Acropolis and ancient temples downtown are always included in the “to-do-list” of people visiting Athens. They are popular and they deserve to be. Buildings reveal so much about the history and the culture of a nation. The question is; Are they the only must-see places with impressive buildings in the center of Athens?
No, besides these staggering sights, Athens has a charming neoclassical side that only few tourists get to know with, as well. Be one of these few tourists and learn more about the impressive Athenian neoclassical buildings like Zappeio, Athens Academy and the Iliou Melathron.
Greek Neoclassical Architecture
Neoclassicism could be compared to a child that Greece gave life to, then, Western Europe raised and finally, in 19th century, it came back to the place where it was born. The advent of neoclassicism in Greece happened to coincide with the liberation of the country and the arrival of King Otto. Greeks had been in thrall to Ottomans until then, so, their sudden urge to forget their dread past contributed to the rapid spread of neoclassicism. It is reported that it was exactly what Greece needed that time, in order to be restructured. People were trying to get away from the tragedy they had experienced; thus, the reconstruction of Athens, the urban development and the emerging breathtaking neoclassical buildings became the hope for the new start. Notably, it was that - the time when Athens became the capital city of the country.
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Characteristics of neoclassicism in Athens
Neoclassical buildings are known for their decadence, the presence of ancient Greek order in their architecture, their rich adornment and the luxury materials which were used for their construction wherever they are found. However, there are some distinguishing features that lead to the neo-Hellenic architecture, as extension of neoclassicism; neoclassicism was altered a little bit in Greece and these distinctive buildings acquired unique personality. At the beginning of 20th century, when Athens had already been shaped according to the norms of other European capital cities, it is remarkable how the architecture of folk houses incorporated features of neoclassical buildings. Despite the use of low-quality materials and the simplification of the neoclassical models, brilliant houses beautified the streets of Athens due to the collaboration of creative architects and roof tile craftsmen.
3 neoclassical buildings in Athens you should not miss
Academy of Athens
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Academy of Athens
The building of Athens Academy was designed in 1859 by T.Hansen as part of the architectural trilogy (Academy, University, and Library) and it remains one of the most astonishing buildings of the city. It is located in Panepistimiou st. and thousands of passers-by stand in-awe when they look at it every day.
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On the same street as Academy of Athens, Iliou Melathron is a characteristic neoclassical building of Athens. It was designed in 1878 and 3 years after, it became the house of Heinrich Schliemann; of the man who made significant discoveries from Mykines and the Trojan War. It is supported that the house of Schliemann was one of the most glorious ones back then. Today, the Monetary Museum of Athens is hosted here.
The building project
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The building of Zappeion is in the national gardens and it is deemed as one of the most impressing building of neoclassicism in Greece. It is the first one built exclusively for the Olympic Games. Many architects were occupied on it, but Hansen was the man who made the final remark for once more. Greek parliament dedicated the building in 1888 in a festive atmosphere. Nowadays, Zappeion hall often hosts art exhibitions and various events.
Tailor Made Tours
When neoclassical buildings are as staggering as they are and hide as much history as they do, they can’t be omitted; it would be a considerable delinquency. Athens is a city with neoclassical treasures that differ with each other, but still impress whoever devotes some time and the attention these historical buildings deserve. By choosing a tailored travel experience, you can create a customized trip based on your desires and needs. We will step-by-step design your program of activities including all the things you want to see, leaving enchanted and enriched with knowledge about the wonderful world of Athens. How could it have been otherwise with such a unique neoclassical heritage?