New plans for Athens squares

Award-winning plans for the refurbishment of two major Athens squares, which are already far behind schedule, have been radically altered by the state organization overseeing the capital’s prettification ahead of the 2004 Olympics, it emerged yesterday. Following pressure from the new Athens municipal authorities, Unification of the Archaeological Sites of Athens SA (UASA) – which commissioned both projects – is understood to have decided to punctuate the vast, granite-paved expanse that was to have been the new-look Omonia Square with patches of greenery. Work to turn the historic roundabout into a square, two sides of which will be closed to motorized traffic, was initially supposed to have been completed over three years ago, and UASA is still unable to specify when the square will be ready. Furthermore, UASA has decided to radically alter the plan it chose for the refurbishment of Monastiraki Square, which was initially to have been paved in a colorful stone mosaic. UASA officials said yesterday the square will now be gray, with strips of low vegetation.