Some Of The Most Beautiful Churches In Athens

  • by XpatAthens
  • Monday, 26 April 2021
Some Of The Most Beautiful Churches In Athens
Before Greece won its independence in 1829, some 130 churches were recorded in Athens. Ironically, many were destroyed not by the Ottomans, but during the construction of the modern Greek capital. Churches were often used as a source of building material, much as the ancient temples had been used earlier. You’ll often see sections of columns integrated into the altar or walls.
Orthodox tradition often absorbs the pagan practices of antiquity too. So don't be surprised if you find far-from-saintly figures like Heracles or Hebe, the gods’ cupbearer and goddess of eternal youth, on the frieze of a 9th-century church. Here's a roundup of the most stunning churches in Athens!

Note from XpatAthens
If you're celebrating Easter in Greece in 2021 please be sure to read about coronavirus restrictions.

Agia Dynami
Location: 15 Mitropoleos & Pendelis, Historic Centre
This 16th-century church has a history as big as its size is small. It was linked by an underground tunnel to a small gunpowder plant that supplied the Ottoman troops. When the independence revolt erupted, the munitions maker smuggled some of the gunpowder to the Greeks through the tunnel. Aside from its odd location in the belly of the former Ministry of Education (now the Electra Metropolis hotel), another unusual feature is the church’s tiny, crenellated windows

Agia Fotini
3 Ardittou, Pangrati
Fotini was a Samaritan prostitute who achieved sainthood by offering Christ a cup of water. This simple basilica in her honor preserves some of the original murals of the fourth-century church, which was reconstructed in the 1870s. Archaeological evidence suggests there were sanctuaries to Hekate and Pan on the site. Next to the steps leading to the church is the only preserved section of an arched bridge over the Ilissos River, constructed in 1850 on orders of Greece’s first king

Agia Irini
36 Aiolou & Athinaidos, Historic Centre
Built in 1847, using material from destroyed churches as well as the Acropolis, this massive church was intended to serve as the Metropolitan Cathedral. It was the site for many official events such as Othon’s coming of age, groundbreaking for the new palace, and services marking the first anniversary of the constitution. Marble columns support a balcony and deep recesses are decorated with religious scenes, including St Paul preaching to the Athenians.

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Photo by: Georgios Makkas

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