Athens as Greece’s modern capital

Plaka in the newborn Greek state
Since Greece change its capital from Nafplio to Athens, Plaka became what is now Syntagma for Athens. What made that reality is the combination of the Greek rebels that inspired people from all over the world, but also the Greek capital that was created inside (to islands) and outside of Greece, from Greek bankers, ship owners, and merchants. Wealthy Greeks from all over Europe and Asia that had supported the Greek War started to think of establishing back to their homeland. This is how neoclassical buildings were made in Athens.

Consequently, the urban class of the new state started to build brand new buildings in the devastated by war Athens. But since Plaka had many antiquities, the area was protected from Athens’s urban planning. From 1930 the ancient Agora started to be preserved by the state.

After Athens became a free city, people inherited all the monuments that remained after centuries: Parthenon, Hefesteion, Eretheion, Lysikrates monument, Wind of Towers, Roman Agora, Fetihie and Tzistirakis Mosque, even walls or parts of them exist until today.

In this initial plan, it was the first time that the excavation of Athens was discussed as a major priority of the modern Greek state. So the architects mapped the ruins, a total of 115 temples, the Haseki Wall that was surrounding the city, the medieval and Ottoman monuments, and a legacy of East and West to the city of Athena.
Cleanthis and Schaubert planned a free space for excavations in Athens in order to show the past of the city. Both of them were students of K.F. von Shinkel (1781-1841), maybe the most important neoclassical architect in Germany. Consequently, they followed their teachers’ line and moving it forward in the city of Athens’ plan.

In December 1833, Athens’s plan was already a law, after Athenians assured that they would exchange their houses for that purpose. Nevertheless, they reacted to the initial plan and the government was unable to impose the plan. So a new architect was hired, Leo von Klenze, in order to make another plan. This second 1834 plan did not make any changes aside from making streets narrower and squares smaller.

Consequently, this plan was not approved as well by the public, because Athens was the first capital so new buildings and the construction phase had already started before any plan could be imposed. So only the monuments that were obviously seen were actually saved. The streets that were in the center of it were Athinas, Ermou, and Aiolou. There were no big changes than squares and archaeological marks. Buildings of that period were the house of historian Finley, Rizaris home, Lasanis, and Hatzikiriakoy.