The Greek Presidential Guard, or Evzones, are a select group of soldiers who are trained to perform important ceremonial roles and guard duties. If you visit Athens you’ll find them at the Presidential Palace, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and raising of the flag at the Acropolis. The most obvious thing that sets them apart from the average soldier is their uniform. They’re intricately designed, handmade, with stunning details.
From the top down there’s significance in every element of the uniform. First you have the Farion cap, made from red baize with a long silk tassel. Then you have the Fermeli, which is the most intricate part of the uniform. Made from wool, it is embroidered by hand, with the thousands of stitching holes hidden on the inside. They can take months to make, but thankfully can last for a decade. Beneath the Fermeli is the long white Ypodetes, with its flared sleeves. Under that is a long sleeve button down shirt.
Heading towards the feet we are now at the skirt-like Foustanella. Made using over 30 meters of fabric, it has 400 pleats to symbolise the liberation of Greece from the Ottoman Empire. The blue and white braided fringes, or Krossia, are symbolic of the Greek flag. On their feet, the Evzones wear Tsarouchia shoes. Each weighs around 1.5kg and has at least 60 mails in the sole to simulate the sound of battle as the soldiers march.
If you want to see the Evzones and their ceremonial uniforms, head to the changing of the guard parade that’s held every Sunday at 11am at Greek Parliament in Syntagma Square.