Athens – Although in the shadow of its ancient hilltop Parthenon, Athens is also home to elegant architectural gems from the 19th and 20th centuries which marked its emergence as modern Greece’s capital.

But their numbers are dwindling fast after Greece’s long and devastating economic crisis left many with little option but to tear them down rather than pay for their restoration.

“Due to the crisis, it’s expensive and difficult to repair these buildings, there is no financial help from the Greek state,” says Maria Daniil, an architect, who specialises in buildings of the late 19th-early 20th century.

“People prefer to abandon or to demolish them,” she adds.

In the 1980s, Daniil had access to state funding that helped her restore her 1936 family home in Koukaki, a neighbourhood in the foothills of the Acropolis.

© AFP LOUISA GOULIAMAKI A man stands near the abandoned neoclassical former Hatzikostas Orphanage in Athens

© AFP LOUISA GOULIAMAKI – A man stands near the abandoned neoclassical former Hatzikostas Orphanage in Athens