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The Pindaros Hotel Story Telling

Listed as modern architectural monument in 1988. Τhe story of the historic Neoclassical building located on the corner of Athinas Street and Sofokleous Street in downtown Athens, formerly known as the Pindaros Hotel, embodies the city’s modern history since it became the capital of the modern Greek state two centuries ago.


When Athens became the newly fledged country’s capital in 1836, it was a village of no more than 5,000 residents huddled under the Acropolis. Motivated by a romanticised idealism of ancient Greece, it soon shed its Byzantine and Ottoman past with the help of a team of acclaimed architects such as the Danish architect Theophil Hansen, the Saxon Ernst Ziller and the Greek architect Stamatis Kleanthis who introduced a new architectural style, namely Neoclassicism.
The style went on to flourish throughout the 1800s and early 1900s in the hands of a new generation of Greek architects who added unique structural and stylistic elements.
By the end of the 19th century, Athens had transformed from a ramshackle village into the posterchild of European Romanticism, blossoming into a city of wide boulevards, grand squares, stately townhouses and elegant two and three-storey houses such as the Pindaros Hotel.

Built around the turn of the century, the three-story building’s two symmetrical facades feature tall arched openings on the ground floor, with simple windows and two balconies with Neoclassical design railings on the upper floors.
Although we’re not sure if it was originally built as a hotel, it is believed that it operated as one as early as 1900, and for good reason: located on Athinas Street, the building stood at the heart of the rapidly developing city offering a convenient spot for guests to navigate early 20th century Athens.

Part of Schaubert and Kleanthis’ 1834 masterplan for Athens, Athinas Street was designed as a 1km tree-lined boulevard connecting the old and new parts of the city, namely Plaka in the south, a village-like neighbourhood which has been continuously inhabited since antiquity, and the newly-built gentrified quarters in the north. Originally, the street was supposed to stretch all the way to the entrance of the Acropolis in order to visually connect the Parthenon, the ancient temple of Athena, which the street takes its name from, with the new royal palace in Omonoia Square, a symbolic piece of urban planning meant to bridge past and present.
Although it never reached the Acropolis, nor was the envisioned palace ever built on Omonoia Square, Athinas Street became not only the city’s main thoroughfare but also its commercial, cultural and administrative heart. It is where the City Hall, central food market, municipal theatre and prestigious school for boys were built (the first two still stand), grand Neoclassical edifices that speak of the street’s prestige at the turn of the 20th century.
It’s no coincidence that Athinas Street was the first road in town to have electric street lighting installed in 1904 and one of the first to be covered with asphalt a few years later.

Foremost a commercial hub, in the second half of the 19th century the street saw many merchants moving here, commissioning famous architects to build stately two or three-storey residences with stores on the ground floor. A slew of hotels followed suit to cater to out-of-towners, especially merchants on business trips.
The arrival of the electric railway in 1869 further enhanced Athinas Street’s commercial appeal and increased pedestrian traffic.
Its popularity also attracted “healers” and “therapists” selling elixirs and concoctions purporting to treat all kinds of illnesses, leading it to become known as the “street of miracles”.
Following the influx of Greek immigrants from Asia Minor in 1922, the street’s bourgeois character gradually gave way to a multicultural, working-class sensibility with street vendors lining up the sidewalks, and a myriad of taverns and coffee-shops popping up. By the 1950s, the middle-class families who had once lived there were replaced with workshops and light industry.

Fast forward to the present and Athinas Street is a true palimpsest of Athens’ two-hundred-year history, a living representation of the city’s storied transformation from a fledging 19th century town to a modern metropolis – plus it still boasts the best views of the Acropolis.
Comprising an assorted mix of Neoclassical landmarks, Art Deco and Art Nouveau gems, and modernist building blocks, the street is a kaleidoscope of family-owned stores selling hardware, military apparel and spices, bodegas, old-time tavernas, street food eateries, cafés and trendy bars.
Bursting with colourful juxtapositions, the neighbourhood’s unparalleled charm is owed to its bustling energy and eclectic architecture as much as to the rich tapestry of aromas.
From the invigorating smell of freshly ground coffee wafting out of traditional coffee roasteries, the fragrant notes of Greek, Middle-eastern and Asian spices spilling over local emporiums, the wet-iron smell of the grand municipal market populated by butchers and fishmongers and the fresh aromas of seasonal fruits and vegetables sold at the open-air market across the street, to the mouth-watering smell of char-grilled skewers sizzling in various ‘souvlatzidika’, Athinas Street offers an olfactory journey across time and space.

Originally known as “Tripolis” and then “Panellinion” according to Harilaos Pateras’ book “Hotels of Athens: Alphabetical Presentation 1833-2010”, the hotel, as official records attest, was renamed “Pindaros” by 1937 after the ancient Greek lyric poet Pindar. Renovated in 1950, the hotel finally ceased operations in 1980. Listed as a modern architectural monument in 1988, it nevertheless remained vacant for many years, including during the 2010s when the economic crisis hit Athens hard.

Faithful in reflecting the city’s fortunes, the Pindaros Hotel is experiencing a comeback in line with the commercial and cultural renaissance of downtown Athens.
The building was acquired in 2015 by hospitality company Athens Holidays, opening its doors in 2023 after a four-year renovation as an extension to the adjacent Fresh Hotel on Sofokleous Street.
While the building’s Neoclassical facades were painstakingly renovated in accordance with the strict regulations governing listed historic properties, the interior was completely rebuilt to house the hotel’s brand-new lobby and suites.
Crowning the original Neoclassical building, two additional floors in the form of a glass box signal that this is no ordinary refurbishment but rather a bold gesture to connect the property’s past and present.

From an integral part of the newly-built Neoclassical utopia that was once 19th century Athens, to a symbol of the city’s 21st century revitalization, the Pindaros Hotel has without a doubt come full circle.