A small bronze plaque on Acropolis

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Written By: Pavlos Inglesis

Millions of people visit the famous rock of Acropolis in Athens every year. I honestly believe it’s one of the best things to do in Athens.

But very few realize that they also pass by a bronze sign that is a monument for one of the world’s most important WW2 resistance acts.

This sign is only in greek, unfortunately.

(honestly, I don’t know why it’s never been translated into English)

And it’s on the stone base of the greek flagpole at the edge of the Acropolis rock (on Google Maps).

Here it is:

manolis glezos and apostolos santas acropolis
You can find this bronze plaque on Acropolis but it’s only in greek unfortunately so not that many people realize what it says
manolis glezos and apostolos santas acropolis
The plaque was put up there on Acropolis in 1982

Obviously, if you can read greek you can easily identify what it says.

Here is a quick translation by me:

“On the night of the 30th of May 1941

the patriots

Manolis Glezos and Apostolos Santas

took down the Nazi flag

from the Acropolis rock”

Manolis Glezos and Apostolos Santas

So, let me give you some context.

These two greek men (around 18 years old at the time):

manolis glezos and apostolos santas
Apostolos Santas and Manolis Glezos were 2 of the bravest greek men ever to live

literally took down the swastika flag from the Acropolis!

Nazis already occupied Athens for more than 1 month at that time and both the greek and the nazi flags were on the rock.

The two friends Manolis and Apostolos crafted a plan the day before after studying the Acropolis’ topology and its access through secret tunnels and paths.

They climbed up the archeologists’ scaffolding and came to within a few meters of the flagpole, without being spotted by any guard.

Moving quickly, they took down the hated Nazi flag.

The two students, armed with only a small knife, a lantern, and a ton of courage, had done what seemed impossible:

They climbed 34 meters (111.5 feet) up Acropolis Hill in the middle of the night under a strict curfew, approached the flag, and cut it down.

They then went 34 meters downhill, crossing the empty streets of central Athens, and quietly returned to their homes.

Surprisingly, Manolis died in 2020 at 98 years old.

Apostolos died in 2011 at the age of 89 years old.

Back in the 80’s, Manolis was asked to recreate the whole scene in that secret tunnel on the Acropolis for a TV show (it’s only in greek, unfortunately):

manolis glezos and apostolos santas acropolis

So, if you visit the Acropolis in Athens, among others, you will also be walking on their steps…

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Photo of author
Pavlos Inglesis
Greek, born and raised in Athens. I have been to almost every greek island and pretty much in every region of mainland Greece. I have also been eating souvlaki and gyros since the 80s. I love being a dad to my 2 beautiful daughters and also taking great photos of the places I visit. This is my blog to help you out explore the places I have visited with my inside tips as a Greek, knowing the ins and outs of my country and culture. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments section under the post you are interested in and I wIll try my best to respond asap.

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