Greece: Presidential guard (1)

Front view
Front view

General description: Man in the summer uniform of the Greek Presidential Guard (Evzones), an elite ceremonial unit that still guards the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Athens.

Dimensions 16.5 x 11 x 8 cm

Date when acquired 1974

Original Date 1974


Athens, Greece. I bought it in a shop in the Plaka neighbourhood of Athens.


Back view
Back view


Plastic body with rigid legs. The upper arms are made of wire, while the lower arms are white plastic. The head seems to be plastic which is tightly covered with pink material. The facial features are painted on. His short black hair is made of wool.



This soldier is wearing a short white, highly pleated, cotton skirt or kilt (fustanella) that goes down to mid-thigh and a white high-collared shirt with very wide three-quarter sleeves (ypodetes). There is a sequin placed at the top of his shirt. A red belt is around his waist. He is also wearing a royal blue felt waistcoat (fermili) with long flaps hanging down from the shoulders to the sleeves. The flaps taper towards the shoulders. Apparently, the flaps normally hang down the back of the waistcoat. Gold and white braid has been used to decorate the edges of the waistcoat and the flaps. A long cord made of white and red silk is tied at the front of the waistcoat held in place by two sequins. However, the traditional fringes (krossia) in blue and white are missing

His legs are covered with long white woollen stockings (periskelides), tied with black silk garters (epiknemides) with tassels on the outside of the legs. On his feet are red plastic (in original leather) clogs (tsarouchia) with white and blue pompons (foundes), the Greek national colours.

On his head is a red felt cap (megalo fesi) with a long and very large black silk tassel instead of the farion used nowadays. The megalo fesi is the cap worn by islanders, so maybe this indicates this man is from one of the Greek islands.


Side view with stone to keep him upright
Side view with stone to keep him upright




Background information


The Evzones

In Homer’s times, the name eu – zones or “well-girt men” implied an elite status. The modern Evzone uniform was used by the Greek rebels during the Ottoman occupation of Greece (1453—1821) and so the Evzone uniform became the symbol of the Greek uprising. Otto, the Bavarian prince, who became king after independence decided that the fustanella would become official court dress and the patriotic symbol of the modern Greek state. It was then adopted as the national uniform after independence of the country. During the Bavarian Legacy, the fustanella was shorted to above the knees and called the fustanellitsa. The court subsequently dropped this style of dress and wore western suits but the Evzone have continued to wear the costume on ceremonial occasions.

After the Second World War, the Evzone regiments were reorganized into modern infantry units. For young men who are at least six feet tall (ca. 2 metres), it is a great honour to become one of the modern-day Evzones, the primarily ceremonial Greek National Guard. The Evzones wear a number of different types of uniform depending on the season and what they are doing.

Different forms of Evzone uniform (credit see below)
Different forms of Evzone uniform (credit see below)


The fustanella uniform

Each uniform takes 80 days to make and is made by special craftsmen working in the tailor’s department of the Presidential Guard Barracks. There are eight main components that make up the uniform.

The fustanella uniform

Each uniform takes 80 days to make and is made by special craftsmen working in the tailor’s department of the Presidential Guard Barracks. There are eight main components that make up the uniform.

1) The fustanella, a cotton kilt made from 30 meters (98 feet) of white cloth, with 400 pleats, representing the 400 years of Ottoman occupation. The fustanella derives from the traditional uniform of Continental Greece.

  1. The fermeli, a waistcoat embroidered with white or gilt thread in various traditional designs. The yellow stripes (if any) indicate the military rank of the wearer: sergeants have two stripes and corporals have one. The vest can be blue, black or crimson; the latter is worn by the captain of the guard.
  2. The krossia, fringes in blue and white, the colours of the Greek flag.
  3. The epiknemides, garters made of black silk and unofficially called kaltsodetes. The garters for officers are blue not black
  4. The periskelides, white woollen stockings, two on each leg.
  5. The anaspastos, another garter, which holds the periskelides in position.
  6. The tsarouchia, red leather clogs with black pompons (foundes; singular: founda). Under the sole, depending on the size of the clog, there are 60 to 120 nails to stop the soldier from slipping. On average each tsarouchi weighs approximately 1.5 kilos (3.5 pounds).
  7. The farion, a scarlet fez (fessi) with a long black silk tassel, with the national emblem on the front.



Source(s) of information

Condra Jill (2013) Encyclopedia of National dress. Traditional clothing around the world. Volume 1. ISBN 978-0313-37636-8

See Greece: General information



Different types of Evzone uniform –




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