Athens

Athens has been part of the Tentative list of Greece.

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Assif

Germany - 08-Jun-15 -

At first Greece intended to nominate a much larger area of Athens than just the Acropolis which included ancient monuments (by no way confined to the Acropolis alone) as well as mediaeval and Neoclassical monuments in the city. I would like to focus my review on the Neoclassical legacy of Athens specifically mentioned in the first Greek T-list. During the 19th century Athens understandably became the symbol of Greek national revival. Importing Neoclassicism to Greece served two complementing purposes: on the one hand it showed Greek's new inclination towards Western Europe rather than the Ottoman Empire, on the other hand it explicitly manifested the historic link between Greek revival and ancient Greece. No better place to do that than in Athens itself. And indeed Athens boasts numerous monumental buildings from the 19th century in the Neohellenist style, as it is locally called. I am not an expert on Neoclassicism, but to my untrained eye, these monuments seemed to resemble similar buildings in Italy, France, Spain, England and to a lesser degree Germany and Austro-Hungary. The buildings in the city centre such as the parliament, the university, the archaeological museum (one of the best in the world), the national library and the national theatre are all well maintained, feature grandeur and aesthetic integrity and I found them appealing, although I must add I am generally fond of Neoclassicism in general. This said, the question comes to mind whether the Greek decision to focus its nomination only on the Classical acropolis, itself of undoubted OUV, was justified leaving out these monumental buildings. Strategically the Greek attitude certainly paid off as it focused on what could not be denied. Moreover, I think that although the city centre features fine examples of Neoclassicism they do not constitute a coherent ensemble. However, I am not sure that if Greece had picked its monuments carefully it could not have succeeded in nominating some of these monuments along the acropolis. A possible prospect would be to nominate them along some other examples of Neoclassicism in Greece.


Full Name
Athens
Greece
Added
1985
Withdrawn
1996
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