OPINION

Letter to the Editor

n our daily journey through Kaisariani, we have admired the distinctive two-story, semi-detached and terrace houses built for refugees of the Asia Minor disaster. These charming, though neglected buildings, are part of Greek history and the social and architectural heritage of Athens. To our dismay, last winter bulldozers appeared and knocked down a pair of these refugee homes – allowing a glimpse of the row behind it and the small courtyard areas – before the hoardings went up that no doubt betoken the excavation of the site for the foundations of another six- or seven-story block. Yesterday we were further saddened to see another couple – the last of a row, near the church of Aghios Nikolaos, getting the treatment. Today there is nothing but a swiftly diminishing pile of mud bricks. Not so long ago, Kaisariani was an area with a very different character to the rest of Athens. Two-story buildings with balconies and courtyards. The fish tavernas and fishing tackle and fishing supply shops reflecting the livelihoods of the refugees from Asia Minor all those years ago. One could see the sky, feel the breezes and the trees were higher than the buildings – fresh and airy and companionable – with Mount Hymettus, gray-green and pleasant, visible in the background as the inhabitants chatted to each other while they took their washing in or out. In no time there will be nothing left of this area’s past to catch the passer-by’s attention. It will be outwardly no different from Ilissia or Argyroupolis. Is there no preservation society with an interest in Kaisariani? Does history count for nothing in today’s Athens? Perhaps your paper could take a lead in preventing further obliteration of a unique period and place. PENELOPE ANTHEA MADDENKolonaki, Athens