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Coffee table book set in ATHENS

15th July 2023

Athens Unveiled by Anna A Angelidakis, coffee table book set in Athens.

Coffee table book set in ATHENS

I first came across this author’s work when I read Rooted in the Hood, which explores the hidden gardens of New York. I found it a revelation and hope to be able to visit some of those mentioned in the book when I next go to New York. Well worth picking up if you are headed to the city that never sleeps.

In this book she turns her attention to Athens, offering a sense of history in the later part of the 19th Century, a heyday of the city. In 1821, after the Greek Revolution, there was little to see in the city – apart from the obvious Greek and Roman ruins – and it was covered in a toxic plant that was both dangerous to wildlife and humans. There is a real sense that it was a bit of a wasteland.

Northern Europeans cast their eye on Athens during the 19th Century and in the throes of rejecting Rococo and Baroque styles, they promulgated the Neo-Classical style. Ernst Ziller was particularly notable and there are several buildings attributed to his architectural genius. The city started to take off towards the end of the 19th Century, developing into a wealthy and classy location.

Coffee table book set in ATHENSSome of the narrative is set at the relevant time, giving a sense of footsteps past. This is contrasted with her meanderings around the city, choosing to focus on a variety of districts, many of which are now quite run-down. Currently there are just under 2000 abandoned buildings and villas – perfect, no doubt, for urbexers – where plants and animals have taken over. She extolls the former glory and beauty of many of the buildings and points out details that can still be seen and admired, giving a flavour of glorious times past.

This book is an enjoyable wander through the different areas of the city, away from the tourist areas, illustrated with beautiful photographs. It offers a history of the people who built it (check out Koletti’s monkey), the events that oversaw changes and a sense of how the city evolved to where it is today.

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