This Fast Fashion Store Offers a Look into Athens' Past

Grand Hotel dAthènes, Athens
Grand Hotel d'Athènes, Athens | © DIMSFIKAS/WikiCommons
Ethel Dilouambaka

With a rich heritage and history, Greece is home to a plethora of ancient sites and archaeological finds. Every now and then, these vestiges of its ancient past collide with modern life. One of the latest examples is located inside the stunning neoclassical building housing a Zara store in downtown Athens.

Loved by over 40s

Hidden in the basement of the Spanish fast fashion leader, at the junction of Stadiou and Korai Streets, some ancient ruins are on display on the lower floor, next to the children’s apparel. The ruins are thought to be tombs dating from the Roman era. They’re a fascinating reminder that the ancient city hasn’t really disappeared.

The building itself has lived many lives. It is thought to have been built between 1840 and 1890. It was apparently the first residence of Ioannis Hadjikyriakos (1818-1896), founder of one of the oldest charity institutions in Greece, the Hatzikyriako Foundation for Children’s Protection. When he died, he mentioned in his will that the property should be used as a hotel. In 1890, the building was known as the Hôtel d’Egypte, a second-class tourist establishment. It was later renamed Hôtel d’Athènes, and appeared in several tourist guides. At the time, the restaurant was quite popular among locals and visitors.

Roman tombs in Zara store

During World War II, the building was occupied by the army until 1944. Afterwards, it housed shops and offices, until it became vacant. In recent years, the building has undergone extensive renovation work. Now, this historic landmark is home to one of the many Zara stores in the Greek capital.

The Roman tombs were probably discovered during the construction of the metro line, as Panepistimio station is nearby. As with many buildings around the city, the present and the past have been allowed to cohabit in this building.

This is not the only unusual place in Athens to get a glimpse of the city’s past. Several metro stations–including Syntagma, Acropolis and Panepistimio–display artefacts found during the construction of the metro.

Underground ruins in the Zara store in central Athens
culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.