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Architectural strolling through Athens

Neoclassicism. It was the main architectural style in Athens from 1834 up to the 1920’s. During this period Athens was a small city extending up to the borders of today’s historic center. Neoclassicism expressed the romantic spirit of the idea “love for antiquity”. An idea that dominated in Western Europe and was brought here by German architects, who came to Athens in the beginning of the 1830’s to design the new city. During the middle-war period and particularly after 1955 many of these buildings were demolished. However, many districts in Athens historic center still preserve their charming, neoclassic features.

Eclecticism. The last years of the 19th century neoclassicism was influenced by the romantic aesthetics of French architecture. Although Athenian classicism remained dominant, many public and private buildings were built influenced by the decorative of west European trends.

Art Nouveau. Although this radical movement was never totally expressed in Athens, in the 1920’s many Greek bourgeois from Smyrna, Egypt and Constantinople built their houses influenced by this architectural style. These few but remarkable buildings (of Art Nouveau style) changed the dominating neoclassic and eclectistic atmosphere of Athens.

Modern Movement. In the beginning of 1930's architects started to construct buildings with more than 2 or 3 floors. These small blocks of flats, which reached even six floors, incorporated a Greek version of international modernistic architecture (bauhaus, art deco). A characteristic feature of those buildings was the semi-circular projections (erker) and the accentuated parts of their facades. Some of these buildings are internationally renowned as remarkable examples of modern movement.

Post War period (1950-2000). During the post war period Athens population increased radically and the need for residence became crucial. In the 50’s and the first half of the 60’s architects decided to use marble on buildings' facades, their parapets and entrances. During the period of 1960-1975 (reconstruction period) dominated the massive and impersonal architecture, which altered the style of the city’s new districts. However, many inspirational constructions were designed. The last few decades and after a period of immobility, architects started to build several remarkable buildings (mostly public) that give new status and promote districts which were completely forgotten.


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