Greece is a country filled with treasures, offering a unique blend of history and culture to travelers from all over the world. Religious tourism has been flourishing in Greece, with an increasing interest to explore the country’s rich and timeless religious value. And Athens serves as a beacon of such significance. When you find yourself to the historic center of Athens, you will be stunned by the emblematic Parthenon and the ancient historic monuments. But besides that, you will also get the chance to explore some of the major Athens churches that have made their mark to the country’s history.
First of all, we should start with the Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens or else the Metropolis. This is a church dedicated to the Annunciation of the Mother of God and is located on the street bearing the same name (Mitropoleos Street), between Syntagma and Monastiraki. It is an imposing church and the construction lasted 20 whole years. It was established in 1862, by King Otto and Queen Amalia. The design is purely amazing, with the basilica consisting of three aisles and with marble that had been taken by 72 destroyed churches to complete the construction. Inside, there are the remains of Saint Philothei and Patriarch Gregory V.
Right next to the impressive Cathedral on Mitropoleos Street, there is Agios Eleftherios or else the Little Metropolis. Decorated with approximately 80 sculptures from antiquity, this is a Byzantine Church with a special charm. It is worth mentioning that this is one of the very few churches to have maintained their initial structure and design.
Church of Panagia Kapnikarea is located in one of the busiest streets of Athens, Ermou Street. The church dates back to the 14th century and is decorated with impressive frescoes. It is a famous meeting point for both locals and tourists, while you can sit on the benches right outside with a refreshment or a souvlaki and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere.
Agios Nikolaos Ragavas is our next stop among Athens churches to treasure. It is situated in the picturesque neighborhood of Anafiotika in Plaka. As you may have guessed, the church has the very same romantic atmosphere that prevails the entire area. Having been built in the 11th century, this church holds a truly important feature. Right after the War of Independence in 1821, this was one of the first churches to receive a bell and you can see it indoors.
Agii Apostoli or the Church of Holy Apostles is located in Ancient Agora. It was originally a sacred place where the Athenians worshiped the Nymphs and dated back to the 2nd century. However, this Byzantine church was established in the late 10th century and follows the pattern of a Greek cross with equal arms. The frescoes and wall paintings will astonish you, for sure.
Moving on with the major Athens churches to explore, we see Agios Dimitrios Loubardiaris. This church is found in the evergreen park of Filopappos Hill, very close to Dionysiou Aeropagitou pedestrian street. It dates back to the 16th century and is a significant attraction in the city center. A breath of fresh air, to say the least. According to the legend, its name means a cannon and has been given to this church, after a cannon exploded somewhere in the 17th century.
The Church of Panagia Pantanassa is located in Monastiraki. It is also called the Dormition of Virgin Mary, the Mother of God. It dates back to the 10th century and is exactly on the crossroad of Mitropoleos and Athinas. Inside, you can see the miraculous icon of Virgin Mary. And as for its name? Think about it. This church was known as the Great Monastery and then it was renamed the Little Monastery – or in Greek, Monastiraki.
Finally, we conclude our list of the top Athens churches with the Church of Saint Dionysius the Areopagite in Kolonaki. This is indeed a major Roman church in the city of Athens, found on the prestigious Skoufa street. Dionysius the Aeropagite was the first bishop of the city and a disciple of Apostle Saint Paul. It is an impressive church boasting neo-baroque and neoclassical elements, built in 1931.