Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center

A multifunctional, environmentally sustainable center of education, arts, sports and recreation.

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation - Cultural Center, based in Athens is home to the Greek National Opera and the National Library of Greece.

You might have come across it when Obama gave a speech about Democracy on his last trip as the President of the United States in Greece during his last days in office.

For all of August, there are Guided Tours at the SNFCC.

Even if you have visited the SNFCC, the guided tour will give you an oral history of its origins, backstory, architecture as well as backstage access to the Greek National Opera.

I decided to take the tour and came out inspired, elevated and joyful.

A few notable insights.

The Culture Center itself runs on solar energy that covers 100% of its consumption during the summer and 20% during the winter.

In the National Library, there are about 800K books available with an overall capacity of 2 Million.

Also accessible to the public are,

  • Two fully equipped audio recording studios.
  • One fully equipped studio for shooting, recording and editing video.
  • Reading rooms.
  • Available space for researchers to study, publish and digitise any archives.
  • Desk space. Extremely busy during exam reading season.
  • A computer hall.

At the Greek National Opera,

  • The main stage is 16x16 meters.
  • Each seat has a screen to show subtitles in English, in Greek, with more coming. The screen is aligned with the viewer and the stage for optimal reading!
  • There are 3 additional stages of the same size that move in and out of the main area to support multiple plays in a single day.
  • There is an “alternative stage” room that can be reconfigured on demand to host a variety of music events.
  • There is a room for ballet practice.
  • A soundproof room for choirs.
  • A room to accommodate and record an orchestra.

There are many many more tidbits that you can learn on the tour so I won’t spoil everything here.

Until the end of August, there is also a Photo Exhibition in honour of Yannis Behrakis who only recently passed away. I urge you to visit that too. His photographic journey is incredibly moving, powerful and topical.-

APW: Eyewitness / Yannis Behrakis: Exhibition

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