The holy place of the Olympian Zeus and the Acropolis in Athens in 1830. Credit: Wikipedia/Public domain.

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When Athens to be officially claimed the capital of the newly established Greek State ~ above September 18, 1834, it was a tiny village the 7,000 citizens living roughly the Acropolis Hill.

Following the assassination of governor Ioannis Kapodistrias in the Peloponnesian city in 1831, Greece’s first politicians had to decide where the brand-new government and very first parliament would certainly be established. At the time, Athens to be an area the ancient, Byzantine and medieval ruins with makeshift houses roughly them, all about the Acropolis Hill.


The decision was much from easy. Personalities of the time, politicians, and architects and also city planners took component in the debate, trying come influence breakthroughs and the last decision. The cities proposed were, among others, Corinth, Megara, Piraeus, Argos, and also Nafplio again.

Eventually, Athens won the race and also in September 18, 1834 it was officially proclaimed “Royal Seat and Capital”. The main reason was the city’s glorious background as the cradle of Hellenic Civilization. According to historians King of Bavaria Ludwig i was significant to the decision together he was a good admirer of old Greece.

Athens, indigenous a little town to a capital city

However, the city to be not ready to bring the weight of the funding of the brand-new state. The was an ext of a town than a city, v 7,000 residents and 170 continuous houses, together the staying Athenians were living in huts. Furthermore, the battles that took location in Athens had actually left many ruins. Through comparison, at the time, the population of Patras amounted to 15,000 thousand, if Thessaloniki had 60,000.

Athens, the funding of greek is right now the biggest city in the country and the main facility of Greek economic, cultural and political life. Credit: Thodoris Karakozidis/CC-BY-3.0

Athens stretched about the Acropolis (from Psiri come Makrygianni), having actually as its facility the area of ​​Plaka (the Old Town). One of the significant problems that the brand-new capital to be the absence of a water supply system, and also the absence of windy lighting and transport, while there to be a complete lack of social services.

Greece’s first king, otto of Bavaria, commissioned the reconstruction of the ravaged city come Greek architect Stamatis Kleanthis and also the Bavarian Leo von Klenze through a strict order not to damage the historical sites. Because that the security of antiquities, otto issued a decree prohibiting the building and construction of limestone at a street of 2,500 meter from old Greek ruins, so that antiquities can not be damaged.

Within four years, about 1,000 dwellings were built in Athens, many of lock makeshift, through no architectural or street plan. Otto banned quarrying in the hills the Nymphs, Achanthos (Strefi), Philopappou and Lycabettus and also issued decrees v the strictly order to automatically demolish every house constructed near historical sites and also everything developed on the suburbs of the Acropolis Hill.

The strictly measures about building houses made Otto shed his popularity v the negative masses, yet he insisted ~ above issuing various other decrees.

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In the year to come, Athens became the pole the attraction for Greeks, that arrived in the resources from all components of the country. In 1896, Greece organized the first modern Olympic Games. By the time, the picture of the capital was radically changed. It had expanded and now was a city of 140,000 inhabitants with great buildings and important archeological sites, and also the commercial and social intellectual facility of the country. A true capital.

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