100 Pireos Street
118 54 Athens

    Contact Info

    Τ: +30 210 34 61 589, +30 210 34 67 322  
    F: +30 210 34 13 228


  • The venue has its own bar

The History of the Gasworks

The Athenian gasworks of the French Gas Light Company were founded in 1857 by royal decree of King Otto upon the unanimous decision of the Municipal Council of Athens. It was at this time that the Industrial Revolution began to rear its head in the newly established Greek State, which was then but three decades old.

With this decree, Frangiskos Feraldis was granted the right to construct and operate gasworks to bring light to the city. When the decision as to where this industrial complex should be built was taken, great importance was attached to it having a central location; thus it was placed at the third corner of the central triangle of Athens’ original city plan, on the main road to Piraeus. It was here that Kleanthes and Schaubert had planned to construct Kekrops Square in their 1833 plans for the city, while von Klentze proposed, in 1834, that the Royal Palaces be built there.

Later development in the wider area around the gasworks complex saw Pireos Street established as one of the capital’s major industrial areas.  

The construction and operation of the gasworks occurred in four phases:

  • Phase 1 (1862-1887): The first buildings were constructed and machines such as retort furnaces (ovens) were introduced, alongside gasholders for storage, chimneys, a cleaning room, water tanks, storerooms, and a residence for the site manager.
  • Phase 2 (1887-1920): The demand for gas was increasing during this period. In addition to the public lighting of streets, factories and private homes began to use the fuel. It was during this phase, under the new ownership of Serpieris and der Vol, that the complex was expanded in the run up to the 1896 Olympic Games. A new chimney was constructed, along with a series of furnaces, two gasholders, and various auxiliary buildings for the use of the site workers (changing rooms, bath-houses, a barber’s, and so on). It was at this time that the complex achieved its current layout.
  • Phase 3 (1920-1952): German technology was introduced to improve the quality of the gas output, a new production unit was added, and a third chimney was constructed. Pioneering technology for water-gas production was also introduced at this time. When the contract of the French Gas Light Company came to an end in 1938, the factory was ceded to the Municipality of Athens and became the Public Gas Enterprise of Athens (DEFA).
  • Phase 4 (1952-1984): Despite the city’s building boom in the 1960s, the factory went into decline as the type of energy it produced was considered “obsolete”. In 1983 coal gas production was discontinued, and the network was connected to the Greek Refineries in Aspropirgos, where naphtha production technology was introduced. A year later the factory’s operation was suspended as it was considered anachronistic, not only because of the pollution it caused but moreover due to its location in the centre of the city, close to the Acropolis.

The repair, restoration and re-use of the old buildings (in two phases), along with the development of the open spaces throughout the complex, which began in the late 1990s and was completed a little before the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, was a complex project founded on the principles of staying true to the architecture and making the complex fully functional. The social and economic significance of the gasworks, along with its noteworthy architecture, set it apart as one of the foremost monuments of modern Athens.

Technopolis Today

The Technopolis Cultural Centre of the City of Athens, which covers an area of approximately 120 acres, is today a vibrant industrial museum, one of the most interesting of its kind in Europe, that boasts exceptional architecture. It is located in the Gazi area of Athens, at the site of the city’s old gasworks, beside the ancient Kerameikos cemetery and close to the Acropolis. Its staggered transformation into a multi-purpose cultural centre that hosts a wide variety of events has given visitors the opportunity to wander around a complex that resonates with images, knowledge and emotions. The chimneys, the enormous gasholders, the smoke stacks and the furnaces exude the charm of a bygone era, and the complex has been transformed into a new kind of “factory” that protects and produces art; interestingly, the word “gas” is derived from the ancient German word “galist” (later “geist”) which means “spirit”.

Technopolis has been in operation since 1999, and is dedicated to the memory of the unforgettable composer Manos Hadjidakis.

In honour of modern Greek poetry, the buildings in operation at the complex bear the names of eight great Greek poets: Andreas Embirikos (Hall D1), Angelos Sikelianos (D4), Yannis Ritsos (the Amphitheatre, and Athens Radio Station 98.4), Kostis Palamas (D10), Takis Papatsonis (D6), Constantine Cavafy (D7), and Kostas Varnalis (A8). The symbol of Technopolis is an original sculpture by Nikos Yorgos Papoutsidis entitled The Sphere of the Millennium, which depicts the earth surrounded by olive branches and symbolises the hope that peace and humanity shall prevail across the world.