About this Tour
Athens is a city that belongs to the cats, who prowl the narrow alleys in Plaka or meander among the ancient ruins. Visit five corners of Athens that form the ideal backdrop to an introduction to the city’s most beautiful four-legged residents.
This is a self-guided mobile tour provided by our tour-guide app. The tour is based on an award-winning storytelling concept and the fascinating narratives prepared by handpicked destination experts. Enjoy this multilingual tour by using your Android or iOS smartphone or tablet at your own pace, even if you are offline. The interactive map on your screen will guide you step by step to explore all the points of interest along your route. Each stop comes with a selection of signature stories, allowing you to tailor this experience to your personal interests and schedule.
There are many guidebooks and tours available on Athens, covering many known and unknown aspects of the city’s history and culture. On the prowl - The cats of Athens presents something unique: a tour based on, and dedicated to, the beautiful cats of Athens. Regal or common, spotless or scruffy, friendly or haughty, Athenian cats form an indispensable part of the urban environment and proudly occupy all the local monuments. In contrast to most traditional guided tours that tend to focus on the ancient temples, the medieval churches and the neoclassical jewels of this city, the tour “On the prowl - The cats of Athens” focuses on these felines and highlights the almost mythical stories of their arrival and gradual domination in Athens.
This trip down memory lane begins at one of Athens’ most picturesque spots. Anafiotika is an island in the heart of Athens with narrow lanes and tiny whitewashed houses clinging to the rocks. Ancient Athenian households and markets were full of dogs, grasshoppers, crickets, hedgehogs or monkeys who served as pets. You were more likely to come across a cheetah than a cat in downtown Athens.
As you make your way through the Plaka district, take time and introduce yourself to the city’s adventurous feline residents who enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the Ancient Agora. Was Aristotle right when he claimed that cats are particularly lascivious because they instigate the sexual act by inviting the male? The answer may lie among the ruins of the Roman Agora, frequented by “Little Cats” and “Kittens” (Felicla, Felicula, and Cattula were popular female names back in the Roman days). The remains of the Byzantine church, visible beneath the foundations of the mosque in the Roman Agora, reverberate with the calls of Mechlempe’s descendants. He was the imperial Byzantine cat and lived a life of luxury as he ate from gold plates. During the Ottoman period cats were the subjects of as much adoration as in the time of the pharaohs. The ruins of the madrasa remain a favorite feline haunt in memory of that relationship.
To take this self-guided tour you will need the app on your iOS or Android device.
- Watch the Greek light dance on the colourful fur of cats in Anafiotika as you read about the sudden appearance of black and white cats 2000 years ago.
- Hear the primordial purring of the cats as you overlook the Ancient Agora, where the aristocrats of old used to take their leopards for a walk.
- Feel the glories of the Byzantine and Ottoman past surround you in the Roman Agora, as you read about Mechlempae, the imperial cat.