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The First Cemetery of Athens

The “First Athenian Cemetery”, is located several blocks close to the “Panathinaikon” Olympic Stadium. With it's green landscape and setting, this cemetery could easily resemble a park, especially as during summer days, there are always people around, including some who may be having a picnic, or family get together.

Athens First Cemetery

The only entrance to the cemetery lies at the end of Anapafseos Odos, which translates as “Road of Enteral Peace”. The cemetery is the resting place of of many of the wealthy and important people of Athens, especially since the times of Otto I. Many international figures from the 19th Century are also buried here.

At first glance, one could be forgiven for thinking that they have stumbled into a park filled with a collection of small shrines, statues and temples. Some of the tombs are extremely lavish and impressive, and can be considered works of art.

Several of the tombs have both historic and artistic importance about them. Next to the start of the path that leads from the entrance to the cemetery is the burial site of Sophia Afendakis. The Sleeping Maiden (Koimomeni), is a fantastic piece of work, that captivates everyone who passes by the entrance. It was created by Giannoulis Chalepas, who came from the island of Tinos, and was regarded as being the finest Greek sculptor of the 19th Century.

As with the “Kerameikos Cemetery”, most of the memorials and ancient columns you will see here, are replicas and copies. The originals can be seen in the National Museum or the other museum at the Kerameikos Cemetery.

Visitors to the cemetery will also pass by the tomb of Heinrich Schliemann, the German archaeologist who was the discoverer of Troy, and who excavated the ancient city of Mycenae in the Peloponnese. This tomb, which also contains Schliemann's wife Sophia, was designed by Ernst Ziller, who created it in the form of a Doric temple. It is said that Schliemann himself choose the exact location for this tomb, which was positioned to have a view of the Acropolis, and further on from that, Mycenae.

The cemetery is also the eternal home of Georgios Averoff, who financed the reconstruction of the Olympic Stadium, located close by. The tomb of Melina Mercouri, the renowned actress and politician (1925-1994) also rests here. Others include that of Sir Richard Church (1784-1873), who was the general of Greek troops during the War of Independence.

The setting of this cemetery makes it a very peaceful and beautiful site to visit, if you find the chance. There is a true sense of tranquility about the place, and one which holds great historical significance as well.

Useful Information

Opening Hours:
All day.

Entrance Fee / Prices:
No Admission fee

Location:
The First Athenian Cemetery is located close to the Panathinaiko Stadium, and the entrance to the cemetery is located on Anapafseos Road, on the North-West side.


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