Old Athens Photos Panepistimiou Street.

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Panepisitimiou street

Rex Building

The Rex is an entertainment building built in 1936 by the Sikiaridis brothers. At first it was named Sikiaridis Mansion of spectacles. It was purposely built from the beginning to include a theater, two movie theaters, a bar and a music scene. For its day it was unique of its kind for the greek standards and until today is the biggest in the center of Athens. It was designed by the architects Bonis and Cassandras. The some persons who designed a few years earlier the huge Metochico Tamio Stratou building at the parallel Stadiou street. It underground floors are 18 meters deep. Ten million working hours was needed for its construction. One of the first big buildings in Athens with air-condition support.

At the ground floor was the big Rex movie theater. At the top floor is the new theater of the great actress Marika Kotopouli with four spacious elevators who transfer the spectators. At the basement was a ballroom and a smaller movie theater which was named Sineac from the french phase Cine Actuele (Contemporary movie theater in english). Sineac was for kids and had an educational character. It projected cartoon movies and documentaries about the wild nature. All the entertainment spaces could hold four thousands persons. At a period when the health impacts of smoking were little know, inside that building smoking was forbidden. It was a rare kind of precaution against during 30s. The Rex movie theater was managed by Skouras who also managed the great Attikon and Apollon movie theater at parallel stadiou street. During german occupation the building was open. It didn’t entertain exclusively german soldiers like the Attikon movie theater.

The dark days of the Rex building came in 1982 when it was burned. Between 1980-1982 many big historical building and shops were destroyed by fire. Rex and Sineac movie theater had minor damages but repairs were necessary in order to operate. The cost for repairs is enormous. So the building became a public property ιν 1987. It was bought for 650 million drachmas and the repairs were at a cost of two billion drachmas. Nowadays the theater at the top floor is a part of the greek national theater and many theatrical plays are mounted. The Rex movie theater has been transformed into a music scene.

Ideal movie theater.

Another one historic movie theater. It was built in 1922 when the first movies appeared in Athens. Its first name was “Salon Ideal” and for a short period “Ethnikos” but the shorter name “Ideal” prevailed. After Attikon movie theater Ideal was the second which screened talking movies. It was severely destroyed by fire in 1933 and it was repaired in 1935. Very close to it were important movie theaters, Rex, Sineac, Titania, Pantheon and Mondial. After the 60s only Ideal survived, the rest were demolished or transformed. During 70s it lost its reputation with unethical movies and in 1978 it closed. However it reopened during 80s. In mid 90s it was fully renovated and became a successful movie theater. Nowadays it suffers from the general economic crisis.

Schliemann House.

It was built between 1878-1880 by the architect Ernst Ziller. It was funded by the german archeologist Heinrich Schliemann. In front of the building there was 24 statues of ancient greek Gods. They were naked and some passing people were embarrassed by their nudity. So Schliemann decided to dress them with ordinary clothes. That worsened the situation since the people found the view ridiculous.   The greek president Elefterios Venizelos used as his personal politic office.


According to the early city plan of Leo von Klenze the academy and library was planed to be constructed in Mouson square (Muses square in english) which is today the Syntagma square.

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1900 Athens Panepistimiou Street

30s Athens Panepistimiou Street

1950 Athens Panepistimiou street Cinema Titania

Place of the of the photos on the map. View larger map.