When mentioning Athens, no one can deny its nature’s beauty. Besides this, Athens city has rich history that satisfies any architecture enthusiast with beautiful buildings and historical features. From historical temples of the Greek era to modern architecture with special details, you’ll fall in love with Athens city architecture.
Here are some of the main spots that should be on your list when you’re in Athens:
Athens City Architecture
On a rocky hill high above the city lies the Acropolis. It’s one of the greatest temples dedicated to Goddess Athena, the soul of Athens. Akropolis, from akros, means “highest” in ancient Greek while “polis” means cities.
This special archaeological site achieved its from in the 5th century BC. The Parthenon is one of the world’s most famous temples in Athens and dominates the Acropolis. It’s a witness to the cultural and political achievements of the inhabitants of Athens. The Greek architect, Mnesicles, designed The Propylaea acts as the entrance of the Acropolis.
If you go there in summer, preferably go either early or late in the day as it can get really hot up there. Enjoy your walk up there where you can go through pedestrian pathways with cafes and restaurants.
The Acropolis Museum
In the beginning, the museum displayed findings from the large excavations on the Acropolis that began in 1886. Today, it has total area of 25,000 square meters. It’s a place where all the Parthenon sculptures unite and greatlys displays the art of architecture in Athens.
On the first floor you can find the permanent exhibition that includes remnants from the archaic period. From the third floor you can see the Parthenon that’s only 300 metres away through the glass panelling and elevation. It’s better to start your journey from the top floor of the ‘Parthenon Gallery’ and making your way down from here. Surely, you’ll have a lifetime experience strolling through the galleries and browsing through amazing Parthenon books.
Finally, on your exit through ‘slopes of the Acropolis’, you go on a journey through the ages of life on the hill. These slopes represent the ascent or descent of climbing the Acropolis. Furthermore, you can see the archaeological excavation that was uncovered during the museum’s construction through a glass floor.
Stavros Niarchos Cultural Centre
Taking a ride from central Athens to Kallithea, 4 km away from the center is definitely worth it. Stavros Niarchos cultural Centre is a very important cultural and educational project. The project includes the national library of Greece and the Greek National Opera. In addition to a 170,000 sq m landscape park.
The view from the Centre rooftop is spectacular. The reason behind that is the artificial hill which specially creates a sea view from the projects site. Continued by a sloping park, raised towards the sea. Want to enjoy the sea and Athens view, where you can see the acropolis for quite a distance. The answer is go upstairs to the rooftop centre, after taking a tour inside the centre.
USA Embassy- The Parthenon
If you are in Athens and want to see one of Walter Gropius designs, you will need to head to the American embassy. Gropius “the founder of the Bauhaus” collaborated with greek architect Perikles Sakellarios to design this building. Consequently you’ll recognize the architects attempt to create a modern building inspired by the classical Greek architecture.
The embassy is a three-storey square building with an atrium occupying the central space. What you’ll instantly notice is the exterior concrete colonnade (clad with Greek marble). They support horizontal beams from the two upper floors of the building. These crossbeams are suspended by steel hangers. Furthermore, in the ground floor, a perforated blue ceramic curtain protects the amazing glass façade.
Numismatic Museum of Athens
It’s the perfect spot if you want a place that takes you out if this world away from the city’s noise. The Numismatic Museum is one of the oldest public museums in Greece. In 1834, the German architect Ernst Ziller designed the building following the neoclassical spirit of the late 19th century along with elements of the Italian Renaissance.
This neo-classical building is based in the beautiful mansion Iliou Melathron. The mansion was once the home of the archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann. He made important finds in Mycenae and also discovered Troy.
The exhibits include wide collection of coins from Ancient Greece, the Byzantine era, medieval Europe, and the Ottoman Empire. The building’s interior is also mesmerizing. The beautiful details of mosaic floors and decorative ceilings will capture you. Moreover, the wall paintings are portraying Pompeian themes and the finds of Schliemann at Troy and Mycenae.
Today, The Panathenaic Stadium is one of the most common tourist attractions in Athens. It’s a true representation of modern architecture in the city. What’s fascinating about this stadium is that it’s the only stadium in the world built entirely out of marble. That’s why the locals call it “Kallimarmaro”, which means made of fine marble.
Over the years the stadium witnessed several modifications in each era. The stadium originally had a rectangular shape that was typical of ancient Greek stadiums. It was used for the first time in in 330BC. Later, in the Roman era, the stadium went through another transformation. As it went from its original rectangular shape to a horseshoe, which was typical of stadiums during Roman times. It also expanded to hold 50,000 spectators and Pentelic marble from Mt Pentel covered the seats. In 1896 this stadium held the first modern Olympic Games. This represented the beginning of a new life to the stadium after its excavation.
Athens is full of impressive architecture. Therefore, make sure not to miss any of these beautiful spots on your next visit. Don’t forget to check architecture in Prague, and why architects must go to Berlin?