Saddest symbol

If one were to choose a symbol of Athens’s scattered modern ruins, these would surely be the decrepit neoclassical twin buildings on the junction of Stadiou and Amerikis streets. Derelict for many years, the houses, draped in rent, wind-blown gunny cloth give a sense that only by chance are they still upright. The erection of a new, multi-story building directly opposite on Amerikis Street makes the sight even more painful. In any other country in Europe, the owner would have been fined and would have been made to carry out the necessary work so as, first, not to endanger the safety of passers-by, and secondly, for the sake of public health. In Athens, the Spiliopouleio Foundation Aghia Eleni and the National Institute for the Deaf, joint owners of the buildings, have been attempting to upgrade their property, to no avail, until the present. Sources say the National Bank of Greece showed interest in the past. Mr Zotos of the Spiliopouleio Foundation gave us hope: «We’ve hired a technical consultant and hope by the end of summer to have a bidder who will exploit both buildings.» Will they be ready for the Olympic Games? «We will try to have the facade ready,» replied Zotos. If they’re not ready? But we pre-empt him, we’ve learned our lesson: «Banners.»

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