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The Church of Our Lady Chrysospiliotissa (Of the Golden Cave)

The architecture of the Church of Our Lady Chrysospiliotissa is innovative for its attempt to stress the grandeur of Byzantium rather than its mystical side.

  1. Modern and Contemporary era (1821 - )

    1859 Submission of the construction permit application.

    1863 Works begin. The project is completed 15 years later, with the exception of the bell towers.

    1888 Completion of the southern bell tower. The northern bell tower will be completed 4 years later.

    1892 The artist Spyridon Chatzogiannopoulos completes the church’s hagiographic decoration.

  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

The importance of this church lies in its innovative architectural design, as well as in obvious interventions made by different architects. Its Byzantine elements have been upgraded and simplified to blend in with the ancient Greek elements. Its architecture is innovative for its attempt to stress the grandeur of Byzantium rather than its mystical side. The church’s lateral arched walls are one more innovative stroke.

What I can't see

The church replaced a smaller church also devoted to Chrysospiliotissa, which was almost fully destroyed during the Greek Revolution. The former church was a basilica with buttresses on the side walls. The name Chysospiliotissa (of the Golden Cave) probably comes from a local cave. The land was purchased by Spyridon Pavlidis, the well-known chocolate maker. Among the distinguished donors of the fund-raising effort toward the construction of the church was Theodoros Kolokotronis, a leading figure of the Greek Revolution. The project’s designer, Dimitrios Zezos, died two years before an application for a construction permit was made. The supervision of the construction works (with the exception of the belltowers) was consequently undertaken ​​by Panagis Kalkos, who died before the project’s completion and was replaced by Ernst Ziller, who modified the dome’s design, causing considerable uproar. The then mayor and civil engineer Dimitrios Soutsos, mitigated the reactions by stepped in and designing the dome that we see today.


  • Address: 62 Aeolou St.


Archaeology of the city of Athens, (d.u.), Ναός Παναγίας της Χρυσοσπηλιώτισσας, [The Church of Our Lady Chrysospiliotissa], ΕΙΕ,,

Last visit 29/12/2012


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


Biris K. H. (1966), Αι Αθήναι από του 19ου εις τον 20ον αιώνα, [Athens from the 19th up to the 20th century], 5th edition 2005, Athens, Melissa