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by Archaeology Newsroom

The revival of the settlements in Greece in the late period of Ottoman rule

During the late period of Ottoman rule in the Balkans (18th-19th c), the great financial and imperialistic development of the powerful European states, in combination with the imminent partition of the once mighty Ottoman Empire, allowed the signing of international trade treatises, which were humiliating for Turkey and most advantageous for Europe. These treatises contributed decisively to the revival of the network of Greek settlements, in spite of the low levels of development of the country’ s productive forces. The Greek settlement network shows two periods of development that of 1700 to 1821/27 and of the years 1821/27 to1913. At the end of the first period (1774-1821/27) there is a general, rapid economic development and activity to be found, mainly located in the manufacturing centres of Northern Greece,in the fertile currant-producing plains of the Peloponnese, and the naval islands of the Aegean. During the first period a type of unplanned settlement prevails, either in the form of a rural settlement, following local social functional / aesthetic principles (simple type (one neighbourhood), complex type (many neighbourhoods), water-front (a linear type), or in the form of a town (market town, company town). The town marketplace is formed in the years of the Ottoman rule on the basis of the ethnic and religious complexity of the urban social structure of the Balkans (neighbourhoods where different nationalities live separately; Christians, Muslims, Jews, etc). Ottoman culture was predominant in this kind of town (e.g. Ioannina). The town which is run by a company, succeeds the earlier model, introducing modernization to urban space according to the European models of design, while predominant in this town is Greek (Christian) retail culture (e.g. Thessaloniki). During the second period a dichotomy in the network of Greek settlements appears, which is due to the creation of the national state in Southern Greece (1821-1827). Thus, in the northern region limited urbanization and the model of the company town continues, with all its external influences and internal contradictions; while in the new state in southern Greece neoclassical cities are designed and introduced for political, ideological and social reasons. In the beginning, a limited urbanisation and polarisation appears in Athens (1821-1880), while in the next stage polarisation grows and Athens starts growing excessively (1880-1907/13). The built-up areas of Southern Greece are renovated -174 settlements (numbering 500 to 20.000 inhabitants), acquire a new town plan by 1912— and obtain a homogeneity in design and aesthetics, following neoclassical precepts.