NEWS

A tribute to the city as it was idealized more than 40 years ago

In the late 1950s, Athens was in a major phase of construction. The city had become a work site. Squares were being redesigned, roads relaid, and rivers and streams covered over. Dozens of neoclassical buildings, which had given the city its character since the 19th century, were torn down one after another in the space of just a few years. An air of unrestrained modernization overwhelmed the old design of the city. The historic center, from Syntagma to Omonia, changed in appearance. In neighborhoods, entire blocks were replaced by new buildings. It was in that watershed year that Tetsis painted his «Neoclassical Athens.» As a tribute to the city which was breathing its last in its old form, Tetsis defined the epitome of the Athenian aesthetic. This stylistic framework had defined the Greek capital since the time of King Otto. After the first cracks in the 1930s, the entire edifice fell in less than a decade. Tetsis’s «Neoclassical Athens» is a descendant of the kind of architectural utopias composed by many artists in the West. They employed archetypal symbols, domes, bell towers and monumental facades (real or imaginary), and disregarded perspective and proportion. Tetsis mainly sets his buildings in horizontal lines. He redesigns the monumental buildings, and some more modest ones, of Attic classicism, focusing on Omonia and offering a panorama of the Athenian school. His «Neoclassical Athens» can also be seen as an aesthetic vindication of the old Athenian cityscape, just before it was eclipsed by the great projects of later days. Eight senior police officers and another 11 people believed to have formed a protection ring for an illicit bar in the central town of Karditsa went on trial in Larissa, central Greece, yesterday. The eight officers, including Karditsa’s former police chief, Stefanos Kokkalis, face a total of 15 charges, including procurement and taking bribes for helping bar owner Achilleas Lychritis obtain fake documents certifying Ukrainian barmaids as members of a performing ballet troupe with a clean bill of health.