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First Cemetery of Athens

The First Cemetery of Athens is the country's largest and perhaps most important outdoor sculpture gallery.

  1. Modern and Contemporary era (1821 - )

    1837 The place already served as a cemetery.

    1939 The Propylaea (entrance) are manufactured based on the designs of Andreas Ploumistos and Aris Constantinides.

  2. Ottoman era (1453- 1821)

  3. Byzantine era (331 AC- 1453)

  4. Roman era (30 BC- 330 AC)

  5. Hellenistic era (322- 31 BC)

  6. Classical era (478-323 BC)

  7. Archaic era (800-479 BC)

  8. Geometric era (-1100- 800 BC)

  9. Prehistory (-1100 BC)

What I can see

This cemetery is perhaps the largest, most important outdoor sculpture gallery in the country. Most of its magnificent works can be found near the main entrance. Among them are: a) “The sleeping maiden” (1878, by Giannoulis Chalepas), which pictures a female figure lying asleep on a chaise longue, a sculpture that was widely copied, b) “The palmette column” (by Iakovos Malakates) on the grave of Adamantios Korais, c) “The mourning spirit ” (1872, by Ioannis Vitsaris), d) the mausoleum of Heinrich Schliemann (1892, by Ernst Ziller) with representations of the Trojan war, e) the Karapanou family memorial (1895), reminiscent of Lysicrates’ monument, f) the Averof family memorial (Georgios Vitalis and Dimitrios Filippotis), g) “The mother of Occupation” (Kostas Valsamis). There are several more important tombs in terms of sculpture decoration as well as architecture. When entering the cemetery, one immediately notices the modern architectural style of its entrance. As one moves further into the site, one can see tombs of the neoclassical and eclectic orders. The sculptures are balanced between “form” and “content”, as they are governed by great powers of plasticity and expression.

Aphrodite Kouria writes characteristically:


“Tomb sculpture, an important chapter of modern Greek sculpture of the 19th century, flourished early, from the middle of the (19th) century in the First Cemetery of Athens, which followed the western model of cemetery-outdoor sculpture and served the needs, expectations, claims of the late and later bourgeoisie, with sometimes wider extensions. Classicism and Romanticism, from the end of the 18th century, decorated the cemeteries-museums of Europe, with innumerable imposing monuments that stood as reference poles and models for Greek artists, while the tombs of the 5th and 4th century BC from the Kerameikos cemetery, were a top source of inspiration and an immediately accessible field to exercise their gaze and sensitivity. ”


The cemetery has one Catholic and two Orthodox churches as well as a Protestant and a Jewish section. 

What I can't see

This is where members of the Greek society elite are interred including heroes of the Greek War of Independence, politicians, intellectuals, artists, scientists and national benefactors. Walking through the cemetery is like taking a journey through the history of 19th and 20th century Greece. The site is also a place of unique natural beauty with rich vegetation that makes it a safe haven for birds.

Relevant video:


  • Address: Anapafseos St.


Yohalas T., Kafetzaki Τ., (2013), Αθήνα, Ιχνηλατώντας την πόλη με οδηγό την ιστορία και τη λογοτεχνία [Athens, Tracing the city guided by history and literature], ESTIA Bookstore

Glyptothiki, (d.u.), Α΄ Νεκροταφείο Αθήνας [1st Cemetery of Athens], Cultural Foundation of Pireaus Group

Last visit 3/10/2013


Kouria Α. (2003), Νεοελληνική τέχνη, μια δημιουργική πορεία σε ένα νεοσύστατο κράτος, [Modern Greek art, a creative course in a newly formed state ], in Ιστορία του Νέου Ελληνισμού, 1770- 2000, [History of modern Hellenism, 1770-2000] v.4, p.p. 245-262


Kouria Α. (2003), Η τέχνη 1871- 1909, τα χρόνια της ωριμότητας, [Art 1871-1909, the years of maturity], in Ιστορία του Νέου Ελληνισμού, 1770- 2000, [History of modern Hellenism, 1770-2000] v.5, p.p. 240-258