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by Archaeology Newsroom

Restructuring the Ancient Olive Grove of Athens

Within the organization of the Olympic Games of 2004, Athens has designed a large spectrum of projects concerning the modernization of its urban structure as well as the unification of its archaeological sites and historic locations. Apart from the renovation of its traditional waterfront and the construction of an entire subway system, motorway rings and a new international airport, the Greek capital has reconstructed parts of another historic monument: its ancient Olive Grove. The main objective of this project was to create a contemporary Greek contribution in the field of the international landscape architecture, by rescuing and restoring the neglected ancient green heritage of the glorious city. The two projects, the “Restructuring of Petrou Ralli Street” and the “Designing of the Olive Grove”, part of the Olympic Program for the Upgrading of Athens-Attica of 2004, deal with the expropriation, restructuring, replanting and design of the entire area where once thrived the ancient olive grove. It is worth noting that some of the old sacred olive trees, which might have been planted during the “golden age” of Pericles (480- 450 B.C.), are still preserved in the grounds. Both projects have been planned by the author of this article in cooperation with the Athens Masterplan Organization (ORSA) and realized by the Public Corporation of Urban Planning and Housing SA (DEPOS AE), which are the most important institutions of the Greek urban development. In the framework of the entire Olympic program these are the only projects that have been thoroughly planned by a landscape architect, therefore they include urban planning, master plan design and realization concept.