The historic round chapel of Agios Nikolaos Thon, located near the intersection of Alexandras and Kifissias avenues in Athens, has reopened its doors to the public following restoration works carried out by the Greek Culture Ministry.
A significant monument for Athens, the small chapel is a rare example of 19th century architecture. It was built according to the plans of architect Anastasios Metaxas – and not of Ernst Ziller as initially thought – and opened on March 26, 1895.
The chapel was part the “Mon Caprice” villa, owned by Nikolaos Thon, courtier of King George I and director of the Royal Theater. The villa, built according to the plans of Ziller, was surrounded by a large garden with lush vegetation and decorated with sculptures and busts of Greek politicians and Phillelines. It was blown up in 1944 and demolished in 1947.
The chapel of Agios Nikolaos Thon was declared a historical monument in 1979.
The restoration project was funded by the Regional Operational Program Attiki 2014-2020 with a total of 550,000 euros. Work was carried out by the Ministry’s Directorates of Restoration of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Monuments and Conservation of Ancient and Modern Monuments.
“We provide the monument, fully restored, to Athens. One by one, the monuments of Greece’s modern history again find their place in the city’s cultural landscape,” Culture Minister Lina Mendoni said.
Extensive maintenance work revealed the chapel’s original geometric decoration and murals, the wooden windows, the door and the stained glass windows, that were believed to have been brought from Russia by Thon. The exterior carved bell tower has also been preserved.
The project included the revamp of the surrounding area and the installation of new signage.
Furthermore, the monument was captured with a 3D scanner, while its relief architectural features were scanned with the photogrammetric method.