Standing proud on Kapnikarea square at the heart of Athens’ principal shopping boulevard, Kapnikarea Church looks somewhat out of place amid the sea of modern shopping boutiques. Dating back to the 11th century, the historic church is among the oldest in Athens and it’s a remarkably preserved example of the city’s Byzantine architecture.
Saved from demolition in 1834 by Ludwig I of Bavaria, the church now makes a fascinating diversion for shoppers in Athens’ center. As well as admiring the church’s striking façade, with its Roman-style pillars and dome, visitors can peek inside the chapel and narthex, where highlights include some beautiful mosaics and series of icons by artist Fotis Kontoglou.
Kapnikarea Church is located in Kapnikarea square on Ermou boulevard in central Athens and is open Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from 8am-1pm; Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8am-1pm, and 4pm-8pm; and Sunday from 8am-11:30am. Admission is free.