The Unification of Archaeological Sites
Many cities boast archaeological sites, monuments and artifacts. Key to a city like Athens, with such a vibrant and withstanding ancient past, is to evolve with the times, keeping history and heritage in tact, while maximizing functionality within its modern city framework. This vision, although part of original city planners as far back as 1833, was realized in contemporary form in 1985 when Melina Mercouri, then Minister of Culture, proposed that work begin to make this vision a reality. The Goal? To offer visitors and natives an aesthetically, environmentally and culturally improved Athens. The result: The Unification of Archaeological Sites, the plan that beautified the area surrounding the Acropolis transforming it into a large archeological park or open-air archeological museum. Alleviating the historic centre of traffic and busy car-filled streets, it replaced many streets of the historic centre with quiet pedestrian walkways graced with green-topped hills; historically significant ancient ruins and renovated 19th century neoclassical buildings. Today, visitors to the park can enjoy a walk among some of the world's most ancient treasures in a peaceful way. The park extends from Dionissiou Areopagitou Street, Apostolos Pavlou, Adrianou, Ermou and Vassilisis Olga streets and covers an area of approximately 4 km in length and 15,000 acres. Highlights of the sites along the way are: the Acropolis, The Ancient and Roman Agora, Hadrian's Arch, the Ancient Temple of Olympian Zeus, The Theatre of Dionysos and Philopappou Hill. Furthermore, the park integrated monuments of the Byzantine and Post-Byzantine period, areas of green including the National Garden, Zappeion, and the traditional neighbourhoods of the historical Centre of Athens namely, Plaka, Anafiotika, Thisio, Psirri, Metaxourgeio, Makriyanni and Koukaki.