Costas Bakoyannis, who is running for Athens mayor in the upcoming municipal elections, spoke against the construction of high-rise buildings around the Acropolis Hill on Wednesday, adding his voice to that of local residents who have opened a relevant petition on the Avaaz platform.
“The Acropolis belongs to everyone…Therefore we have to respect it. We cannot allow urban monstrosities to pop up around it and cast their shadow upon its light,” he said in a statement.
The furore started after the construction of a 10-story building in the downtown neighborhood of Makriyiani, a stone's throw away from the famous hill.
A second 10-story building started going up on nearby Misaraliotou Street in October, further angering residents, who are demanding measures to protect the area from excessive construction.
Bakoyannis urged authorities to re-examine the zoning laws in the area.
Architect Irini Frezadou, who spearheaded the residents' protest, tells Kathimerini that while the Falirou Street building – which is near completion – is legal according to new zoning laws that offer additional height in exchange for “green” architecture, the project was not put forward for approval at the Central Archaeological Council, which is responsible for assessing all initiatives that influence the country's archaeological and historical monuments.
The petition in Avaaz has so far collected more than 4,100 signatures.