Tuesday 26 November 2013

Athens: Agioi Anargyroi, Psirri ( Άγιοι Ανάργυροι Ψυρρή)

Open daily 7-12 am. Tel: 210 321 6234,  19 Ag Anargyroi St opposite Taki St, one short block down from Plateia Iroon and surrounded by lovely spots for coffee or a snack.

If you were not told, you would never know that the eastern part of Ag Anargyroi was once an 11th century cross-in-square church.(1) The exterior has been plastered although the very unusual two tiered dome can be easily seen from the outside. The twin bell towers and long nave and  were added in 1908 to meet the needs of the parish; the elongation of the nave turned it into a basilica. 

It had been a parish church in Turkish times and was one of the few to survive more or less intact after the battle in 1827 when the Turks took back the acropolis for a time – being on the outskirts of town was an advantage during these battles. Like all parish churches in Ottoman times, it was surrounded by a graveyard. There is a memorial commemorating the grave of Panayotis Ktenas, a hero of the 1821 battle when the Greeks captured the Acropolis for the first time. The two-tiered dome of the original church is nicely mirrored twice, on both bell towers that flank the churches western side. The inside is attractive and quite homogeneous
Perhaps it is the setting in picturesque Psirri, an area always pleasant to be in, but I rather like this expansion effort and enjoy dropping in when I am in the district. The interior too seems to be the nicest amalgamation of old and new of all the churches looked at. It has many attractive details such as the wrought iron doors leading into the sanctuary.

The base of the dome has a round grill to help support it but through it you can still see the Pantocrator. The evangelists are where they should be on the pendentives at the base of the dome.

(1) It is worth a little time to google: aganargiripsiri.wordpress.com and the click on Άγιοι Ανάργυροι Ψυρρή  because there is a drawing of the church as it was originally, a drawing which also shows just how out in the country this church was during the Ottoman period.

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