A guide to eye-catching buildings you'll stumble upon during your strolls in the city By Vangelis Koronakis
National Library Athens Academy Athens University
er temple. This was common practice during Byzantine ages, in an attempt to wipe out idolatry. And what less costly method than appropriating the very materials the ancient building was made of, for “holy purposes”. According to the inscription found on the west wall, this church dates back to 1065AD. The last known restoration was in 1840, following damages sustained during the Greek War of Independence. As is the case with most churches in Greece, the bell tower was added later. As for the imposing wall paintings, they date back to the 19th century.
Aristidou & Evripidou st.
Arsakeio Megaron (Map H10
Built by the renowned 19th century architect Lysandros Kaftantzoglou, this imposing building is among the finest examples of modern Athenian architecture and hosts the Council of State High Court. Adjacent to the Arsakeion is the pleasant Books’ Arcade, an ideal book-lovers’ haunt and for anyone looking for a shelter during a hot day.
Athens City Hall (Map H8
An impressive neoclassical building situated in a breathtaking cobblestone square, bristling with pleasant cafés and busy shopping centres (the picturesque Central 26 _ CITY GUIDE summer 2014
Athens open-air meat market is right down the street). The square also functions as an open-air antiquities museum and is surrounded by beautiful neoclassical buildings from the turn of the century. The City Hall also houses a valuable art collection.
House of Parliament (Vouli) (Map K11
Overlooking Syntagma square, it was originally the Royal Palace of King Otto and Queen Amalia, the first monarchs of modern Greece. Designed in the neoclassical style by Friedrich von Gartner, the palace was completed in 1843. It was used as the Royal Residence until 1924 and, since 1934, has housed the Greek Parliament. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a monument in honour of the servicemen who fell
These striking neoclassical buildings were built by the Hansen brothers of Copenhagen. The National Library is reached via an impressive sculpted marble staircase. The Athens Academy is flanked by imposing statues of Apollo and Athena on either side, while the impressive frescoes at its entrance depict the myth of Prometheus.
in the struggles for Greek Independence, is located in the forecourt of the building. The Tomb is guarded by the Presidential Guard (evzones) in traditional dress, whose intricately orchestrated changing of the guard at the turn of the hour attracts many visitors who also take the opportunity to feed the flocks of ubiquitous pigeons.
Church of St. Theodoroi (Map I9
Yet another structure built over the ruins of a much earli-
Bank Of Greece (Map I11
The headquarters of the Central Bank of Greece. The building was designed by architects K. Papadakis and N. Zoumpoulidis and its foundations were laid in 1933. The official inauguration took place in 1938, under Governor Emmanouil Tsouderos.
Church of Panagia Kapnikarea (Map K8 Syntagma / Monastiraki)
Built on the ruins of an ancient temple, which was dedicated to goddess Athena or Demeter, this miniscule church is commonly known as Kapnikarea. It is usually surrounded by hundreds of people, either waiting for someone or having their portrait drawn and even hav-