As the name suggests, it is the first cemetery built for the city of Athens. It was first used in 1837 and soon the rich and famous were dying to be buried here. We took the same taxi here from Kaisariani Monastery since it is difficult to come here by public transport
The entrance to the cemetery
The Greek Orthodox Church does not allow cremation for it understands the body to be an integral part of the human person and the temple of the Holy Spirit, and expects the resurrection of the dead. The Church considers cremation to be the deliberate desecration and destruction of what God has made.
The long term residents here are the rich who could afford their own monuments. Those not so lucky ones were given a term of 3 years and thereafter their bones were dug out (and placed in an ossuary) to make room for the next persons.
Although cremation has been legalised in 2006, there is still no crematorium in Greece.
The Sleeping Maiden
This the most famous tomb here, the tomb of Sofia Afentaki. The girl seems to be sleeping soundly and nothing shows the rigidity of the dead body. This corresponds to the model of the classicist tomb to which death is an eternal dreamless sleep.
We like visiting cemeteries as we consider them to be museums for tombs. We also find them hauntingly beautiful!