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The Tzistrakis Mosque on Monastiraki Square

Churches in Athens

Tsisdarakis Mosque

According to an inscription over the entrance of the mosque, Mustafa Aga Tsisdarakis, an Ottoman official in Athens, founded it in 1759. According to legend, in order to build the mosque, a column from the Olympeion was burned to get the necessary lime. Later on, the mosque also became known by other names such as the “Mosque of the Lower Fountain” from the fountain that used to be in the building, “Mosque of the Lower Market” and “Mosque in Monastiraki Square”.

After the Ottoman rule, the mosque’s minaret was destroyed. With the foundation of the Greek State, when all the Ottoman public buildings were used by the State, the mosque was given to the army. In 1843 it was used as a guardhouse, later as a prison, a military camp and a warehouse. The mosque was restored to its original form by Anastassios Orlandos in 1915. Three years later, the building housed the new “Museum of Greek Handicrafts” and in 1923 it was named “National Museum of Decorative Arts". Finally it received its present name, “Museum of Greek Folk Art” in 1959.

In 1973 the museum was transferred to another location and the mosque was used as an auxiliary building which housed the exhibition of the ceramics collection from 1975 on. The destructive earthquake of 1981 caused serious damage to the mosque. In 1991, after repairs, the mosque operated again as a branch of the museum and the ceramics collection was enriched with additions from the Centre for the Study of Traditional Pottery.

Location map Monastiraki square
Nearest metro station Monastiraki
For typical words, please consult our Greek glossary. Top of the page


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