Athens Acropolis Pnyx Hill

ATHENS : Highlights of 2016

A year in pictures through the lens of Why Athens


It’s been an extraordinary year capturing the many significant moments around Athens. Before we ring in the new year, we wanted to share with you some of our favourite pictures that tell the story of 2016 in Athens. From the unveiling of new modern structures, to lighting the Olympic flame, it’s been another incredible year in the great city of Athena.

1. Athens gets a new cultural centre

Athens Stavros Niarchos Cultural Centre

Inside the Greek National Opera at the Stavros Niarchos Cultural Centre.

We were lucky enough to get a sneak peak of the Stavros Niarchos Centre, which brings a very modern dimension to the city, giving Athenians and visitors an impressive space to engage with the arts. Designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, it houses this new 1400 seat auditorium for the Greek National Opera with state of the art acoustics. It follows a traditional horseshoe shape used in Italian opera houses. The cultural centre will be officially opened in 2017.

2. Athens lockdown for world leaders

Athens peaceful protest

A lighter side to the lockdowns during the many official visits by heads of state in 2016

Vladimir Putin and Barrack Obama were among the major international leaders to have visited Athens this year, causing high security and lockdowns in and around the city. In what has been a tense and difficult year for police, this lady did a great job of lightening the mood, singing to the officers through her baby megaphone.

3. The 19th Athens Xclusive Designers Week

Athens Fashion Week Kathy Hendels

Athens Fashion Week

Greek singer Aggeliki Iliadi opened Athens’ fashion week with a bang, gliding down the runway in a revealing lace body suit by Greek fashion house Kathy Heyndels.

4. Athens majestic cathedral restored

Athens Metropolitan Cathedral

The Metropolitan Cathedral in central Athens

The Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens was finally unveiled this year, following a lengthy restoration period. The cathedral, which is the seat for the Bishop of Athens, has not been fully operational since 1981 when it suffered serious damage from an earthquake. It was originally commissioned by King Otto in the 1840’s and can be found on Mitropoleos St in the centre of Athens.

5. Olympic flame lit in Athens

Athens Olympic torch handover ceremony

The Olympic torch was handed to the Brazilians at the Panathenaic Stadium

With 2016 being an Olympic year, the Olympic flame was ignited at the Panathenaic Stadium, home of the first modern Olympics, in a ceremony steeped in heritage and tradition. The graceful priestesses performed a dance in front of the Olympic cauldron as a temporary farewell before it embarked around the world.

6. The National Archaeological Museum celebrates 150 years

National Archaeological Museum Athens

The National Archaeological Museum celebrated its 150 year anniversary

The National Archaeological Museum put its best foot forward with some of its best exhibits on display marking its 150 year anniversary. The bronze statue ‘Poseidon of Artemision’, was retrieved from the bottom of the sea in 1928 off the cape of Artemisia (northern Evia) and is on permanent display at the museum.

7. Fiery sunsets at Cape Sounio

Athens Cape Sounio Temple of Poseidon

Stunning sunset at the Temple of Poseidon in Cape Sounio

One of the best sunsets in the world can be seen at Cape Sounio, a short drive from Athens. We were lucky to have captured another magical moment again this year as the sun disappeared for the day, painting the sky in vivid colour.

8. Athens pays homage on ‘Oxi Day’

Athens Evzone Oxi Day

An Evzone standing guard for Oxi Day

An Evzone casts a shadow over the fallen outside Hellenic Parliament. This photo was taken on Oxi Day, an important day of memoriam held every year on the 28th October.

9. An ancient athletic tradition lives on

Athens Marathon runner

Over 50,000 runners took part in this years marathon from over 100 countries.

The 34th Athens Marathon drew an all-time record with more than 50,000 competitors taking part this year. Known as the ‘Authentic Marathon’, the race starts in the town of Marathon and follows the path the messenger Pheidippides ran to bring Athens the news of victory over the Persians in 490BC.

10. Marveling at the Supermoon

Athens Supermoon 2016

The supermoon in Greece was spectacular.

The Supermoon in November 2016 was the closest the moon has been to earth since 1948. We joined hundreds of photographers and tourists at top of Pnyx Hill, as the moon rose above Athens blanketing the city in a brilliant orange.