Exploring Athens: An alternative walk around Athens

An unusual walk

Peiraios Street is the street that, since antiquity, links the city of Athens with its port. At its start is the Municipal Gallery, in the building of the old municipal nursery. Further down one sees a series of cultural centers that are housed in former industrial buildings: the Technopolis in a former gas factory, the Melina Merkouri Cultural Centre in the Poulopoulos hat-making factory, Hellenic Cosmos in the former Viosol metal processing factory.

exploring athens

2. The National Theatre

Designed by Ernst Ziller and completed in 1901, the imposing National Theatre gives the impression of a Rennaissance edifice. The exterior reminds of Hadrian's Library and the interior was inspired by the Vienna People's Theatre. The two most important theatrical organizations of the 20th century Greece, the Royal Theatre and the National Theatre, were successively housed there.

1. Eynard Mansion

Eynard Mansion is located across the National Theatre and was named after the Swiss Jean-Gabriel Eynard, cofounder of the National Bank of Greece. The building with the attractive architectural details belongs to the Cultural Foundation of the National Bank. It houses the Greek Space Cartography Archives of Victor and Niovi Mela and also contains an exhibition hall dedicated to the eminent Greek actors Katina Paxinou and Alexis Minotis, which functions as a theatre museum and theatrical library.

7. Metaxourgeio

Metaxourgeio, named after the silk factory that existed there developed in the mid-19th century. It is a multicultural district, since many immigrants have settled there. Originally, the inhabitants of the district were mostly domestic immigrants from the Peloponnese and the islands. Though it was degraded after World War II, the last few years it has started to improve, with new bars and restaurants opening frequently.

9. The Municipal Gallery of Athens

This elegant neoclassical building was designed by Panagiotis Kalkos and was constructed between 1872 and 1875. It housed the Public Foundling Hospital until 1977. From 1982, it functions as an Art Gallery. The collection of the Municipal Gallery of Athens includes some 2,500 works by 19th and 20th century major Greek artists.

12. The Pierides Museum

The Pierides Museum of Ancient Cypriot Art opened in 2001 in the multicomplex Athinais building in Votanikos and contains a part of the archaeological collection of the Pierides Museum, which is based in Larnaca, Cyprus. Its exhibition covers a period till the Middle Ages, though it is focused mostly on prehistoric times.

6. Larissis Station

Inaugurated in the early 20th century, Larissis Railway Station in Athens is the largest station of the railway network. It connects Athens and northern Greece. It is considered a typical example of Greek neoclassicism, though today, after a series of interventions, it has been altered.

10. Museum of Islamic Arts

The Museum of Islamic Arts is an annex of the Benaki Museum. It is housed in a neoclassical building, former residence of Lampros Eutaxias. The restoration works brought to light part of an ancient wall and ancient tombs that are now visible. The rich collection of the Islamic Museum spans over a period of thirteen centuries of Islamic art and is considered to be one of the most important of the world.