The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center is a cultural center 4.5 kilometers south of Athens in the suburb of Kallithea.
It is one of the world's largest privately funded cultural centers and includes the Greek National Library, the Hellenic State Opera and a 50-acre park. After its completion, it was ceremoniously handed over to the Greek state on February 23, 2017.
All important information about the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) is collected here, including its history and address.
What Can I Do at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center?
Greek National Opera
The National Opera has two halls, the 28,000 square meter concert hall is an architectural masterpiece and can accommodate 1,400 visitors. The smaller, on the other hand, which is also known as the Alternative Stage, has room for 400 spectators. The opera was inaugurated with a performance of Richard Strauss' Elektra.
Opera, ballet and musical performances take place regularly, and a visit is an experience simply because of the view offered. The current program can be found on their website.
Greek National Library
In total, the National Library comprises over 2 million volumes, with 4,500 Greek manuscripts it holds one of the largest collections of Greek writings.
It is modern and designed with cheerful colors. In the light-flooded room there is a book tower, a research library, a children's library as well as freely accessible reading and working areas.
The all-glass reading room of the National Library is located at the highest point of the 32 meter high man-made hill and is also called "Lighthouse" because of its impressive view of the Acropolis, the sea and Athens. The observation deck also houses a café. The reading room is covered by a huge solar roof.
Stavros Niarchos Park
The heart of the park, which is open to the public, is the so-called Great Lawn, where meetings and events take place regularly. In total, the park covers an area of over 20 hectares with Mediterranean vegetation and rich flora. In addition to lots of green space, it offers playgrounds, a running track and a training ground, a large chess board and a vegetable garden where gardening courses are held.
The 400 meter long and 30 meter wide salt water canal runs along the building complex and also creates a visual connection with the sea and the coast of Faliro. Kayaking and sailing courses are offered on the canal.
A special attraction are the water games accompanied by music, which take place daily between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
Temporary exhibitions are held in many areas of Stavros Niarchos Park and the building complex, including the north entrance, along the park's west walkways, the banks of the canal, the Agora and the lighthouse, and selected areas of the library and opera buildings.
Cafes and Restaurants
The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center houses several bistros, cafes and restaurants. One of them is on the roof of the National Library's reading room and offers a breathtaking view.
Admission, Tickets and Guided Tours
The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center is open all year round.
- Tickets: Tickets for the concerts can be bought on site, at the box office or online.
- Guided Tours: There are numerous guided tours of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center of varying lengths.
- Admission: The exact admission prices can be found here.
Event schedule with current program
You can view the opera's schedule, including the hall and the current program with all events, here.
How Do I Get to the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center?
The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center is located in a suburb south of Athens directly by the sea and can be reached by bus lines 130, 217, 860, A1 and B1. If you are coming from the center of Piraeus, the stop is called "Delta", in the opposite direction you have to get off at "Tzitzifies".
There is also a regular shuttle bus service between the SNFCC and Syntagma Square in Athens. Use is free. The timetable can be found here.
History of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center
Kallithea, the name of the suburb where the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) is located, means "beautiful view" in English. Although the property is oceanfront, an eight-lane highway runs between the coast and the SNFCC.
When the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center was built, an attempt was made to restore the connection between the sea and the city, or at least to make the transitions more fluid and attractive through artificially created hills and appropriate greening. The 210,000 m2 area used to be a racecourse and a parking lot.
Actually, only a new place for the Greek National Library was to be created. However, when it became clear at the same time that the Greek National Opera also urgently needed an expansion, both projects were merged and transformed into the form of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center.
The opera and the national library are the two main buildings of the complex, which are connected by a common courtyard, the so-called agora. The glass facades of both buildings face the canal, a 400 meter long basin of sea water.
On the other side, the buildings are surrounded by 32-meter-high man-made mounds, at the top of which is the library's fully glazed reading room, called the Lighthouse. From here you have a great view.
The huge park with its diverse flora and the numerous leisure opportunities and activities offered free of charge is intended to enrich the center and make culture accessible and attractive for everyone.
Italian architect Renzo Piano was commissioned to design the project. Upon completion, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center was handed over to the Greek State on February 23, 2017.
The Stavros Niarchos Foundation is a foundation of Stavros Niarchos, a shipowner and art collector who died in 1996. As a private charity, the Foundation supports projects in the fields of arts and culture, education, healthcare, sports and social welfare.
Already in 2017 the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center had more than 1 million visitors.
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