Yesterday afternoon as we strolled along Dionysos Areopagitou on the south side of the Acropolis we were recalling the first time we walked along there in 1998. It was a busy main street open to traffic and a horror to try and cross. Now it is a wide pedestrian boulevard with treed slopes and marble stairs giving entrance to the site. The south side of the street is lined with stylish row houses – including the Embassy of Spain – many in Art Deco or Neo-Classical style. With the building of the new Acropolis Museum the Greek Government has delisted two of these buildings – Number 17 and 19 – and are set to demolish them. They block the view from the Museum terraces (and more importantly the new restaurant) to the eponymous site.I am no expert of architecture but I think Number 17 is an incredible example of Art Deco, one of the loveliest I’ve seen. And though the style of the facade is Deco the features are pure Athenian – symmetrical coloured marble panels, two caryatids supporting and lighting the entrance way and two mythological mosaics at the roof line. They are a perfect early 20th century interpretation of Classic Greek design.
There has been an effort on an International level to save these houses that, though not as venerable as their neighbour across the street, still are a piece of Athenian history. Unfortunately our Greek is almost – okay completely – non-existent so we could not tell from the information posted on the door if the preservation campaign has had any success.
As interesting as the new museum is – and I’ll be writing more about it tomorrow – it would be a shame to see this lovely building destroyed for the sake of a dining room view.
27 novembre – San Primitivo