Metropolis Cathedral of the Annunciation
ΙΕΡΑ ΜΗΤΡΟΠΟΛΙΣ ΤΟΥ ΕΥΑΓΓΕΛΙΣΜΟΥ ΤΗΣ ΘΕΟΤΟΚΟΥ
At the heart of Athens, at Metropoleos street, and on the square with the same name, is the cathedral church of the city of Athens and one of the first large monuments of Athens as the capital of Greece.
The Metropolitan Cathedral of the Annunciation is the cathedral church of the Archbishop of Athens and all Greece. Construction of the Cathedral began on Christmas Day, 1842, with the laying of the cornerstone by King Othon and Queen Amalia.
The original architectural plans, with gothic and renaissance elements, were drawn by Theophilus Hansen who adapted them from the initial location where it was supposed to be erected, at Panepistimiou street, next to the Ophthalmiatreion. However the plans were changed again later on and the basilica was eventually built according to drawings of Demetrios Zezos, who followed the “Greco-Byzantine” style, and under the supervision of architects Francois Boulanger and Panagis Kalkos. From the end of the 19th and until the middle of the 20th century there were a lot of alterations and additions both to its interior and exterior, which changed its special initial form.
Architecturally the church belongs to the type of three-aisle domed basilica and is a combination of the neoclassical and the Greek-Byzantine style, as a result of the changes that occurred in the plans during its construction. It measures 130 feet (40 m) long, 65 feet (20 m) wide, and 80 feet (24 m) high. Workers used marble from 72 demolished churches to build the Cathedral's immense walls. Its central entrance is emphasized by an arcade which is supported by Corinthian columns and pilasters, while the twin bell-towers show influences from western church architecture.
The church’s interior is decorated with works of well-known artists of the 19th century. The wall paintings are the work of by the painters Spyridon Giallinas and Alexander Seitz, the decoration by Konstantinos Fanellis from Smyrna, while the sculptures are the work of Georgios Fytalis from the Cycladic island of Tinos. Three architects and 20 years later, the Metropolis was complete.
On May 21, 1862, the completed Cathedral was dedicated to the Annunciation of the Mother of God, and since then it proved to be a landmark in the history of the modern Greek state, as it hosted all the official religious ceremonies. At an underground crypt in the interior of the church, inside a marble reliquary, is the shrine of the Patriarch Gregory V and that of Aghia Filothei of Athens. Following the earthquake of 1999, the cathedral suffered extensive damage and is undergoing renovation ever since.
For accommodation near the Metropolis Cathedral, we suggest the 10-room small but simply excellent The Zillers Boutique Hotel, on Metropoleos Street, strategically located and with a fantastic view of the Acropolis from its roof garden. Book here! Alternatively, The Athens Key recommends the newest addition of excellent hotels in Athens, Electra Metropolis Hotel. Inviting and brand new, “Electra Metropolis”, also located on Metropoleos Street in the heart of Athens is the place to stay whether you are here for business or pleasure. Book here!
For a page with Basic Architectural Terminology, including terms used in the description of the ancient Greek temples and the Orthodox churches of Athens, click here!