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by Archaeology Newsroom

Greek cities and neoclassicism. Greek urban planning in the 19th century

After 1830, the networks of the urban centres of the new Greek state were remodelled due to redistribution of financial activities and the need to create an effective political and economic mechanism. Two main phases in the history of nineteenth-century Greek towns can be distinguished; the first coincides with the years of Kapodistrias’ administration (1828-1832), the Regency and King Otto’s reign (until 1843), the second lasts from 1856 to 1912. Kapodistrias and the Regency intended to apply a town-planning policy in the steps of functionalist European Neoclassicism. This town-planning concept served as a break with the past, on various ideological, institutional and morphological levels, and was the model used in the planning of major towns in the urban network inherited from the Ottoman period and in particular for the new capital.

After 1856 the brunt of urban planning focused on both small and major towns with developmental potential, such as towns which were centres for raisin picking and exportation on the north and west coasts of the Peloponnese. At the same time the country’s institutions became more regular and important public works were constructed (national road and railway networks, the Corinth Canal). New town-plans had a simple orthogonal composition with characteristic provision of public amenities for the town and its harbour. It is probably more closely related to the proposals for the cities of the new Balkan nation states than with those of Europe, where the industrial city had already posed altogether different problems to be solved.