As the First Cemetery expanded, Catholic and Protestant sections were created. A Jewish section too, though it’s no longer in use. The resting place grew to 225,000 square metres, housing over 12,000 graves. Neoclassical tombs, classical angels of mourning, temples, sarcophagi, urns, busts, standing and seated sculptures, ornate crosses, monuments — this free, open-air museum has it all.
The marble used was almost exclusively from Mount Pendeli, in the north of Athens, and the original craftsmen were from Tinos, an island renowned for its marble sculptors. The anonymous creators of the elaborate crosses and stone epitaphs, were never recorded. These artisans died with their art, until the good and the great of Athenian society began to be buried here. “Sleeping Maiden” by Yannoulis Chalepas (the most celebrated sculptor from Tinos) is the most well-known artistic landmark, located in the square close to the church of Saint Theodore. But there are many more.