Mar. 6, Melina Mercouri Day

I am old enough to remember Melina Mercouri, famous Greek actress. She is best known to Americans as the star of Never on Sunday, for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1960. Mercouri is remembered for her political activism and as the first female Minister of Culture and Sport, a post she held for eight years.

In her honor, March 6 is now Melina Mercouri Day, celebrated as a free day at all public museums and monuments in Greece. School groups visit the Acropolis, the Acropolis Museum, the National Museum. There are students and families visiting at every cultural site, on this day. We saw a lot of them.

Not knowing anything about the significance of March 6 in Greece, we set out on the lovely sunny morning for our first visit to the Acropolis. The subway seemed full, and we saw classes of students waiting on the platform. No matter, we forged on to the Akropoli stop and found the ticket line for the Acropolis. It was huge. We looked across at the line for the Acropolis Museum, also very long. A dejected tour guide sitting on the curb looked up and said, “It’s free today. Melina Mercouri Day,” then turned back to her cigarette.

In honor of the hundreds of people enjoying free entrance to the Acropolis, we decided to visit tomorrow, to avoid the crowds. We ambled back along the streets toward home, taking a detour to visit the Athens Central Market, the Varvakios Market. We stopped for lunch at Igeios, a small restaurant without a menu, a taverna where you look at what they have cooking, make your selection and out it comes. We noticed that many people were in and out in about ten minutes, downing a big bowl of soup and heading out the door. We shared a baked fish and a Greek salad that was plenty for both of us.

We stopped at the supermarket (Bazaar is a chain in Athens), and picked a few things, then headed home. It was already after 3 pm, and we were ready to stop walking. We celebrated Melina Mercouri Day a little differently than others might have, but we’ll remember it.

More on Melina Mercouri Day

Wikipedia biography of Melina Mercouri


Published by winifredcreamer

I am a retired archaeologist and I like to travel, especially to places where you can walk along the shore or watch birds. My husband Jonathan and I travel for more than half the year every year, seeing all the places that we haven't gotten to yet.

3 thoughts on “Mar. 6, Melina Mercouri Day

  1. Love love love your travelogue! I too remember Melina Mercouri. She was amazing. What fun to walk around markets, eat fresh fish and mingle with the citizens of Athens. 👍💕

    Liked by 1 person

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