A little-known antiquity in Athens: under the Russian Orthodox Church of Nikodemus, situated in one of the city'A busiest thoroughfares, lie 2 series of catacombs nearly two thousand years old but entirely unknown to most Athenians today.
LV Philellinon Street.
LV Church of Nikodemus.
AV PAN DOWN..Interior of church.
SV Father Elias enters catacombs.
SV Father Elias in catacombs.
SEQUENCE..Various shots in catacombs.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: A little-known antiquity in Athens: under the Russian Orthodox Church of Nikodemus, situated in one of the city'A busiest thoroughfares, lie 2 series of catacombs nearly two thousand years old but entirely unknown to most Athenians today.
The entrance to the catacombs is in the Church of Nikodemus - in Philellinon Street - and Father Elias the priest in charge takes our cameramen on a tour of these subterranean chambers.
The catacombs were discovered a hundred years age by Antonino Capustin, an Orthodox Archimandrite who was also an archaeologist, He found five big bathrooms. Later 25 more were found to exist. These rooms were used as entertainment halls by the Romans during Emperor Nero's period. According to Capustin, they were built long before this time on the site of the Appolo Atticus Temple.
During Emperor Hadrian's reign (117 to 138 A.D.) the baths were transformed into an underground reservoir, supplying fresh water to neighbouring areas. The rooms are still flooded in spite of Capustin's efforts to prevent water coming in. On entering the catacombs, bones of ancient Athenians and Monks s???e visible to the left, while on the right is a series of rooms or baths. The catacombs and underground water supply system originally extended as far as Hadrian's Arch and the Pillars of Olympian Zeus in the city.