If you do not have enough time to visit all sites, this route (around 3.5 km) will take you to the most remarkable sites in Athens. A walk where you will see classic ancient times and all other historic periods, the architectural evolution and all phases of the city development until the 21st century (classic period, Romaic period, Byzantine, Ottoman occupation, neo classic times and 20th century). In reality, it is a journey through history itself, an activity that only Athens can offer…
HERODUS ATTICUS ODEON
OTTOMAN OCCUPATION PERIOD
Vassilissis Sofias Avenue
One of the most impressive avenues in Athens, starting from Syntagma Square and ending up in Abelokipous area. Its former name was Kifissias, because it connected Athens with the traditional homonym suburb. Even though it has lost part of its character as a classic avenue, it is still one of the most charming routes in the city, as along its way there are many beautiful buildings, museums and lush green areas.
Sightseeing (from Syntagma Square to Abelokipous area):
Building of Foreign Affairs Ministry (5 Vassilissis Sofias). Designed by E. Ziller (1872-1873), it belonged to Syggrou family until 1921. Then it was legated to the Greek Government. This neo classic mansion has been announced as work of art, and houses Ministry’s central services. In 1985 it was annexed to a new building, which is located in Zalokostas Str.
French Embassy (Psicha Mansion). An impressive three storey building located at the corner of Akadimia Str. It was built in 1894 by An. Metaksa for Psicha family. It is a remarkable building, which combines modernistic decoration with neo classic style.
Italian Embassy. House of Prince Nikolaos until the first exile of the royal family in 1917. It was then turned into a luxurious hotel (“Le Petit Palais”) and later it was bought by the Italian Government in order to house its embassy.
Benaki Museum (1 Koubari Str.). It is one of the most impressive neoclassic mansions of Athens, built successively from 1910 to 1931 (designs of An. Metaksas) as house of Ant. Benaki. Since 1931 it has been housing Museum exhibits
Sarogleios Mansion (Officers’ Club). An impressive building of beaux arts style, built in 1928 on Rigilli Square (P. Mela). It was designed by architect Al. Nikoloudis.
Stathatos Mansion. An impressive neoclassic mansion (in Herodotus Str. Corner), designed in 1885 by E. Ziller. Since 1991 it has been the new wing of Cycladic and Ancient Greek Arts Goulandri Museum with which is connected by a glass corridor.
Byzantine and Christian Museum. The museum’s core is “Villa Ilissia” (1848) of neo cinquecento style, built in the banks of Ilissos River that existed at that period. It was the winter resort of S. de Marbois-Lebrum, known also as “Duchess of Plakentia”. The villa was constructed by architect St. Kleanthi (also known as Chr. Hansen). After Duchess’s death (1854), the mansion was sold to the Greek Government. Since 1930 it has been housing the museum, which has been expanded by two new wings in 1952 and in 1994 (because of the exhibits).
Museum of War. A modern building (designed by Th. Valenti), which was inaugurated in 1975.
British Ambassador’s House. It is located at the corner of Loukianos Str. It was built between 1930-1932 (designed by An. Metaksas), as El. Venizelos house, who then was the prime minister. After his death, it was given to the British Government and until 1960 housed Athens British Embassy. After constructing the embassy next to it, today it is the ambassador’s residence.
Aghios Nikolaos and Aghios Georgios. Small churches of cross-in-square type with four columns, representative examples of church architecture of late 19th century. Aghios Nikolaos (built in 1876-next to British Embassy) is of neo Byzantine style, while Aghios Georgios is a combination of Byzantine, classic and Romanic architectural elements.
“Evangelismos” Hospital (old building). A neoclassic building (designed by G. Metaksas), which was renovated in 1880 by Queen Olga. Few years later the homonym garden of English style was created.
Megali tou Genous Scholi Square. A small square, located in the intersection of Vassilissis Sofias and Vassilias Konstantinos Avenues. In the middle of the square stands the impressionistic sculpture of “Dromeas” or “Runner” (created in 1988, by K. Varotsos), which is created from glass pieces. On the opposite side stands “Hilton” hotel (1958-1963) of vigorous international modernistic style (many coffee houses, bars and small restaurants are located around on Ventiri, Meksi and other streets). Two amazing art nouveau block of flats dating back to the middle war period are located on the other side of the square (at the intersection with I. Gennadios Str.). Next to “Hilton” hotel is the building of National Gallery- Alexandros Soutsos Museum , which was constructed in the period of 1966-1975 and was influenced by the brutal architectural style of Le Corbusier. Rizari Park, one of the first parks in Athens, is also located on the opposite side of “Hilton” hotel.
Eleftheria Park. It is a lush green area, which surrounds El. Venizelos Statue (sculptured by G. Pappas). Three stone buildings are located in its back side, which now house the Art Center of Athens Municipality and “El. Venizelos” Museum. Opposite the park, stands a frugal neoclassic complex of three hospitals (“Aeginitio”, “Aretaeio” and “Alexandra”).
Athens Concert Hall: A monumental building designed by M. Voureka, constructed in the period of 1973-1991. It is considered to be one of the best and most integrated music halls in the world. It has concert and opera halls, music library, conference hall, halls of multi purposes etc. During winter season it organizes music concerts, opera, theater, dancing performances and other high quality events.
American Embassy. One of the most outstanding examples of modern architecture in Greece (1959-1961), designed by the famous architect W. Gropius.
Mavili Square. One of the most “vivid” squares in Athens, with lots of coffee houses, bars and restaurants that gather people all day long. It is the perfect spot to find a house, since it is close to Lycabetus Hill and the central avenues of Vassilissis Sofias and Alexandras. The last few years, however, it has lost part of its charm because of the very busy roads.
Ippokrateio Hospital. A preserved public building constructed during the 1880’s, is of neoclassic style and operates as a hospital since 1912. Next to it you can see Aghios Andreas Chapel (17th century).
Athens Tower. The first glass skyscraper in Athens (1971-1973), one of the few that were finally built in the frames of the great city planning complex of the capital. It is a two building complex with 12 levels and 25m in height. It mainly houses company offices. Right in front of it there is a preserved small villa with garden, as a memory of the old rural nature of Abelokipoi area that lasted until the 1920’s.