Following the publication of the digital collection of the Cavafy Archive in March 2019, which rendered the archive open and accessible to all, the Onassis Foundation responds once more to the challenges of openness, accessibility, and dissemination of the archive. The Onassis Foundation invested in creating the Cavafy Archive, a tailor-made space in Athens dedicated to the poet’s archive, which was inaugurated in November 2023. The aim was to create a space for the poet’s writings and books, his personal items and furniture, surrounded by artworks that enable us to gain an in-depth understanding of his growing impact on artists from his era until today, a space open to researchers and the public, open to all. Yet another international cultural heritage attraction for all residents, researchers, and visitors under the architectural design of Flux-office by Eva Manidaki and Thanassis Demiris.

©-Pinelopi Gerasimou

The newly designed Cavafy Archive introduces three accessible rooms for visitors: one exhibiting C. P. Cavafy’s personal items, another dedicated to Cavafy’s experiences in Athens, and the Reading Room. Following standard archival practices, the archive and library are housed within a specially arranged space.

The rooms displaying the poet’s personal belongings and furniture reflect the ambiance of his private space in Alexandria. Amid family photographs, vases, frames, a copy of his glasses, his desk, and other tiny and large objects, six portraits of the poet by contemporary artists stand out. Unique among the exhibited items are the poet’s untouched possessions: his death mask, as well as the first edition of Cavafy’s poems, edited by Rica Singopoulo and illustrated by Takis Kalmouchos, which was printed in 1935 following the poet’s death.

In ‘The Athens of Cavafy,’ the pages from Cavafy’s diaries during his trips to Athens stand out, along with a plethora of letters and notes expressing admiration and emotion for the work of the Alexandrian poet by Grigorios Xenopoulos, Ion Dragoumis, Angelos Sikelianos, Dimitri Mitropoulos, Tellos Agras, Napoleon Lapathiotis, and the lawyer and economist Georgios Charitakis, who conveyed Kostis Palamas’ praise for Cavafy’s work, among others. The hall also includes editions from distinguished Athenian poets and writers with handwritten dedications to Cavafy. Angelos Sikelianos dedicated his ‘Τελευταίος Ορφικός Διθύραμβος / The Last Orphic Dithyramb’ (1932), Kostas Karyotakis his ‘Νηπενθή / Without Sorrow’ (1921), Miltiadis Malakasis his ‘Αντίφωνα / Antiphonal [Voices]’ (1931), Giorgos Theotokas his ‘Ώρες αργίας / Leisure Hours’ (1931), and Galateia Kazantzakis her ’11 π.μ. – 1 μ.μ. κι’ άλλα διηγήματα / 11 am – 1 pm and Other Stories’ (1929).

@ Pinelopi Gerasimou

The Reading Room in the building on Frynichou Street serves as a meeting space for the public with Cavafy’s physical archive. Within this area, two sections of artworks are hosted. In the ‘Portraits of Cavafy’ section, the Alexandrian poet is presented through the eyes of eminent Greek and international artists in six unique portraits by Nikos Engonopoulos, David Levine, Giorgos Ioannou, Sotiris Sorogas, Aria Komianou, and Yannis Kyriakidis. On the other hand, the section “Egyptiotes painters” invites us to imagine everyday life in Alexandria in the era of C. P. Cavafy through ten artworks created by contemporary with the poet Egyptiotes, i.e., Egyptian Greek painters, which capture fragments of life in the city where he was born and lived himself.

The building at 16 Frynichou Street was constructed in 1910. It was classified as a preserved building by the Ministry of Culture in 1978 and as a monument of architectural heritage requiring special protection, showcasing exceptional and morphological interest with strong elements of eclecticism from the 1920–1930 period. Furthermore, the decoration on its façade is impressive, successfully utilizing colonnades in its openings. The building is excellently preserved and harmonizes with its surroundings, as Frynichou Street is one of the access roads to Plaka, conserving several remarkable buildings from the same period. In 1989, a two-story underground extension was added to the existing preserved building. According to legislation, the removal, alteration, or destruction of individual decorative and architectural elements and the building itself is prohibited. Despite the rich external eclectic-neo-baroque decoration, its interior lacks a corresponding architectural style.

Eva Manidaki and Thanassis Demiris of Flux-office undertook the design and curation of the Cavafy Archive’s venue. “We were thrilled to be invited to such a significant challenge, as we aimed to spotlight such an eminent poet. Our intention wasn’t to merely create a representation; instead, our focus shifted towards devising a new narrative that remains open to visitors through the exhibits and their respective adjacencies. The core concept behind the design is to overlay the existing building with a fragmentary second complexion, where each object becomes a part of this fresh narrative. The three spaces serve as a vessel for preserving the memory of the poet’s personal life and his relationship with elements such as light, shade, textures, colors, and more. The Cavafy Archive also provides access to a garden currently under construction. This garden will feature thematic planting arrangements inspired by Alexandria or the flowers described in his poems.”

The Cavafy Archive

Frynichou 16B, Plaka, 10558

Working hours: Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday, 11:00-18:00
Free entrance
Info: +30 210 3713 000

All visits to the Cavafy Archive for research purposes are scheduled upon submitting a request on this contact form.

Project/Exhibition Scientific Consultants
Peter Jeffreys, Associate Professor of English at Suffolk University, Boston, USA

Gonda Van Steen, Professor, Koraes Chair in the Centre for Hellenic Studies and Department of Classics at King’s College London, UK

Amalia Pappa, Deputy Director General, General State Archives (G.S.A.), Greece

Stathis Gourgouris
,Professor of Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia University, New York, USA

Maria Boletsi, Endowed Professor of Modern Greek Studies at the University of Amsterdam (Marilena Laskaridis Chair) and Associate Professor in Comparative Literature at Leiden University, The Netherlands
Martha Vassiliadi, Assistant Professor of Philology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece

Bart Soethaert,Principal Investigator at the Cluster of Excellence “Temporal Communities: Doing Literature in a Global Perspective” (EXC 2020) and post-doctoral researcher at Frei Universität Berlin, Germany

Amalia Pappa, Deputy Director General of the General State Archives (G.S.A.), Greece

Christina Dounia ,Professor Emerita of Modern Greek Literature at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece

Peter Jeffreys,Associate Professor of English at Suffolk University, Boston, USA

Takis Kayalis ,Professor of Modern Greek Literature at the Hellenic Open University, Greece

Vicente Fernández González, Associate Professor of Translation and Interpreting (Modern Greek) at the University of Malaga, Spain



Afroditi Panagiotakou, Director of Culture
Dimitris Theodoropoulos, Deputy Director of Culture
Efi Tsiotsiou, Executive Director & Director of Education
Marianna Christofi, Project Development Manager
Angeliki Mpusiou, Cavafy Archive Researcher
Eleanna Semitelou, Educational Projects Coordinator

Design-Curation: Flux-office: Eva Manidaki, Thanasis Demiris, Efthimis Dougkas
Collaborators: Ismini Linthorst, Eleni Arapostathi
Lighting Design: Eleftheria Deko
Construction of Exhibition Units: Sirigos Deluxe Furniture
Construction of Special Lighting: Athanasios Kalkanis
Conservation of Artworks: Athens Art Conservation — Archontia Adamopoulou, Evgenia Stamatopoulou
Hanging of Artworks: Christos Stefanidis
Technical Advisor: Pantelis Stefanis
Project Coordination: Marianna Christofi, Vlassis Adraktas Rentis, Eleanna Semitelou
Building Restorarion Contractor: K.I.Papadopoulos Ltd.
Commisioned by: Onassis Foundation

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