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Stavros Niarchos Foundation

You might have heard Stavros Niarchos’s name from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC)- one of the most visited public spaces in the south of Athens. But who was Stavros Niarchos? What impact did he have on Greece today?

About the Stavros Niarchos Foundation

Today, the foundation’s primary function is to make nonprofit grants around the world to cultural, educational, health, and social welfare organizations. As a private philanthropic organization, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation has given over 2.6 billion euros to 124 countries worldwide. 

About the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center was built in 2016 with a $860 million gift from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. The SNFCC is the largest cultural and education project ever in Greece. It is the first European public building of this size to be LEED Platinum certified too.

The "Lighthouse" | Stavros Niarchos Foundation

Building the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center

The SNFCC was designed by architect Renzo Piano, who was inspired by the name of the neighbourhood, “Kallithea”, which in Greek means “good view.” The SNFCC’s main highlights are the Headquarters of the Greek National Opera and the National Library of Greece. They are set in a large public park with playgrounds, a canal, and plenty of green space. The SNFCC is a venue for concerts, movies, theatre, and festivals, so it is a great meeting place for Athenians.

National Library of Greece | Stavros Niarchos Foundation

Nature at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center

The roof of the Greek National Opera is also its own garden. Among the plants are olive trees, fragrant herbs, and seasonal flowers, many of which are native to the Mediterranean. You can hire a bike and ride in the area or enjoy the running track. On the top floor of the “Lighthouse” (a viewing platform on top of the Opera House), you will get a panoramic view and can see Piraeus.

About Stavros Niarchos

Niarchos was known, along with Aristotle Onassis, as the “Golden Greek”, a name given to a group of shipowners from Greece who made a massive amount of money as shipowners after the Second World War. He lived longer than Onassis and in fact had more money. However, both larger-than-life figures were known for their sightings with celebrities, their lavish yachts, and their private islands

Stavros Niarchos | Wikipedia

Stavros Niarchos’s Youth

Growing up, Niarchos’s father lost a large amount of money on the Greek stock market, and this had a large effect on the young Niarchos. For this reason, he always found a way to protect himself against risks, and he was a very smart businessman. Niarchos’s first taste of business success came at the start of the Second World War. Knowing that some of the boats would be sunk, he bought freight ships and insured them for the maximum amount. 

Stavros Niarchos’s Business

Then, during the war, six of his ships were sunk by German boats, and he collected a large sum in insurance payments, getting suddenly rich. In business circles, he was known to collect secondhand ships as quickly as possible. He also had a reputation as a high-paying manager, a swimmer, and sailer. He had some of the finest yachts money could buy, like the 62 meter sailing yacht “Creole.” By the early 1970s, Niarchos owned over 80 ships. 

The "Stavros S Niarchos" Ship

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