Church of Kapnikaréa
Church of Kapnikaréa
4.5
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The area
How to get there
  • Monastiraki • 4 min walk
  • Akropoli • 8 min walk
Reach out directly
See what travellers are saying
  • Razorfish
    Little Rock, Arkansas5,293 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Beautiful Byzantine Church
    The church is a beautiful Byzantine building on Ermou Street. It contains wonderful murals and icons inside. We were prevented from taking photos by a surly matron. The building is said to be over 1,000 years old. It is definitely worth popping in for a quick look.
    Visited October 2022
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 23 September 2023
  • Katie G
    Indianapolis, Indiana9 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Lovely little church
    This is a lovely little 1000 year old church tucked away in the busy Monastiraki shopping district. It is small and free to enter. It is not a destination but definitely worth a pop in if you are in the area and come across it. It was enough to give our teens the flavor of a Byzantine church without them losing interest.
    Visited October 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 18 October 2023
  • Mairwen1
    United Kingdom11,027 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    1000 Year Old Church Smack Bang in the Middle of Busy Ermou St
    This was one of my favourite churches in Athens, perhaps because it has managed, against all odds to survive for over 1000 years. Over the centuries it has been damaged by earthquakes, come under attack during the Greek War of Independence, and was very nearly demolished in the 19th century to make way for Ermoú Street. And yet it is still here. It sits smack bang in the centre of busy Ermou street and, due to its age, it sits slightly below street level. It’s a curious thing to see this beautiful little 1000 year old church surrounded by the shops and chain stores and commerce that have grown up around it. Built in the 11th century, it was constructed over the top of the ruins of an old temple dedicated to Athena or Demeter. What you see here is a classic Byzantine church, square and topped with a central dome which is supported by four massive columns. Its made of heavy stone blocks, many of which were scavenged / recycled from older buildings. A shimmering golden mosaic of Mary and baby, Jesus, sits above the main entrance. It looks as if it would be very old - Mary is in traditional blue robes and, in the early style of iconography, Jesus looks like a miniature adult rather than a baby. However we later learnt that its a relatively modern work that has adopted a centuries older style. It’s free to enter but no photos are allowed.
    Visited May 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 17 November 2023
  • Deanosaur89
    Edmonton, Canada7,829 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Old and Unique Church
    This church is around 1000 years old and tiny. I've never seen a church of this style anywhere and from what I understand it was one of the oldest churches in Athens. The interior lets in very little light but the walls are covered in old and vibrant paintings. It is a little small but we still enjoyed our quick visit. Each day there are local bands that play in front and one day it was quite good. The closest metro is Monastiraki which is about a 5 minute walk away and there are other churches in the area to check out. There are many restaurants and cafes in the area if you're looking for a quick stop as you walk around Athens. I think it goes without saying but protect your valuables in this area.
    Visited March 2024
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 20 March 2024
  • Baggio1018
    London, United Kingdom275 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Interesting & Different
    Although we located this church on a map, we did not expect to see it literally in the middle of a shopping street, almost as if they continued to build the city around it. Not a big church but both the exterior and interior are a little different, so definitely worth a look. Did we mention it is free too??
    Visited April 2024
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 19 May 2024
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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles772 reviews
Excellent
378
Very good
324
Average
64
Poor
4
Terrible
2

Mairwen1
United Kingdom11,027 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2023 • Couples
This was one of my favourite churches in Athens, perhaps because it has managed, against all odds to survive for over 1000 years.
Over the centuries it has been damaged by earthquakes, come under attack during the Greek War of Independence, and was very nearly demolished in the 19th century to make way for Ermoú Street. And yet it is still here.
It sits smack bang in the centre of busy Ermou street and, due to its age, it sits slightly below street level. It’s a curious thing to see this beautiful little 1000 year old church surrounded by the shops and chain stores and commerce that have grown up around it.
Built in the 11th century, it was constructed over the top of the ruins of an old temple dedicated to Athena or Demeter.
What you see here is a classic Byzantine church, square and topped with a central dome which is supported by four massive columns. Its made of heavy stone blocks, many of which were scavenged / recycled from older buildings.
A shimmering golden mosaic of Mary and baby, Jesus, sits above the main entrance. It looks as if it would be very old - Mary is in traditional blue robes and, in the early style of iconography, Jesus looks like a miniature adult rather than a baby. However we later learnt that its a relatively modern work that has adopted a centuries older style.
It’s free to enter but no photos are allowed.
Written 17 November 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

CPaM68
Texas686 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2021
We were staying in an apartment between Sig Square and the Pláka when we stumbled upon this small church by accident one afternoon while out exploring. It is located at the end of Ermou Street (a high-traffic shopping area) on the edge of the Pláka. The Greek Orthodox Church is thought to have been built in the 11th century and is one of the finest examples of Byzantine architecture in Athens. Like a lot of early Christian churches, it was built on the ruins of an ancient Greek temple. It is an interesting little church with plenty of religious icons and several frescoes. Admission is free, but no photos are allowed inside. (PaM)
Written 24 April 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Athena Constantinou
96 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
June 2023
This masterpiece of Byzantine architecture is located in the center of the modern city of Athens, in the middle of the city's busiest shopping street, Ermou, and has been an important part of the city's history for almost 1000 years. When the Church of Kapnikarea was built in the 11th century, its floor was at the same level as the street. Today it is lower than the level of the pedestrian zone, which shows the efforts made over the centuries to preserve the church in the modern urban environment. The church is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and bears its name "Kapnikarea" because of the burn marks on its structure, derived from the Greek word "kapnos" for smoke. Although historically it is one of the most important Greek churches and an invaluable treasure for Greek citizens, unfortunately it is often overlooked by passers-by.
Written 14 June 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Deanosaur89
Edmonton, Canada7,829 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Couples
This church is around 1000 years old and tiny. I've never seen a church of this style anywhere and from what I understand it was one of the oldest churches in Athens.

The interior lets in very little light but the walls are covered in old and vibrant paintings. It is a little small but we still enjoyed our quick visit. Each day there are local bands that play in front and one day it was quite good.

The closest metro is Monastiraki which is about a 5 minute walk away and there are other churches in the area to check out. There are many restaurants and cafes in the area if you're looking for a quick stop as you walk around Athens. I think it goes without saying but protect your valuables in this area.
Written 20 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Baggio1018
London, UK275 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Couples
Although we located this church on a map, we did not expect to see it literally in the middle of a shopping street, almost as if they continued to build the city around it.

Not a big church but both the exterior and interior are a little different, so definitely worth a look. Did we mention it is free too??
Written 19 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Razorfish
Little Rock, AR5,293 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2022 • Couples
The church is a beautiful Byzantine building on Ermou Street. It contains wonderful murals and icons inside. We were prevented from taking photos by a surly matron. The building is said to be over 1,000 years old. It is definitely worth popping in for a quick look.
Written 23 September 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

PaulB
Maastricht, The Netherlands3,142 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
The 11th century Kapnikarea Church is named after the Holy Mary and seems to be immersed in the higher buildings of Ermou Street.
Yet it is still one of the most monumental buildings from the Middle Ages and definitely worth a visit.
Admission is free.
Written 19 February 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Amy
187 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2022 • Couples
A very sweet little church, surprisingly quiet inside considering it’s in a busy area. Beautiful paintings on the walls, but it is not well lit so a little difficult to see. Worth a visit for the unique building style and lovely Byzantine details.
Written 7 November 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Harrison F. Carter
Auckland, New Zealand12,827 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2022
Loved this little church... passed it several times per day en route home, and each time it made me smile... pleased to see it. Well worth a look.
Written 5 March 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Katie G
Indianapolis, IN9 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Family
This is a lovely little 1000 year old church tucked away in the busy Monastiraki shopping district. It is small and free to enter. It is not a destination but definitely worth a pop in if you are in the area and come across it. It was enough to give our teens the flavor of a Byzantine church without them losing interest.
Written 18 October 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Church of Kapnikaréa, Athens

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