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The little Byzantine churches of Athens

Athens ● 31 August 2017

Athens is worldwide known for its ancient history that gave birth to the western civilisation. However, Athens has a long and rich history, which consists not only of the antiquity but also of the medieval times. Only a few tourists know that in the historical Athens Center, such as Plaka, Thiseio, Monastirakiand the districts around Syntagma Square, numerous little Byzantine churches can be found between the neoclassical buildings, the modern houses, the shops and the hotels in Athens. Medieval, Byzantine Athens is equally interesting with ancient Athens and emphasizes the multicultural character of the city. Various historical eras, antiquity, medieval and modern times meet each other in a journey where today meets yesterday and West meets East. Besides, one of the biggest assets of Greece is the combination of the western and eastern civilisation that reflects the fascinating Greek culture and history.

One of the most beautiful and prominent Byzantine churches in Athens is Kapnikarea, the small church in the middle of the shopping pedestrian of Ermou, between Syntagma Square and Monastiraki. The cruciform of the church reveals that the church is constructed in the 11th century A.D. It was saved from demolition in 1834, and today it is carefully restored.


In Mitropoleos Street, near Ermou Street and Kapnikarea church, the tiny church of Agia Dinami is located under the shadow of a huge modern building, which was built literally by the church. Being hidden under the tall office block, Agia Dinami looks like an unexplored treasure, lost inside megatheriums of the Greek capital.

Nearby, at Mitropoleos Square, which took its name after the Cathedral (=Mitropolis in Greek), Mitropolis Cathedral is a majestic Byzantine church, which has been recently restored.

In the district of Plaka, the Byzantine churches obtain an impressive aura. Under the hill of Acropolis, built near well-preserved neoclassical buildings, these churches managed to combine perfectly the ancient, medieval and neoclassical times in a scenery that looks like a painting. Agia Katerina (St Kathrin) in Farmakia Street has a spacious palm-shaded courtyard besides the remains of a Roman colonnade, and its interior since the 11th century glows with a rich collection of gold relics and priceless icons.

In one of the most beautiful streets of Plaka, Tripodon Street, in the complex, which belongs to the monastery of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, is built within the precincts of an old palace Agios Nikolaos Rangava.

Nearby, the little church of Agii Anagryri has a wonderful 17th century Baroque interior.

At the entrance of Plaka, in Filellinon Street, you can admire the remains of the Russian Orthodox church of St. Nicodemus, which was purchased by the Tsar of Russia in 1852.

At Monastiraki Square, near Monastiraki Flea Market, the church of Agios Ioannis Kolona (=St John of Column) took its name after a Roman column, which rises above its roof, combining interestingly Roman with Christian times.

Inside Ancient Agora (Athens), the church of the Holy Apostles creates a unique contrast with the ancient ruins and is famous for its 17th century wall paintings.

Church of Holy Apostles

Where to Stay

Hotel in Athens, Greece Diethnes Hotel
8.4 10
Diethnes Hotel
52, Peoniou str.(Larissis Station), 104 40 Athens, Greece

Diethnes Hotel is located in Athens, just a 3-minute walk from Larissa Metro Station and Athens Railway Station. Syntagma Square is just 4 metro stops away.

Hostel in Athens, Greece Student and Travellers Inn
8.9 10
Student and Travellers Inn
16, Kidathinaion str., 10558 Athens, Greece

Student and Travellers Inn – the first hostel in Greece since 1977 is located in the heart of Plaka, right below the Acropolis. Traditional cobbled streets full of taverns, shops, cafes are right at our hostel's doorstep. The main square of Athens, Syntagma, is at 600 m, while the lively Monastiraki square is at 800 m. The nearest metro station and the bus stop for the X95 Airport Bus can be reached within a 7-minute walk.

Hotel in Athens, Greece Elikon Hotel
7.9 10
Elikon Hotel
3, Dorou str., 10431 Athens, Greece

Located in the centre of Athens, Elikon Hotel is just a 2-minute walk from Omonoia Metro station, making transport easy throughout Athens. Piraeus Port is only 20 minutes away using the metro.