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MidtownGuy
February 3rd, 2007, 04:48 PM
To say that Athens has had it's had ups and downs throughout history is a cosmic understatement. Currently, Athens is experiencing a tremendous upswing.
I wanted to create this thread to share the astounding transformation that has swept over Athens and continues to remake the city.
Of course many of you are aware that something happened as a result of the Olympics, but many who haven't visited in a decade or more would be amazed at the changes that continue.
During the 1800's, when modern Athens took shape, it was conceived and built as an elegant new capital with boulevards, parks and neoclassical buildings. Unfortunately it strained at the seams during the 20th century, when the population exchange with Turkey brought a million Greeks from Asia Minor, many of whom headed to Athens and needed housing. A frenzied concrete building blitz destroyed countless neoclassical buildings and caused overcrowding and a notorious pollution problem. Occupying a basin near the sea, somewhat similar to Los Angeles, smog would settle in and hover over the city. Something had to be done, and it was. Throughout the 90's, aggressive measures were enacted, including driving restrictions, diesel fuel additives, incentives for buying cars with anti-polllution technology, a new fleet of electric buses, the construction of a brand new subway, new highways that relieved some of the congestion on local streets, the planting of hundreds of thousands of trees all around the city, and the pedestrianization of countless streets throughout the city that form a connecting network. You can walk among all the ancient sites via a gigantic network of pedestrian streets that tie together and form the largest archeological park in Europe. Industries have been moved out of the city center. People are taking metro transit to a destination and then walking around. There's a new tram that will take you all the way to the beach suburb of Glyfada, through interesting neighborhoods, in less than an hour...where a turquoise sea awaits.
Countless neoclassical buildings are being restored all over town. Athens now has a crop of new boutique hotels that are on a par with any in the West, catering to a stylish young clientele. A new airport connected to the center by train makes long taxi rides into town a thing of the past. There are new parks, plazas have been beautified, and the legendary nightlife of Athens is more vibrant than ever.

Join me on this photographic tour of the "new" Athens. Liberated from it's smog and neglect.
Only some of these pictures were taken by myself, the majority were gleaned from the internet.
I'm inspired by ablarc and his wonderful, comprehensive presentation of Miami Beach. First, a sampling of the building renovations taking place or already completed...

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in a certain regard, these neoclassical beauties are to Athens what the restored art deco gems are to South Beach

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Byzantine churches are getting facelifts too.

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MidtownGuy
February 3rd, 2007, 04:51 PM
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a couple of funky interlopers
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MidtownGuy
February 3rd, 2007, 04:51 PM
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MidtownGuy
February 3rd, 2007, 04:54 PM
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Athens has an outdoor cafe and restaurant culture.

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MidtownGuy
February 3rd, 2007, 04:54 PM
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the balconies you guys love to hate

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MidtownGuy
February 3rd, 2007, 04:55 PM
but I don't think they're all bad
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a bit of funky charm to all that greenery spilling out.
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MidtownGuy
February 3rd, 2007, 04:56 PM
One of the most entertaining aspects of Athens is the eccentricity of the characters
you meet.

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though some of the biggest characters aren't even people...

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the Athenians are fiercely protective of dogs' rights to roam free. Somehow
it works, the muts are harmless and friendly because of the benevolent indifference with which they're
treated by their human compatriots.

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Athenians love to protest. There's always a protest against something. I love the spirit.

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MidtownGuy
February 3rd, 2007, 04:57 PM
Streets have been spruced up, cleaned up, greened up...

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orange trees!
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MidtownGuy
February 3rd, 2007, 04:57 PM
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Despite their crowded and chaotic city, Athenians just never seem to be that stressed.
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Parks have been spruced up, along with public squares

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MidtownGuy
February 3rd, 2007, 04:58 PM
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So many trees have been planted along the city streets. Scaffolding is a common sight.

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The streets that have been made into pedestrian zones criss-cross the city and are very popular

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MidtownGuy
February 3rd, 2007, 04:59 PM
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Ermou Street is a popular shopping stretch.
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The blocks close to the Acropolis can be very quiet in the daytime.
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MidtownGuy
February 3rd, 2007, 05:00 PM
A very large and beautiful old building in the heart of the center has been turned into a handsome entertainment and shopping complex.
The Nazis once headquartered themselves here during the occupation.

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MidtownGuy
February 3rd, 2007, 05:01 PM
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The Herod Atticus theater, one of several ancient theaters in the city where performances are still held.
The capital of this country where drama and comedy were invented has over 140 performance theaters.

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This is the National Theater.
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contrasts between old and new abound.

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At night, Athens now has dramatic illumination of the ancient monuments and buildings of different architectural periods.

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MidtownGuy
February 3rd, 2007, 05:02 PM
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MidtownGuy
February 3rd, 2007, 05:03 PM
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Just below the Acropolis, you find Plaka, a section of Athens that looks in some places like an
island village.

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Next to Plaka is Monastiraki, an old Turkish quarter that is home to an Eastern-style bazaar
where you'll find anything imaginable.

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MidtownGuy
February 3rd, 2007, 05:03 PM
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The central market is an interesting place.
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^There's a litlle Chinatown!

I love this sculpture

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Psiri , an area that was gritty and undesirable, is now like the meatpacking district, packed with
restaurants, clubs and shops.

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The graffitti in the Psiri area is very interesting.
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Gazi was an industrial area dominated by a gasworks, but it's been transformed into an edgy
arts and nightlife district containing Athens' nascent gay "Village".

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MidtownGuy
February 3rd, 2007, 05:04 PM
Athens has radically improved it's mass transit.

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Now there's a train to the airport.
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A train zips past the ancient agora.
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Excavating for the subway, so many artifacts were found that they're now on display right in
the system.

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Many people don't realize that just 20 km from the Athens center, you have a beautiful coastline
that would make any other European city envious. Some of the cleanest water in Europe. An inexpensive and scenic tram
ride will take you there.

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MidtownGuy
February 3rd, 2007, 05:05 PM
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In the summer, when many Athenians try to esape to the islands, the ones left in town head to the Athens beaches.

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Is this really winter? I could get used to that.

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ablarc
February 3rd, 2007, 07:47 PM
Wow, the grime is gone! Just look at all those pastel colors. It's like a different city.

Very impressive; you've documented a renaissance.

Where did all the money come from to accomplish this?

NYatKNIGHT
February 3rd, 2007, 08:40 PM
Enjoyed these photos very much, Midtown. Thanks for the tour.

Bob
February 5th, 2007, 07:24 PM
My big fat Greek tourbook...right here on WNY! Great pictures. This is nothing I had expected of Athens. It looks like a better version of Miami, Paris, and San Francisco, combined. With less traffic, too.

Did you have any problems speaking with the locals...how is their English?

czsz
February 5th, 2007, 08:22 PM
Where did all the money come from to accomplish this?

Directly or not, EU (I guess).

MidtownGuy
February 6th, 2007, 01:30 PM
I found this information regarding the funds in an old (2004) article
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2004/04/18AR2005041501959.html
in the Washington Post, though it isn't all that specific:

...The government alone has spent as much as $20 billion on public works programs and on sprucing up Athens and other areas of Greece, including four Olympic venues outside Athens. Private enterprise has joined the investment craze, with major hotels spending an estimated $700 million. Fully 90 percent of hotels in Athens have been recently renovated and upgraded, says Dimitris Gemelos, a New York-based spokesman for the Greek Embassy. "All over Greece, the government and private companies have been remaking the nation," he says. The evidence during a week-long trip was everywhere...

the article continues but some of it is about the Olympics and seems passe.

The EU has been pouring money into Greece and it really shows.
The Rio-Antirio Bridge is further evidence of this:
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The total cost of the bridge was about € 630,000,000, mostly funded by the European Union, and it was finished ahead of its original schedule, which had foreseen completion between September and November 2004, and within budget. I think it's beautiful.

czsz
February 6th, 2007, 06:31 PM
Midtown - are you from / live in Athens? I may have to pop over there soon to do some research. Is there a good way to get there from Istanbul other than shelling out $400 for an hour long flight?

musicial
February 7th, 2007, 05:07 PM
Midtown - are you from / live in Athens? I may have to pop over there soon to do some research. Is there a good way to get there from Istanbul other than shelling out $400 for an hour long flight?

I googled it, I found in http://www.istanbul.net.tr/istanbul_otogar.asp that there are two bus transportation agents from Istanbul to get to Athens. but I don't know the means or ways of this travel. Probably it is a bus travel...here are the contact data:

Bosfor Turizm
Telefon: (0090 212) 444 1 888 - (0090 212) 693 33 06
Peron No: 127
Sefer Yerleri:Atina Hamburg Viyana
Derya Tur
Telefon: (0090 212) 256 40 23 - 658 02 98
Peron No: 57
Sefer Yerleri:Atina Korça

And I want to add that $400 for one hour long flight is too much. I visited the web side of turkish airlines for you www.thy.com (http://www.thy.com) it is really around $400 for one-way for 15 February for example :confused: it is too much.

---------------------------------
One other alternative is that you can get to Athens with interrailway from Istanbul via Selaniqie (Greece) to Athens. I don't know how and how much it goes. here is the contact data of this service, visit http://www.genctur.com/gn/burolar.htm and visit http://interrail.genctur.com/tarife2.htm to learn the timetable. In this web side Athens=Atina, Selaniqie = Selanik, Tren Seferleri = Railway journey, Kalkış = Departure, Varış = Arrival.

good luck, have a nice journey to Athens.

MidtownGuy
February 7th, 2007, 09:01 PM
I'm not from Athens, but I've been there many times on my way to the Greek islands. (I try to go every year!) It's just a place that clicks with me.
I would be more than happy to share Athens "tips" with you if you're interested. I remember researching a few years ago about travel from Istanbul to Athens and if I remember correctly it takes a whole day. The good part is that you will pass through very scenic areas. You'd have to switch trains in Thessaloniki.

MidtownGuy
February 8th, 2007, 11:49 AM
This is some great news out today at http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_politics_2425425_08/02/2007_79868

this is the present Monastiraki Square. Note the illumination that has been installed on historical buildings across Athens.
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/158/383851030_915dfe6f01_o.jpg

Monastiraki facelift approved

A much-delayed facelift for Monastiraki Square is set to transform one of Athens’s most popular tourist attractions with cobblestone paving, including a glass-floored section revealing the long-covered Eridanos River underneath, Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis said yesterday.

The renovation is expected to cost –2.5 million and should be completed by November, the minister said, noting that works were due to begin in May.

The revamping of Monastiraki, which sits at a crucial point between central Athens’s main shopping district and the city’s historic center, originally had been scheduled for completion prior to the Athens Olympics in 2004. But disputes between ministry authorities and architects over the design led to the project losing European Union subsidies (which it has since regained). Technical deliberations related to the metro station, which is right next to the square, have also contributed to delays.

Apart from the cobblestones and the glass-floor detail, the planned refurbishment also foresees a renovation of the Saint Pantanassa Church in the middle of the square and the construction of a new fountain.

Speaking about plans to prettify Monastiraki and Plaka yesterday, Voulgarakis said, “With the right planning, this broader area could become a cultural hub which would emit a very clear impression of our concept of culture.” The ministry owns hundreds of buildings in Plaka and Monastiraki.

In a separate development yesterday, the ministry said that it has signed an agreement with the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles for the return to Greece of two ancient artifacts: a 4th century BC gold wreath and a 6th century BC marble statue of a young woman. They are to be handed over to Greek officials by the end of next month.

czsz
February 8th, 2007, 11:51 AM
As much as I'd love to spend a day on the train (and see Thessaloniki, which one of my professors has written a great book about), I'd only be over there (in both Turkey and Greece) for a week total, so I guess I'll have to go with the plane option. I'm surprised there are no discount airlines or high-speed ferries between the two...it's probably cheaper to take EasyJet to London and back...

MidtownGuy
February 8th, 2007, 12:23 PM
I've heard such great things about Thessaloniki, and I've never been there.
A week definitely means plane. I'm curious, what type of research might you be doing?
I'm going to try to find some kind of discount airline for my own future reference. I'll let you know if I come across anything.

MidtownGuy
February 8th, 2007, 12:53 PM
These are some of the museums, institutions, etc. around Athens

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/139/383828869_f97a7c6408.jpg
Academy of Sciences
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/186/383828872_d3b176768e.jpg

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/140/383828873_4d30aae99d.jpg

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/143/383860233_759441300e.jpg



http://farm1.static.flickr.com/157/383828875_76c41a702c.jpg
University of Athens
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/135/383828876_a4d743735c.jpg





http://farm1.static.flickr.com/163/383828877_e9f386e582.jpg
The National Library
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/170/383860232_515a8fcf6f_o.jpg



http://farm1.static.flickr.com/152/383829930_68fdd26825.jpg
Panathenian Sadium, all marble. Original 131 BC. Remodel finished in 1906.
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/177/383860234_a83b67beeb.jpg

MidtownGuy
February 8th, 2007, 12:54 PM
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/138/383829931_de1c127c85.jpg
Old Palace, currently the Parliament Building
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/126/383829934_877a907c3d.jpg



http://farm1.static.flickr.com/139/383829935_beb49e0afa.jpg
Zappeion
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/148/383829937_6387cecb17_o.jpg

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/138/383860235_5c783db1ea_o.jpg
You can admire it at night from the park in front, safe at all hours.
All the major buildings have received illumination.



http://farm1.static.flickr.com/156/383829942_f4dd09aafe_o.jpg
National Technical University of Athens
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/169/383831218_15678ea1a7.jpg



http://farm1.static.flickr.com/167/383831219_1b9c33bc0a.jpg
Municipal Theater of Pireaus
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/154/383831221_72df272cbb.jpg





http://farm1.static.flickr.com/178/383831222_b7ac2fb10c.jpg
Benaki Museum

MidtownGuy
February 8th, 2007, 12:55 PM
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/161/383831223_953211598c_o.jpg
National Archeological Museum


http://farm1.static.flickr.com/123/383831224_5f58043408.jpg
This entry to the Cycladic Art Museum was a private mansion and has been annexed to the newer museum building next door.



http://farm1.static.flickr.com/108/383832357_444b97439b.jpg
Byzantine Art Museum
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/180/383832358_5e87f4eb23.jpg
model and picture showing recent expansion with subterranean
components
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/125/383832360_ed4bf8e533.jpg

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/172/383953222_507339f852.jpg
city hall


http://farm1.static.flickr.com/175/383955818_373a2d384f_o.jpg
Ministry of Foreign Affairs

MidtownGuy
February 8th, 2007, 03:12 PM
more of the recently revived...
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/161/383968543_6c711cd3ec_o.jpg

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/141/383968545_cd6a0b60a6_o.jpg

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/98/383968546_658943e071_o.jpg

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/162/383968547_a1f103dacc_o.jpg

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/178/383968548_dd5efe44b6_o.jpg

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/131/383971078_772ac132fb_o.jpg

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/179/383968552_910ddfc6f3_o.jpg

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/150/383970051_f5297e5701_o.jpg

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/136/383970054_4b0b563270_o.jpg

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/172/383970063_09126371ca_o.jpg

MidtownGuy
February 8th, 2007, 03:13 PM
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/186/383970064_7c4f55f099_o.jpg

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/175/383971054_1afec2cd27_o.jpg

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/188/383971074_a2ac8ab692_o.jpg

MidtownGuy
February 8th, 2007, 03:47 PM
Bob, you asked:

Did you have any problems speaking with the locals...how is their English?

Pretty much everyone speaks some English except the older folks. The people who work in stores and restaurants usually speak great English and many speak a third or fourth language like German, French, or Italian as well.
I wonder if it's easier for them being that thousands of words in those languages are derived from Greek. I can tell you one thing- it isn't easy the other way around...I've been trying to learn Greek and my progress is slower than I had hoped, though I'm now picking up steam with an audio program I purchased. As a traveler there, they don't expect you to know a word of Greek, but when you try with a few words, the acts of kindness that can ensue are wonderful.

czsz
February 8th, 2007, 03:51 PM
what type of research might you be doing?

I'm working on British proposals to "modernize" and "westernize" Greece after the war of independence. A good deal of it actually has to do with the replanning of Athens, the founding of institutions like the library, university, and museum, and offering tacit support for the successive constitutionalist coups against King Otto.

If I went I'd mostly be looking at papers housed at the British School library, but hopefully I'd have some time to see the city. It's amazing how much it had declined by - and grew from - the period I'm dealing with. In 1821, Athens had something like 1,300 residents, and travellers referred to the dwellings there as "barbarian huts"!

MidtownGuy
February 8th, 2007, 04:11 PM
It sounds really interesting czsc. I hope it works out.

I was recently reading this article from the Iternational Herald Tribune. A controversial and tricky subject.

Italy teams with Greece to reclaim antiquities

By Hugh Eakin
Published: December 11, 2006
Pooling their resources and diplomatic clout, Greece and Italy plan to forge a formal alliance to pursue the return of ancient artifacts from museums in the United States and Europe, the Greek culture minister has said.

The agreement, which he expects to complete in early 2007, would cement recent collaboration between the two countries as both pursue increasingly muscular campaigns to get back prized Greek and Roman antiquities. Greece especially is focusing on recovering the Elgin Marbles from the British Museum.

Outlining the strategy in an interview last week in New York, Culture Minister George Voulgarakis said Greece wanted to benefit from the Italians' growing expertise in tracking antiquities and mixing carrot-and-stick diplomacy with criminal prosecutions.

"The Italians are very well organized — very, very well organized," Voulgarakis said. "Every country has its own policy and priorities, but we can help each other."

The J. Paul Getty Museum announced Monday that it would return to Greece two ancient works of art that Greece claims were illegally spirited out of the country, The Associated Press reported from Athens.


[Greece claims the works — a gold wreath dating from about 400 B.C. and a sixth century B.C. marble statue of a young woman — were illegally excavated and spirited out of the country.

[It was unclear if the return would stop a Greek criminal investigation over the alleged theft of the wreath. Italy also has been seeking the return of several antiquities it claims the Getty obtained illegally.]

In late November, Greek prosecutors opened a preliminary investigation of Marion True, the former antiquities curator at the Getty, focusing on her involvement in acquiring the wreath for the museum.

And last week, Greek officials sent the Getty a new dossier of evidence, including documents and photographs, to support their claim for the wreath, whose place of excavation had previously been unclear.

Italian officials have, meanwhile, indicated that they were prepared to drop their own separate claim for the stone statue, which was among 52 objects that Italy requested from the Getty last January. The conflicting claims had previously posed a potential barrier to the object's return to Athens. (In November, the Getty unilaterally decided to return 26 of the 52 objects to Italy after talks between the two sides broke down.)

For countries seeking to claim antiquities in foreign collections and museums, the threat of legal action has become an important tool.

In 2004, Italian prosecutors indicted True on charges of conspiring to import looted artifacts, and in recent weeks Italian officials have made it clear that the outcome of her continuing trial in Rome could depend in part on the Getty's willingness to meet the Culture Ministry's demands.

Voulgarakis stressed that the Greek judiciary was independent of the government and that his talks with the Getty and other museums did not hinge on any legal proceedings in progress.

The accord between Italy and Greece outlined by Voulgarakis would include provisions for both enforcement and cultural diplomacy.

Because of their common interests and shared classical heritage, he said, the two countries might pursue some claims jointly and then determine which objects should go to which country.

Anthee Carassava contributed reporting from Athens.

bmc
February 8th, 2007, 07:09 PM
Very nice pictures, MidtownGuy, thanks for sharing! :) I'm going there in one month, and this gives me a very nice, brief look as to what I'm going to see! :D

ablarc
February 8th, 2007, 07:50 PM
Those "before" pictures depict Athens as I remember it. It sure has changed for the better!

MidtownGuy
February 8th, 2007, 09:10 PM
I'm going there in one month

For how long, and will you go elsewhere in Greece also?

MidtownGuy
February 10th, 2007, 05:43 PM
New York Times
NEXT STOP: ATHENS; Take One Forlorn Ancient District, Add Chic and Stir

By JOANNA KAKISSIS
Published: January 21, 2007
Kerameikou Street runs through the Chinatown of Athens. Scores of Chinese-owned businesses, red paper lanterns swaying above their entrances, line the street, selling clothes, shoes and accessories at the lowest prices around. The Wangfuchinese Market, a well-stocked Chinese grocery store, has special gunpowder green tea, barrels of fresh ginger and an adjoining no-frills but excellent restaurant.

Menelaos Charalambidis, a 36-year-old historian (and no relation to Vassilis), sometimes strolls through Kerameikos after he finishes work at a nearby government office at around midday. A bespectacled former rock musician who lives in the lush suburb of Ilioupolis, he passes Chinatown and weaves through the former silk factory neighborhood of Metaxourgio, where many of the city's Muslims lived for decades and the place immigrants from around the world now call home. Their small houses dot the pebbly lanes where one is just as likely to see a statuesque transvestite buying cigarettes from a kiosk as a haunted-looking grandmother carrying bags of oranges from the central market.

On weekend nights, he sometimes returns to the area with his wife, Stevi Moshogianni, a 36-year-old writer. They usually head for Gazi, which has its roots in the 1857 opening of a French gas firm's Athenian factory. A thriving restaurant and bar district that has some of the city's liveliest gay clubs, Gazi also borders the neighborhood of Rouf, where the Benaki Museum has converted an old factory into its beautiful new annex.

''Gazi may be the closest thing to a modern, progressive neighborhood that Athens has,'' said Ms. Moshogianni. ''It's open-hearted, and yet it makes you feel like you're right in the middle of everything.''

Gazi began to bloom in 1998, when Mamacas (the Mommies), a taverna offering fresh twists on traditional Greek food, opened in a small neo-Classical-style building on Persefonis Street. Using clever public relations and their mothers' finesse in the kitchen, two Greek textile designers -- Costas Iliopoulos and Vassilis Tsekouras -- turned their taverna into an institution and expanded into the next building.

Since then, fine restaurants like Sardelles, which offers simply prepared seafood, have also opened in the area, along with lanes of eclectic cafes and bars. One of the best spaces is gazArte, a bar-restaurant with a rooftop terrace that offers a glittery nighttime view of Gazi, a folksy clientele and live performances of world music.

Around the time Mamacas opened and more than 14 years after the gasworks closed, the old factory reopened its doors as a cultural center called the Technopolis. Partly financed by the city and dedicated to the Greek composer Manos Hadjidakis, the Technopolis is an attractive piece of urban architecture, with its inactive smokestacks glowing neon red in the twilight, but its programming is often overshadowed by the pulsing fare at Bios or the elegant exhibits at the Benaki.

Gazi and its neighborhood cousins may not be Greenwich Village, at least not yet, but Anna Vagena, her 29-year-old daughter, Jasmine Kilaidonis, and her husband, Mr. Kilaidonis, do not regret leaving their leafy suburb for the gritty heart of Athens. Mr. Kilaidonis has transformed at least part of the complex into a tribute to Hopper, even designing an upstairs bar to resemble the 1942 painting ''Nighthawks.''

Jasmine Kilaidonis, an actress who had just performed ''Virginia Woolf'' with her mother at the Metaxaourgeio, likes the sentiment. She has seen the proverbial starving artists flourish here, where the rent for studios or apartments isn't yet at trendy prices. She has also noticed that in this regenerating urban core, an ancient city may be discovering its modern soul.

''I wanted to be in the place where you could sense Athens was a metropolis instead of more provincial, isolated quarters,'' Ms. Kilaidonis said. ''And here it is. It's young, it's curious, and it's more than just Greek. It's Athens.''

bmc
February 10th, 2007, 11:46 PM
For how long, and will you go elsewhere in Greece also?
I'll be in Greece for about nine days total, and I'll visit other countries in Europe as well. In Greece, I'll be visiting cities such as Patras, Delphi, Athens, and the Greek islands of Mykonos, Rhodes, and Patmos.

MidtownGuy
February 10th, 2007, 11:51 PM
Wow sounds like a lot to squeeze into 9 days. Rhodes is one of my favorite islands. Since you're going in Spring, you'll experience Mykonos as most travelers never do- carpeted
in wildflowers instead of parched and brown like in summer. It should be amazing. The water, however, may be still chilly.
Have a great time!!

Bob
February 11th, 2007, 07:49 AM
Messina (Sicily) could use some Athens-style sprucing up. I was there on vacation in December, and found the place almost totally lawless, and absolutely filthy. My wife and I stayed in town all of an hour and a half, then got back on the Autostrada to our next stop. We will probably return to Italy, but not Messina...once was enough!

As for Athens, we're thinking about making a trip there in '08.

MidtownGuy
February 16th, 2007, 11:31 AM
Builders uncover an ancient amphitheatre in Athens
Friday 16 February 2007 16:43

Construction workers in central Athens Friday unearthed a 2,500-year-old amphitheatre believed to have staged such classics as Aristophanes' comedy "The Acharnians".
Work on a four-storey block of flats in the Menidi district was immediately suspended when parts of the theatre appeared.

Archaeologists unearthed 15 levels of limestone seats which they said belonged to a 4th Century BC theatre, indicating it dated from the golden age of Ancient Greek drama.

http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/31383.html

MidtownGuy
February 16th, 2007, 12:03 PM
from www.jetsetterblog.com
Greece Tourism Map for 2007

The first Greek Forum titled “Tourism Map 2007” has been declared by the Greek Minister of Tourism Development Ms. Fani Petralia, with the presence of the Greek Prime Minister Mr. Kostas Karamanlis.
The minister announced the initiative of the ministry for the unification of Attica’s coastal zone with the creation of a new united pedestrian zone of 35 kilometers long for “strolling and cycling” that will connect the Friend & Peace Stadium in Piraeus with Varkiza in the southwestern side of Attica.
Through its eight dedicated sections in which representatives of the government, the Prefecture and Local Administration as well as tourism bodies gave presence, the forum aimed at the analysis of the basic parameters that constitute the today’s Greek tourism industry and that is to register the potentials that open in this important sector of the economy and to promote solutions in vital issues that will facilitate the tourism development of Greece. “The first Tourism Forum will be an opportunity for the common meeting of all the tourism bodies in Greece” stressed in her speech Ms. Petralia. She mentioned that “tourism is a issue that must concern us all and its development goes along with the offering of top quality in all the aspects of the tourism activity.”

She went on to say that the tourism development is not only a case of a state. It concerns every region, every city, every county and everyone who is evolved in the tourism business. It is a case of the hotel manager, the local restaurant owner, the taxi driver and in the end it is a case of all citizens. “Our plan for the enforcement of tourism development relies on the basis of conversation, dialogue, consulting and participation for our common actions. And our plan is for all the Greek citizens. In the development of our tourism we ought to be the leading stars. Only in that way we be able to place Greece once and for all in a quick and balanced route of economical development.
That is the meaning of the Tourism Map 2007 which we promote with everyone’s cooperation,” emphasized Ms. Petralia. “Our target is to have a year round tourism” stated Mr. Karamanlis. “We are working with faith for the business skills of the Greeks, with faith in Greece’s potential. We are working hard to free our economy from perceptions that kept our country behind the scenes.” “The full exploitation of the tourism industry potential is a top priority for us. Tourism is by far the industry of decentralization, of the viable and balanced development. It is one of the strongest tools that we possess in order to heave the peripheral inequalities, for the development of a series of adjacent sectors of the economy, for our country’s prosperity and for the well being of our society,” added Mr. Karamanlis.

His optimism for the Greek tourism industry also expressed Mr. Petros Doukas, the under-secretary of the Ministry of Economy & Finance speaking at the Forum. “Until November the exchange from the tourism activities that came to our country was approximately 12 billions euro which counts to almost the 5% of Greece’s GTP.” Speaking for the new emerging markets in the tourism industry Mr. Doukas mentioned the wealthy countries of the Middle East and especially in the Gulf region, but also for the big markets of Japan, China and Southeastern Asia.
He also mentioned Russia, Ukraine and Hungary for which Greece is the closest destination in the Mediterranean.

ablarc
February 28th, 2007, 09:23 PM
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/175/383955818_373a2d384f_o.jpg
Architect of the newer building should be executed in a public place.

rincony
March 21st, 2007, 04:46 PM
Fantastic photos Midtownguy! You are good photographer with good eyes. Athens looks too nice and relax. But I prefer to live in busy city like NYC. :D

wanderer34
August 17th, 2007, 02:48 PM
I've been an observer for awhile, and I must say that I always thought that Athens has mostly whitewashed buildings, instead of the color that I see in those pics. Suprising!!!

Meerkat
August 18th, 2007, 09:18 AM
very nice pictures - i love the glass sculpture that looks like a human figure walking against the wind. I'm thinking of going to Athens for a couple of days in September - might even book this week. Thanks for sharing the pictures.

zupermaus
August 31st, 2007, 05:11 PM
Not many people know this but Athens is an awe inspiring city when it comes to density, go to the cafe at the top of Lykavitos Hill to see it for real,
a sea of 7-12 storey apartment blocks (with the Kypseli area once the third most crowded in the world).
Some of these pics are a bit dated now, just imagine it a sea of white Olympic-cleaned midrises:

http://www.soest.hawaii.edu/users/bzelt/CORINTH/PHOTOS/AthensDensity.jpg


http://www.airphotos.gr/photo2/2645.jpg


http://www.airphotos.gr/photo2/2646.jpg

http://www.airphotos.gr/photo2/2633.jpg

http://www.airphotos.gr/photo/977.jpg

zupermaus
August 31st, 2007, 05:15 PM
Lykavittos Hill and the view from the top:

http://www.athensguide.com/photoalbum/athens/lycabettuscafe2.JPG http://www.athensguide.com/photoalbum/athens/lycabettuscafe4.JPG

http://img230.imageshack.us/img230/7161/04jpgathenscf3.jpg http://www1.istockphoto.com/file_thumbview_approve/1800778/2/istockphoto_1800778_athens_concrete.jpg
^Athenian cats can CLIMB up to 12 storeys from balcony to balcony

Lykavittos is the steep hill behind:
http://www.greeklandscapes.com/images/destinations/acropolis/other_photos/lma002030102_acropolis_aerial.jpg

zupermaus
August 31st, 2007, 05:25 PM
the density from satellite view, the city is basically trapped in one huge basin and hemmed in by the mountains. In the NW it's 'broken through' a gap and started to suburbanise toward the coastal strip of towns. The officail population is 3.5 million, the unofficial 5 million:

the heart of the city: the Acropolis
http://www.masciarellidesign.com/greecesite/images/eoAthens.jpg

the centre
http://www.masciarellidesign.com/greecesite/images/ISS005-E-16846.JPG

the built up city in total, even the suburbs are highrise with lowrise zones for the villas and mansions of the rich
http://asterweb.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/images/athens-view.jpg


my parting shot, some people think these parts of Athens are ugly, I think theyre feckin beautiful

http://img213.imageshack.us/img213/2573/20070331233505lh5.jpg

ablarc
September 2nd, 2007, 12:38 PM
Paris, for comparison:

http://66.230.220.70/images/post/par5/par5.jpg
from SSC.


SOME DENSITIES:

Macau: 153,545/sq mi
Yorkville, Manhattan: 128,601/sq mi
Paris, 11th arrondissement: 106,327/sq mi
Eixample District, Barcelona: 91,007/sq mi
Levallois-Perret, (a “suburb” of Paris): 67,169/sq mi
Manhattan: 66,949/sq mi
City of Paris, overall: 64,167/sq mi
Kallithea (part of Athens metro area): 62,799/sq mi
City of Athens, overall: 52,458/sq mi
Monaco: 42,566/sq mi
City of Barcelona, overall: 40,829/sq mi
Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London’s densest: 39,308/sq mi
New York City: 26,656/sq mi
London: 12,170/sq mi

(Source: Wikipedia.)

zupermaus
September 2nd, 2007, 02:28 PM
yep youre right Athens is no longer as crowded as it used to be. BUt hey, thanks for liking the pictures.

My first point, those stats compare specific areas and cities alike on a sliding scale, eg Yorkville, NYC is a small zip code area whereas the Parisian arrondisements are whole boroughs along the line of Manhattan or Kallithea. Moreover its wikipedia and rightly points out: "This list is not meant to be an absolute ranking of the most densely populated places."

Which brings me on to zip code areas alone, through which many of those cities would spike unbelievably reaching 250,000 per sq mile in areas of Macau or Hong Kong, or in the case of The Square Mile/ The City in London a population of 400,000 p sq mile by day (and a mere 2000 by night). A strictly Yorkville style count would thus have notably included...

...Kypseli. Before the Olympic makeover this part of Athens was the 3rd most crowded place in the world a title it gained for a short time after the Walled City of Hong Kong was demolished in the 1990s. After Athens was awarded the Games at the turn of this decade this whole seedy area was regenerated into a commercial part of the city centre with many crowded hostels and tenements converted into shops, businesses and hotels, and much of the population (and density) uprooted elsewhere but its still very, very crowded. Now the city has started suburbanising too with density falling all over the centre in part thanks to improved metro links and higher incomes. In the NW on the satellite view the city has 'broken through' the mountains and onto the coast and satellite towns.

My friend used to live in Kypseli at the time, an area full of brothels, immigrants and drugs, but also alot of community and spirit. He shared a roof with a Polish family - not a top floor, an actual open air roof - and they had the most space in the whole building. When he returned during the makeover in 2002 it was already unrecogniseably tamed and many of the communities gone. Still if you walk behind the new facades of Omonnia Square the streets and buildings will be seething.

MidtownGuy
September 4th, 2007, 01:27 PM
Well I just returned from Athens a few days ago. Every time I go, I discover more to love.
It's really hard to describe the energy there, it's just special. For me, the magic of Athens happens not in the skyline but down in the streets, at ground level where the variety of cafes, restaurants and interesting shops is mindboggling. A delightful mix of chic and grit happens around every corner so it's really exciting to wander around and explore, you get a lot of surprises. The Athenians are real characters and show true hospitality to everyone.
Athens has beauty perhaps different from Paris but no less arresting (to my eyes at least). Just different, more exciting for certain tastes.
Visitors should make sure to visit some of the other neighborhoods away from the center, like Exarchia by day or Gazi at night. Maybe get a coffee at night in the Thissio neighborhood with it's endless outdoor tables lit by candlelight and smiling faces.
Athens really rocks at night, long after Paris is tucked into bed. What a dynamic city. I already can't wait to go back.

JerseyBrett
September 5th, 2007, 08:50 PM
Great pics of Athens. Does anyone know how the average amount of parkland per resident of European cities such as Athens, Rome, Milan, Barcelona, London, Paris, etc. compares with large American cities such as NYC, Chicago, Boston, LA? With the exception of London, I would guess that American cities would actually be greater. Does anyone have any info on that?

JerseyBrett
September 5th, 2007, 09:11 PM
Oh, forgot to mention. I don't really see Mediterranean cities growing too much more than they are now. I've been researching fertility and demographic rates for some time now. They don't sound promising for these countries without massive immigration. Greece: 1.35/woman Italy: 1.29/woman Spain: 1.29/woman. Those are unprecented for prosperous, free societies.

zupermaus
September 7th, 2007, 10:18 AM
yep the mediterranean birthrates (with the exception of France) birthrates are plummetting but immigration is skyrocketing. For instance Spain now has the 2nd most asylum seekers in the world coming in (after France at no 1) - a total of 700,000 immigrants a year (an average of 663,000 p/a since 2001)- with an additional 700,000 illegals due to be granted citizenship in an amnesty.

Greece with one of the lowest birthrates is now the main stepping stone for ALL immigrants into Europe coming in from Asia.

the other thingabout falling birthrates is the small towns are rapidly depopulating - all the native youth move into the city for job opportunities and education. In other words the countryside haemmorhages native people taking the brunt of the shortfall, whilst the cities continue to grow - this phenomenon can be seen from Spain to Germany to Russia where theyre experienceing accelerated growth in the past decade.

zupermaus
September 7th, 2007, 12:31 PM
Some cities like London have huge open spaces and parkland - about 87 sq miles for London, alongside thousands of gardens and a 'Green Belt' of protected land to curb any sprawl. Scandinavian, Alpine, East European and German cities also have alot of space whereas cities like Athens, Barcelona, Naples have distinctly less parkland in the centre, infamously so. Paris is a misnomer it can be found on lists of cities with great parkland aswell as cities without. It's amazingly dense but has many small parks, and two massive ones.