Metropolitan Cathedral, Athens

Metropolitan Cathedral, Athens

This cathedral church, more popularly known as the "Metropolis", has recently been cleaned, restored, and reopened to visitors. Serving as the official seat of the Bishop of Athens, it remains a prominent city landmark that has hosted significant ceremonial events, from royal coronations to the weddings and funerals of notable individuals. Its interior is adorned with intricate icons, decorations, and detailed murals, showcasing the beauty of Greek Orthodox faith.

Construction on the Metropolis began on Christmas Day in 1842, with King Otto and Queen Amalia of Greece laying the cornerstone. The builders used marble from 72 dismantled churches to construct the colossal walls of the edifice. After 20 years and the contributions of three architects, the church was completed and consecrated in honor of the Annunciation of the Virgin. Measuring 40 meters (130 feet) in length, 20 meters (65 feet) in width, and 24 meters (80 feet) in height, it stands as the largest church in Athens.

Within its confines lie the tombs of two saints martyred by the Ottoman Turks during the Ottoman era: Saint Philothéi and Patriarch Gregory V. Saint Philothéi, who passed away in 1589, is interred in a silver reliquary, with her bones still visible. Her benevolent deeds included the ransom of Greek women held captive in Turkish harems. Patriarch Gregory V, who served as the Patriarch of Constantinople, was executed and thrown into the Bosphorus in 1821. Greek sailors rescued his body and transported it to Odessa, eventually returning it to Athens half a century later with the assistance of Black Sea (Pontic) Greeks.

In the square out front, two statues stand in commemoration of the last Byzantine Emperor, who perished while defending Constantinople against the Turks, and the World War II Archbishop who played a crucial role in safeguarding Athens' Jewish community from Nazi persecution. The square itself provides a tranquil alternative to the bustling Syntagma Square, making it an excellent place to enjoy a drink at one of the local cafes while escaping the city's bustle.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Athens. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Metropolitan Cathedral on Map

Sight Name: Metropolitan Cathedral
Sight Location: Athens, Greece (See walking tours in Athens)
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Athens, Greece

Create Your Own Walk in Athens

Create Your Own Walk in Athens

Creating your own self-guided walk in Athens is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Walking Tour Around the Legendary Acropolis

Walking Tour Around the Legendary Acropolis

Also called "the sacred rock", the Acropolis was home to temples and sanctuaries throughout recorded history, and is a symbol of the city of Athens. Its religious importance was paramount to the ancient Greeks, and the buildings on the summit still capture the essence of their classical architecture. You can see the temples from most parts of the city, which adds to the feeling that this...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.0 Km or 0.6 Miles
Walking Around the National Garden

Walking Around the National Garden

The National Garden is an impressive, historic park in the center of Athens, complete with artificial streams and duck ponds. Formerly known as the Royal Garden, it was commissioned by King Otto’s queen, Amalia, in 1838, reason why it is located directly behind the Old Palace (currently the Greek Parliament building). Not only is it a welcome refuge from the swirl of traffic just outside the...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 Km or 2.1 Miles
Plaka Attractions Walking Tour

Plaka Attractions Walking Tour

In the shadow of the Acropolis stands Plaka, the most picturesque and oldest district of Athens, with continuous habitation from antiquity until today. The “neighborhood of the Gods”, as it is called, is like a romantic, atmospheric trip to old Athens adorned with antiquities, historic 19th-century buildings, museums and Byzantine churches.

From the vibrant Syntagma Square walking down...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 Km or 2.2 Miles
Athens Food Walking Tour

Athens Food Walking Tour

Traditional Greek cuisine is one of the healthiest in the world, and prices in all but the flashiest establishments afford excellent value. The prevalence of vegetable and dairy dishes makes eating out a delight for non-meat eaters. Carefully selected appetizers (tzatzíki, dolmádes, kalamarákia) can constitute a full meal. Greece’s most famous slow-cooked oven dish, however, is probably...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 Km or 1.4 Miles
Athens Introduction Walking Tour

Athens Introduction Walking Tour

Athens is one of the oldest European cities, widely regarded as the birthplace of Western Civilization. Its history begins in the Neolithic period between 4th and 3rd millennium BC. The first settlement on the site of Athens was situated on the rock of Acropolis which means “high city” in Greek.

According to the Greek mythology, the name “Athens” emerged from a competition between the...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.2 Km or 2.6 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


A Self-Guided Food Walk in Athens

A Self-Guided Food Walk in Athens

Just as many things in Greece, dining in Athens is very much laid-back with the majority of local eateries seeing patrons begin to congregate for dinner only after 8 pm. Eating-wise, the Athenians favor simplicity, leaning to the more casual and not so pricey tavernas where food is plentiful. To...
15 Best Cafes in Athens

15 Best Cafes in Athens

While in Athens it is immediately noticeable that the local cafe culture thriving. Through this directory you will get a chance to visit very different establishments, ranging from "kafenia", to hip, modern coffee shops and get first hand experience of the diversity of contemporary Greek...
Souvenirs Shopping: 19 Uniquely Greek Products to Bring from Athens

Souvenirs Shopping: 19 Uniquely Greek Products to Bring from Athens

A cradle of European civilization, Greece, in general, and Athens, in particular, have long been - from the days of the Roman Empire up until present - the lure for travelers and history buffs seeking to find and bring home something memorable. Today's Athens (much as its ancient self) offers a...