient Greek vases, or even patterns found throughout Greek art. Some even show images of the country’s most iconic monuments and sites.

Whether for yourself or for your loved ones at home, mugs from Athens will definitely be a great souvenir to take home with you.

Magnets as souvenirs from Greece

Many people collect magnets from each place they’ve visited so they can have a fridge full of their favorite travel memories. In almost every place you visit in Greece, you can find a unique magnet featuring some special site or feature of the place that you’re in, making them a great way to keep track of everywhere you visited while traveling in the country.

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