Haunting trek: visiting the First Cemetery of Athens (pics)

A visit to the First Cemetery of Athens is like a living walk through Greek history and culture

The First Cemetery of Athens is the final resting place of many famous Greeks and philhellenes. Since it first opened in 1837, it has been a peaceful spot to explore, as it is filled with culture and history.


The cemetery includes the tomb of German pioneer of field archeology, Heinrich Schliemann. His mausoleum is designed by architect Ernst Ziller, who is the architect responsible for the design of many municipal and royal buildings in Athens.


Sofia Afentaki’s tomb, a work by sculptor Yannoulis Chalepas, is dubbed the Sleeping Beauty.


Businessman and philanthropist George Averoff’s tomb is a monument to his life. He sits perched on a pedestal, protected by lions.


The imposing mausoleum of Ioannis Pesmazoglou – businesman, politician and philanthropist – is a monument of beauty.


Near the entrance of the cemetery is the grave of actress/politician Melina Mercouri. Still visited by fans and friends, the flowers pour in showing the love that Greece had for the woman who championed the cause for return of the Parthenon Marbles so tirelessly.


Actress Aliki Vouyiouklaki’s grave reflects the lightness of being she exuded on celluloid. It stands as a shrine to the popular actress, who said: “Glory! What is glory, really? She had asked. “It is just stress, and nothing more!”


Beloved actress Jenny Karezi’s grave is simple and dark, and consists of a slab of stone with a hologram of her image.


Late statesman Andreas Papandreou’s grave is also near the entrance. Simple and minimal… a foil to the grandeur of others.



Notable people buried at the First Cemetary of Athens:


  • George Averoff, philanthropist, businessman
  • Sotiria Bellou, singer
  • Yannoulis Chalepas, sculptor
  • Richard Church, general
  • Jules Dassin, director, actor
  • Odysseas Elytis, poet
  • Demetrios Farmakopoulos, painter
  • Adolf Furtwängler, archaeologist
  • Humphrey Jennings, filmmaker
  • Georgios Kafantaris, prime minister
  • Manos Katrakis, actor
  • Dimitrios Kallergis, statesman
  • Michael Tositsas
  • Theodoros Kolokotronis, general, politician
  • Marika Kotopouli, actress
  • Vassilis Logothetidis, actor
  • Yannis Makriyannis, merchant, military officer, politician, author
  • Orestis Makris, actor
  • Melina Mercouri, actress, politician
  • Andreas Michalakopoulos, politician
  • Dimitris Mitropanos, singer
  • Dimitri Mitropoulos, conductor, pianist, composer
  • Kostis Palamas, poet
  • Alexandros Rizos Rangavis, singer
  • Alexandros Panagoulis, politician, poet, democracy activist
  • Georgios Papadopoulos, military dictator during the Regime of the Colonels
  • Antonios Papadakis, University of Athens’ greatest benefactor
  • Andreas Papandreou, Prime Minister of Greece
  • George Papandreou, Prime Minister of Greece
  • Katina Paxinou, actress
  • Alekos Sakellarios, director, screenwriter, lyricist
  • Rita Sakellariou, singer
  • Stratos Dionysiou, singer
  • Alexandros Papanastasiou, lawyer
  • Grigoris Lambrakis, politician
  • Ioannis Varvakis, member of Filiki Eteria
  • Odysseas Androutsos, hero of Greek War of Independence
  • Alexandros Mavrokordatos, politician
  • Ellie Lambeti, singer
  • Kalliroi Parren, feminist
  • Stelios Kazantzidis, singer
  • Christodoulos of Athens, Archibisop of Athens
  • Heinrich Schliemann, amateur archaeologist who excavated the site of Troy
  • Giorgos Seferis, poet
  • Tzeni Karezi, actress
  • Dimitris Horn, singer
  • Angelos Sikelianos, poet
  • Charilaos Trikoupis, Prime Minister of Greece
  • Vassilis Tsitsanis, rebetiko composer
  • Thanasis Veggos, actor
  • Sofia Vembo, singer
  • Aliki Vougiouklaki, actress
  • T.H. White, author
  • Emmanuil Xanthos, a founder of the Filiki Eteria
  • Nikos Xilouris, singer and composer
  • Ernst Ziller, architect
  • Xenophon Zolotas, prime minister