If you think of Athens as the once-upon-a time capital of the classical world, you may be surprised to find out that after the fall of the ancient Greek civilization, the "city" dwindled at one point to a village of about 400 individuals.
They lived on the north slopes of the Acropolis in an area now called Anafiotika, today considered one of the most desirable areas to live in. But with the success of the Greek Revolution of 1821, the new government imported an army of Germans who came down and imposed a rigorous and lovely pattern of neoclassical buildings on the footprint of the modern city, which is considerably larger than the antique.
During the 180 years since then, a lot of weathering has taken place. So there is great cause for rejoicing that a combination of factors is bringing about the refurbishment and rehabilitation of these exquisite buildings:
The urban planning of current mayor Dmitri Avrampopoulos, which has given the city many beautiful fountains; the money coming in from the European Community in connection with its obligations to Greece; and last but not least, the preparations for the 2004 Olympics.
The parts of the city that have undergone repainting and repair are a range of pastel hues. Even where things are awaiting their turn, the buildings are nobly proportioned and remarkably detailed, with lots of wrought iron, although the trim may not always be in perfect shape.
On the road in Athens,