The City of Athens annual tree-lighting event for the Christmas holidays took place at Syntagma Square on Tuesday evening.

Athens Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis and visiting Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew watched the light and sound event from a hotel on the Square.

The 19-metre-tree from Karpenissi, Central Greece, was lit with a total of 60,000 multicolored lights measuring 5km from top to bottom, signalling the official start of the end-of-year holiday season at the Greek capital.

Photo: Eurokinissi

Mayor Bakoyannis said that the annual decoration of the city came earlier this year than any in the past, “in order to leave behind the negative atmosphere of the [ongoing] pandemic and bring a spirit of celebration to the city sooner.” He added that it would also help boost the Athens market, which had suffered during the pandemic.

The mayor added that low-budget infrastructure introduced this year will be reused in the future, and “turn Athens into a brilliant and contemporary European capital this year too.” He also reminded the public to keep health measures.

The city’s main square, the adjacent Greek Parliament building and nearby streets and buildings have been decorated with a total of 350,000 Christmas lights and festooned with green garlands. The lighting show was designed by lighting specialist Giorgos Tellos and the original music provided by composer and sound artist Stavros Gasparatos.