For its celebration of 160 years since the Athens Gasworks first began operations, Technopolis will host one of the most interesting exhibitions they’ve put on so far: 160 Years Made in Greece – Industry, Innovation, Novelty.
This exhibition, which follows a number of smaller celebratory events, is a tour through Greece’s industrial growth during the period 1860-1970; more than 800 exhibits, including machinery, rare photographs, raw materials, and audiovisual material will be on display.
Visitors will be taken through the production line of the old gas plant: an industrial heritage monument you have to see at least once. You’ll also hear countless fascinating facts about the city, and eight industries that shaped it (metals, chemicals, building materials, energy, food and beverages, textiles and clothing, tobacco, and furniture), that you won’t learn anywhere else.
For example, do you know which workshop baked cookies as well as ceramic slate roof tiles, or who provided the cement for the construction of the Hilton hotel, or why there are more shades of white paint in Greece than in other countries, or when the first popsicle was produced? The answers can all be connected to the history of Technopolis.
In 1857 the Athens Gasworks, founded by François Théophile Feraldi, started providing the city of Athens with coal gas for street lights. As the need for gas grew, and people started to use gas for lighting up their private homes, so did the gas plant. In 1938, the factory became a municipal enterprise, and two years after it finally closed in 1984, after slowly losing ground to electricity companies, the Ministry of Culture declared it a Historic Preservable Monument.
In 1999, the old gasworks were converted to a municipally-run cultural venue named Technopolis. Since 2013 it has also been home to the Industrial Gas Museum, which is open year round.
The successful multi-space, consisting of eleven different industrial indoor venues and a large outdoor courtyard, has become a hub for cultural events, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. But while it works excellently as a canvas for exhibitions and events, the celebration of its 160-year history highlights why Technopolis is also an interesting, historical place in its own right.