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Author Topic: Anafiotika  (Read 1525 times)

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Offline Maik

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« on: Sunday, 18 May, 2014 @ 23:17:29 »
The great city of Athens, Greece is made up of numerous small villages that have melded together over the years. Plaka is the most ancient, original part of the city where most of the archaeological sites are located. Just up on the hill above Plaka, under the flank of the Acropolis (“the high city”) there is the tiny village of Anafiotika, unique because of how it came to be.

In 1841, King Otto I encouraged workers to come and help transform the new capital of independent Greece into a modern metropolis and refurbish his palace. Carpenters and masons from the Cycladic island of Anafi came, along with other workers from the Cyclades. They took over the rocky terrain located just below the north slope of the Acropolis, hastily erecting houses, taking advantage of an Ottoman law that decreed that if you could put up a structure between sunset and sunrise, the property became yours.

They called it Anafiotika, (“little Anafi”) after their island. The neighbourhood was built to resemble the architecture of the Cyclades islands with stark white-washed cubic houses built of stone, flat roofs and brightly painted shutters and doors, so you get the feel of being in an island village. Bright magenta bougainvillea spills over their walls and the narrow alleyways often end in dead end terraces. Some of the houses have roof-top patios with gardens of potted plants and the occasional shade tree.

Most of the original village was destroyed in 1950 for archaeological research. Today only about 45 houses remain. They are one of the archaeological treasures of the Plaka.