Master Builders

A tribute to the work of a handful of visionaries who helped shape the capital of the Greek state and endowed it with some of its greatest architectural landmarks


As envisioned by its first architects and city planners, Stamatis Kleanthis and Eduard Schaubert, Athens was to be a city with grand boulevards befitting its new independent status. Their plan set aside a large area around the Acropolis for archaeological excavations and respectfully took into consideration all of the surviving ancient and Byzantine monuments. It also anticipated the construction or restoration of churches, public buildings and shops. The Royal Palace was sited in the area of Omonia Square and was to be surrounded by a large green expanse, referred to by the architects as the “Garden of the People.”

The entire concept for Athens was based on the principle of large city blocks with wide streets, squares and green areas, along with public buildings surrounded by free space. The plan was approved, but King Otto’s father, Ludwig I of Bavaria, had the extremely unfortunate idea of bringing in his court architect, Leo von Klenze, who, instead of envisaging a European capital of the future, believed he should create a medieval city of the past. Even worse was the disdain he showed for the city’s Byzantine monuments, many of which he planned to destroy. Thankfully, the entirety of his vision never came to fruition. However, neither did that of Kleanthis and Schaubert – an unfortunate development, as the absence of an ambitious plan capable of setting the foundations of the city and determining how it would evolve into the future is something that Athens is still suffering from today. Nevertheless, a number of great architects have been able to leave their mark.


Read More

Athens

Where to Eat: The Restaurants in Athens That Are Local Favourites

These eateries are prefered by locals and for good reason.


Athens

Downtown Athens Breathes Again

Forgotten neighborhoods abandoned to their fate get a new lease...


Athens

The Best Chocolate Shops in Downtown Athens

Athens may not be steeped in a rich tradition of...


Greece Is Blog Posts

How Can Greece Become a Gastro-Tourism Destination?

BY Yiouli Eptakili

It’s about more than just taking a trip...

read more >

Leaving Room in Greece for Everyone

BY Greece Is

Labor Day, this year September 5, marks the...

read more >

Doing the Right Thing with the Parthenon Marbles

BY Greece Is

The UK newspapers have all been buzzing this...

read more >