Residents of Athens, some with prominent positions in society and others invisible, were asked to answer the question posed to them by the newspaper “Nation».
-What is the biggest need of Athens? What does it take to become a civilized city?
The city of 12 thousand inhabitants in December 1834 evolved over the century after it became the capital of a large city. Its curbs are united on one side with the suburbs, which start from the supremacy of the Attic mountains and merge from the other with the houses on the Saronic coast.
Adverse circumstances that arose, the national adventures, the lack of method, the fatal party intervention, which takes place in every event of public life, brought about their destructive work. Growth was without plan and system, buildings were built without restraint and pace and no predictions were ever made about the distant future. As a result we have the current large and multiple of the city.
We first asked the Prime Minister, then the Mayor …
Mr. P. Tsaldaris he answers willingly. It is not difficult to find the greatest need of Athens which expresses it in just a few words:
– Above all, to become a city, he tells us.
After the Prime Minister, the question is addressed to Mr. Mayor of AthensHe hears it in the luxurious office of the old City Hall on Athena Street, at the entrance of which we are greeted by a sleek dressmaker.
Mr. Kotzias, without thinking much answers us:
-Mayor! … and he adds, that is, the city should have only one householder and not many, so it has none. Then he will have a Mayor!
The Honorable President of the Academy of Athens, Mr. Gr. Kampouroglou, the “lover of Athens”, as he has been called, answers the question kindly. He dictates his answer with pain, the deep pain that man feels when he loses where he worships:
– He says, I need to get the deformations of the soil of Athens. After the establishment of the so-called civilization, they began to quarry Lycabettus, Turkovounia, Pnyx, the hills of Krana, and in general to deform the territory of Athens, whose origin is divine. Even today they continue to quarry and even offer through their newspapers wanting materials.» This irreparable catastrophe that took place in the field of Athens is unimaginable. I am very afraid that even Penteliko, which was recognized as a gable of the cult of nature, would have changed its form if no restrictive measure had been taken.
The Director of the School of Fine Arts, the eminent sculptor Mr. Costas Dimitriadis, whose “Diskovolos” is one of the last decorations of the city, writes only one answer:
-Your question, he says, seems both simple and complex. The introductions of the city, the young people and the desires of the Athenian, like every person who loves Athens, are so aesthetic and well-known that they could, I think, be banned by everyone in the world.
What provokes your question is my pain and sadness for its disintegration, similar to its apparent growth and progress. Athens, as the capital, holds the most demanding location in the world, for its privileged natural beauty, as it holds the most enviable position in history for its glory and the inaccessible monuments of its Art.
“None of this was respected by the grandiose younger Greeks. No one said that after her release from the long tyranny, her drama would end. But nothing!
“If your question is the opposite of a century ago, and vice versa, that is, what should not be done in Athens, it would be time and no one could answer. Your question, certainly not by mistake, comes a century late.
“Also today, your question went back another century because I think you will need so much time (after the disaster that happened) so that what should have been done could not be done in Athens. And this even if the people in charge receive care from now on. So let’s start first of all with a good organization of the Urban Planning Committee, and God has…
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Thomas Sitaras, Athenaeographer-Author, FB: Sitaras Thomas
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