The Church of Panagia Kapnikarea, or simply Kapnikarea, is a Greek Orthodox church and one of the oldest churches in Athens. It is located in the heart of modern Athens on Ermou Street, the busiest street in the historical center of the city. At the beginning of the Byzantine period, Athens fell into decay and turned into a provincial city, having lost its former greatness and political influence. The famous Athenian philosophical schools were closed, Christianity gradually supplanted paganism. It was during this period in Athens that the so-called small Byzantine churches appeared. The church of Panagia Kapnikarei was built in the 11th century on the ruins of an ancient temple dedicated to the woman goddess, perhaps Athena or Demeter. Architectural structure is a cross-domed temple and consists of three interconnected parts. The first and largest part refers to the year 1050 and is dedicated to the introduction of the Virgin into the temple. The domed chapel was added later and was dedicated to Saint Barbara. The outer porch was originally built as an open portico, but then converted into a small porch with two columns. In 1834, when the construction of Ermu Street was just planned, the existence of the temple was under threat. But thanks to the intercession of King Louis of Bavaria (father of King Otto), Kapnikarei was not touched. In 1863, the bishop of Athens became the defense of the church.