Tatoi, one of Attica’s few lush spaces, languishes in disrepair
The future of the former royal estate at Tatoi, one of the few extensive green areas in the heavily polluted plain of Attica, continues to be in doubt. Although the state struggled for a decade to take possession of the 3,000-hectare estate, which it finally managed to acquire in March 2003, four years later nothing has been done with the land, which is just 25 kilometers from the center of Athens. «The only thing done in the past four years to protect the estate has been the installation of a metal roof on one of the buildings,» said Costas Stamatopoulos, vice president of the Hellenic Society for the Protection of the Environment and Cultural Heritage and author of the book «Chronicle of Tatoi.» Although the estate has been included within the bounds of the Parnitha National Park and a presidential decree from the Environment Ministry has included most of it in Protection Zone A1, the natural environment has been left to its fate. «The area in front of the palace has turned into a real jungle,» said Stamatopoulos. «However, the forest is in need of care as it is artificial – it was not pre-existing but was planted. So if it is left alone it will be lost. That would be a shame as it is a model Mediterranean garden,» he added. There is also a risk of fire from the fallen branches and trees. Then there are the some 40 buildings scattered among the 2,000 hectares of the park’s historic nucleus. They were designed by prominent architects and form a unique whole that is supposed to have been listed by the Culture Ministry. However, the Hellenic Society charges that many of these structures are in danger of collapsing as there has been no effort to restore or repair them. The society proposes that a museum be established on the site and that it be used for events such as exhibitions under the aegis of the Academy of Athens, as well as a Center for the Environment (both natural and built) and as a concert venue on the site of the quarry. It also suggests that the estate’s farm and livestock products be used for producing organic food, and the traditional winery be re-established.