Church of Agios Dimitrios Loumbardiaris near Filopappou hill; Shutterstock ID 1666148053; your: Barbara Di Castro; gl: 65050; netsuite: digitl; full: POI

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Church of Agios Dimitrios Loumbardiaris

Top choice in Athens

At the foot of Filopappou Hill, this 16th-century church may not be the oldest in Athens, but it is certainly one of the loveliest, with a heavy timber roof, marble floors and the permanent scent of incense.

A great 1732 fresco of St Dimitrios, astride his horse in a pose copied from ancient images of Alexander the Great, adorns the interior.

The churchyard, with its wooden gate and bells, conjures Japan – a touch by modernist architect Dimitris Pikionis.

Pikionis also applied his precise style to the restoration of the back exterior wall, a delightful piece of stonework.

In 1648, the church was the site of a reported miracle. The Turks, ensconced on the Acropolis, prepared to fire a cannon on worshippers gathered in the church, but the gunner was killed by lightning, saving the congregation. Hence its name, Loumbardiaris ('of the cannon').