The Evzones (Greece’s Presidential Guard) can be seen at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Athen’s Syntagma Square and next to the Hellenic Parliament in Athens, where they stand guard.
Evzones are also responsible for raising and lowering the Greek flag at the Acropolis right after sunrise.
Now you know where to go if you want to take some great photos of the Evzones in Athens.
From time to time, the Greek Evzones travel around the world, visiting other cities outside of Greece for ceremonial duties.
I couldn’t pass up the chance to see the Evzones after my friend Kosta who appears in my Jason and the Argonauts Myth Tribute, told me they were coming to town.
Evzones go on trips to other countries for events such as commemorating ‘Oxi day’ and ANZAC day.
For example, Greek Evzones have visited Melbourne and Sydney to participate in the ANZAC day march, a special day of remembrance for Australians and New Zealanders who’ve died during war or conflict.
On this occasion, the Evzones visited for Oxi (Ohi) day celebrations.
The thought of taking photos of the Evzones wearing their traditional clothing seemed like it would be an interesting thing to do, so I went to see them. Here’s what happened.
The Evzones Collection: Evzones from Greece in Australia
Here you can see me standing next to a very tall Greek Evzone, one of the members of the elite military unit.
Incredibly, the esteemed Evzones photographer Nick Bourdaniotis from Greek City Times took this instant photo with my camera.
Nick is a professional photographer who has been instrumental in the worldwide success of the Greek news website Greek City Times. He has even created a photography exhibition: The Evzones Collection.
The photo collection showing Greece’s Presidential Guard includes top-quality photos from Greece and Australia. Nick even created a coffee table book about the Evzones.
I can thank Kosta for asking Nick to take my photo. He took the image using my Polaroid SX-70 sonar model camera, and I think the pic turned out pretty good.
However, I probably should have set the light/dark dial just a touch lighter. Nevertheless, I’m still happy with the result, though my right-hand pose could have been better.
Evzones Requirements: How to Join the Evzones?
You have to be hand-picked to join the ranks of the Evzones. Unfortunately, you also have to pass a grueling initiation test, so only about half of the applicants are accepted.
Evzones’ commander, Captain Nikolaos Vavlekis, once stated, “Any movement in response to external events is considered an outrage to the mission.”
So it isn’t just about being among Greece’s tallest and toughest soldiers. Evzones also have to have incredible stamina, discipline, and precision.
Greece only has about 100 Evzones (I’m totally guessing here). It doesn’t matter because the Evzones are only relatively small in number, so it’s no wonder they’re considered Greece’s most elite military unit.
How tall do you have to be to become an Evzone?
To be an Evzone, you must be between 1.87 meters (6.1 ft) and 2.10 meters (6.9 ft) tall.
Yep, I could have become an Evzone if I lived in Greece. But then again, you also have to be Orthodox Christian. 🙁
Evzones in Adelaide, South Australia
I knew the Evzones would be marching from the hotel they were staying at in the Adelaide CBD to the National War Memorial.
So I wanted to take a photo of Greece’s Presidential Guard as they walked past the Art Gallery of South Australia, one of the best Art Galleries in Adelaide with Greek Myth Art.
I thought they were going to walk down North Terrace, and they did, but I was hoping more so that they’d walk on the footpath on the other side of the road to get a better shot. But, unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Instead, they marched on the other side of the street.
I don’t know who the super attractive lady is walking beside them, but she is part of Greece’s military. She gives me some Wonder Woman vibes. What do you think?
Looking at the Evzones more closely, I noticed that two of the Evzones leading the group wore a different uniform than most of the other Evzones following behind them. I assume that’s because these guys are the commanders.
Uniforms worn by the Evzones are very symbolic. For instance, the red hat (farion cap) represents the blood spilled in fighting for Greece’s independence.
I can’t say I have ever noticed any Evzones with swords before, so this was a first for me.
The Evzones are relatively close to the National War Memorial, which isn’t too far away from this spot.
Evzones at the National War Memorial
It didn’t take long for about a dozen Evzones to march to the National War Memorial.
Two Evzones stood motionless at the monument while people laid wreaths next to the war memorial and during speeches.
One of the main speakers was Greece’s Deputy Defence Minister, Nikos Hardalias.
He paid tribute to the sacrifice of the ANZACs, who fought side by side with the Greeks in past conflicts. During part of his speech, he said:
“I feel honored and proud. I feel honored because this year, I had the chance to commemorate OXI Day, one of the most important Greek national anniversaries, in a country whose gallant soldiers fought side by side with ours in many conflicts, including the second World War.
And I feel proud because today I see the leventes members of the Hellenic Presidential Guard, our Evzones, so far away from home standing proudly to honor the heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice.”
Changing of the Guards (Evzones)
Every Sunday at 11 am in Athens, there’s an impressive changing of the guards, which is the main changing of the guard ceremony.
The changing of the guard still happens every hour, but you probably won’t see the Evzones in their famous white ceremonial uniforms. More likely, you’ll see them in their standard khaki uniforms.
So if you want to see the best changing of the guard ceremony, you’ll have to be in Athens at the right place on Sunday at 11 am.
Watching the changing of the guard here was probably similar in grandeur to what happens in Greece, but obviously on a much smaller scale.
Evzones Marching along ANZAC Memorial
After watching the changing of the guard, I noticed that the rest of the Evzones started to march away from the National War Memorial, heading toward the Anzac Centenary Memorial Walk, a pathway and fenceline that runs along the side of Government House.
I didn’t know where the Evzones were going, so I followed them to take a few photos.
The Evzones were going somewhere.
They went down a slopy hill through a grassy area along the Adelaide Rifle Walkway.
The Evzones then stopped near a white building that I later learned was the Adelaide RSL Memorial Hall on the Torrens Parade Ground. The RAAF Association’s corporate office is also in the building.
You can see the white building on the left of this picture, taken from a point of view that is diagonally opposite where the Evzones were standing.
The Evzones seemed to be taking a break at that stage, so I left and returned to the National War Memorial to take a few more photos of the Evzones standing guard there.
That’s when I also took a Polaroid picture of Kosta, which I gave him to keep. Later, he texted me the picture so I could see it. I noticed the word “Awesome” next to it, and I fully agree. I like it even better than mine.
Shush, keep it quiet because he probably doesn’t know it is here.
So that sums up my experience with the Evzones in Australia, far from Greece.
Meeting with Wonder Woman
Later in the day, I walked through Rundle Mall, Adelaide’s central shopping street mall reserved for pedestrians only, and bumped into Wonder Woman.
It seemed like a pretty big coincidence meeting up with princess Diana, the daughter of Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons and Zeus, the most powerful of the Gods of Olympus.
So I asked the superhero if I could take a photo of her, and here it is. Unfortunately, the Polaroid picture didn’t turn out that great, but I suppose it’s ok.
I’ve tried to figure out the words on the back of that bluish t-shirt in this picture, but I can’t figure it out. However, “Stay Hydrated” seems to be a possible answer.
After meeting with Wonder Woman, I visited Galactic Video in the Adelaide city center, only a short walk from Rundle Mall.
I think it is the last DVD rental store in Adelaide, and not only that, they have some extremely rare DVD titles, like super, super rare stuff.
For instance, they have all of the old Hercules movies on DVD, and I’ve never seen that before anywhere.
I’d been meaning to go there for some time after visiting the shop a couple of other times and discovering that the store has a treasure trove of classic and hard-to-find movies. So I became a member and hired three films for one week, costing me $10.
The three movies were Time After Time, a classic time travel movie, Here Comes Mr. Jordan, and Robinson Crusoe on Mars.
Incredibly, after watching all three movies, two of the films had references to Greek mythology.
One film referred to Prometheus, the titan who brought fire to humanity. Another film mentioned Hades, God of the Underworld, and what’s more, right in front of a white statue of Artemis (Diana), Goddess of the hunt.
Actually, all three films have Greek myth associations. As you probably already guessed, Mars is the Roman name given to the God of war, otherwise known as Ares in Greek mythology.
All up, meeting with the Evzones and Wonder Woman turned out to be quite an eventful day.
Of course, you can see the Evzones in Athens, but seeing Wonder Woman is another story.
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