ATHENS – Proving its immense and immediate popularity as one of the most-visited sites in the country, the still-shiny Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center on Athens’ coast drew 5.3 million visitors in 2018, equivalent to half the population.
That was based on a survey conducted by QED and presented by Kathimerini which found awestruck visitors lured by a park and cultural and environmental activities that have made it a magnet.
It would be the centerpiece between Piraeus and the long-stalled $8 billion development of the old Hellenikon International Airport southeast of the foundation but elements in the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA are trying to block both, including a $580 million renovation of Piraeus’ port the Chinese company COSCO which operates it.
One in two respondents said they had been to the cultural foundation at least once in 2018 and it got rave reviews from 99 percent from visitors, most of whom were families and people aged 18-44, well-educated individuals and residents of southern suburbs.
The center is a complex in the bay of Faliro in Athens which includes new facilities for the National Library of Greece and the Greek National Opera, as well as the 210,000-square meter Stavros Niarchos Park.
The center was designed by architect Renzo Piano and its construction was funded by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation with a 566-million euro ($643.15 million) donation and donated to the Greek state in 2017.
Located in the Kallithea district in the south of the Greek capital, it also showcases a 170,000-square meter sloping park next to a 400-meter-long rectangular lake. The donation came from a charity set up after the death of billionaire Greek shipping tycoon Stavros Niarchos.