In the framework of the program agreement between the Ministry of Culture and Sports and the Municipality of Athens
The studies of the Municipality of Athens and the Ephorate of Antiquities of the City of Athens, for the promotion of the archeological site of the Plato Academy, were unanimously approved during yesterday's meeting of the Central Archaeological Council.
The implementation of the studies is launched in the framework of the cooperation between the Ministry of Culture and the Municipality of Athens, with the signing of a Programmatic Agreement for Cultural Development on the archaeological site of the Plato Academy, which will include:
A. The renovation and promotion of the archaeological site of Plato's Academy and the grove, in order to make it attractive to the visitor, based on a relevant study submitted by the Municipality of Athens, as well as a study by the Ephorate of Antiquities of the City of Athens.
B. The announcement of an architectural competition for the elaboration of the study that will lead to the construction of the Archaeological Museum of Athens, in the place where it has been located since 2002 and for which the Ministry of Culture and Sports has already prepared and approved the building and museological study .
As stated by the Minister of Culture and Sports Lina Mendoni:
"It is an important moment for Athens and for its history the approval by the Central Archaeological Council of the studies, which concern the regeneration of the archeological site of the Plato Academy. The interest of the Ministry of Culture and Sports for the renovation and promotion of the Academy area is intense and systematic. The two studies open in the city and highlight the archeological site, which is connected to the High School of the Academy and the School of Philosophy of Plato, which is considered the first university in the world. The regeneration program fully respects the historicity of the space and revives the spirit of the Platonic Academy for the simultaneous education of mind and body.
Along with the renovation of the archaeological site, the procedures for the construction of the Archaeological Museum of Athens, a vision of decades, are progressing. The new Museum will present the history of the city, through the findings brought to light by decades of archaeological research, masterpieces from the bowels of the city of Athens, which could not be exhibited elsewhere and tell their own story.
We are in close cooperation with the Municipality of Athens for this project, which will offer a new area of history, knowledge and greenery in an area of the capital, which needs important interventions of culture and leisure, such as the one launched for the Plato Academy in Agasti cooperation between the Municipality of Athens and the Ministry of Culture. I thank the Mayor Costas Bakogiannis and the executives of the Municipality for the effective cooperation. "After the opinion of the KAS, we are launching the implementation of the projects together, aiming at improving the quality of life of the inhabitants of Athens, but also at highlighting a uniquely important archaeological site."
The Mayor of Athens, Costas Bakogiannis, underlined:
"The promotion of the archaeological site of the Plato Academy and the creation of the Archaeological Museum of Athens, in addition to their historical and cultural significance, create a great opportunity for the entire area that has suffered a lot in recent years, due to its abandonment. We are given the opportunity to transform it into a place of destination and development. To upgrade the quality of life and daily life of its inhabitants and to become our starting point for a path that goes through entrepreneurship, new jobs and its modernization. We are very close to the implementation of a programmatic commitment that was placed as a bet for this municipal authority from the first day of taking office. From our swearing-in that took place in the sanctuary of Plato's Academy, giving a symbolic but, at the same time, an essential character that connects the great past of the region with the perspective of its rebirth for its future and the future of the whole city ".
What the studies predict
The two studies concern the southern and eastern part of the archaeological site, surrounded by the streets Drakontos, Kratylos, Monastiri, Alexandria, Polykratos, Vasilikon, Faonos and Dionysos, with an area of about 60 acres (Gymnasium, Poleos, Monapos respectively, of an area of 10 acres (Peristyle Sector).
Aim through as mild interventions as possible:
- To highlight the archaeological and historical significance of the site, to rediscover the findings of the old excavations and to conduct modern archaeological research on the occasion of the unification of the excavations.
- Enhancing the readability of the archaeological site and the protection and promotion of individual monuments, as parts of a wider architectural ensemble.
- To improve the accessibility of the monuments and to create continuity between the level with the antiquities and that of the modern city with the park.
- Upgrading the whole area to a remarkable green lung and destination for walks and leisure with local and supra-local character
- Enhancing the security of users, public property and especially cultural heritage.
The proposed interventions are divided into two main categories:
- The works that refer to the level of the archeological excavations
- The works that refer to the upper city level with the park
At the level of the ancient remains, it is foreseen the unification of the individual dugouts with earthworks, excavations, formation of new slopes with gentle slope, earth form and drainage of rain, as well as simultaneous removal of trees, where required, which will be transplanted to other parts of the park or new people are planted, so as not to disturb the existing green balance in the park.
Specifically, in the first phase, the unification of three of the six existing sandpits in the High School Sector is proposed, in order to reveal the overall outline of the monument with the discovery of possibly new architectural remains and to restore its relationship with the surrounding bathing facilities. In the second phase, it is proposed to further unify the other dugouts to restore the relationship of the High School with the Roman buildings and the ancient tombs that have been located to the east and south respectively. With the completion of this phase, the image of the High School complex with the palaestra will be restored and all the visible monuments and the new ones that may be found will be highlighted. It is also proposed the creation of a plateau in the extension of Timaiou Street, which will function as a connecting link between the fabric of the modern city and the ancient ones. Corresponding are the works provided in the Peristyle Sector, in order to fully reveal the floor plan of the monument of classical times and the ancient remains around it.
In the context of the interventions in the antiquities, four main entrances are proposed in the area of the Gymnasium with provision for the accessibility of the disabled and one entrance in Peristylio with provision of a ramp for the disabled, along with the installation of fencing similar to the existing one in the other two . The necessary works for flood and fire protection, lighting of antiquities and installation of new information signs are also foreseen.
At the city level, ie within the park, the works are of mild form and scale and of limited depth, with respect to the historicity of the place and the possible presence of ancients in the subsoil. The existing relief is preserved in its entirety.
Work at this level includes upgrading, paving and demarcating the network of paths using natural materials, the area of the central square that functions as a neighborhood square, the playground and the plateau of the open-air amphitheater, renewal and enhancement of lighting and urban equipment, creation of new rest areas, adult playground and outdoor lending library. It is also planned to replace the damaged gates with new uniform metal doors, the construction of sanitary facilities, as well as new plantings of Mediterranean shrubs and trees.
The archeological site and the interventions in it until today
The grove of the Academy was one of the three important groves of ancient Athens. The archeological site of Plato's Academy coincides with the ancient "gardens of the Academy", a lush idyllic place in the western suburbs of ancient Athens, where from the 6th BC. ai. the High School of the Academy had been founded, like the respective High Schools of Lyceum and Kynosargos in the East and Southeast of the ancient city respectively.
In this area, where there were also sanctuaries of the Muses, Athena, Zeus Morius, Hephaestus, Heracles, etc., Plato acquired land and founded in 387 BC. His school of philosophy, named after the Academy, was offered for education and sports at the same time and is considered the first university of mankind. Hence the name Academy for all the intellectual-scientific institutions of the modern world, but also the meaning of the university campus internationally. The school operated for centuries and closed in 529 AD, by decree of Justinian, like the other philosophical schools of Athens.
An important landmark is literally the stone column of 500 BC. with the inscription "mountain of the Academy", which was found in its place (by country) in a salvage excavation in the area and proves the identification of the current declared archaeological site with the ancient Academy.
The exceptional importance of the space is proved by the fact that in antiquity the "road to the Academy" connected Dipylon, the most official and largest gate of the walls of the ancient city in Kerameikos, with Plato's Academy. The Public Sign had been developed on either side of this road.
From the interwar period, when the investigations began at the expense of the expatriate Panagiotis Aristofronos under the auspices of the Academy of Athens, but also during the 60s, 80s and especially the 90s, when with the partnership of the Ministry of Culture and then the Ministry of Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works carried out mass expropriations of properties resulting in the extensive relocation of residents, professionals and craftsmen, to arrive at the current image of the archaeological site of approximately 135 acres. It contains the antiquities of the Gymnasium, the "Holy House", Peristyle and other remnants of prehistoric, classical and Hellenistic times, which came to light with the research of the Archaeological Society and the Ministry of Culture, as well as an extensive green space. and recreation for the residents of the area, which was formed by the Municipality of Athens. Despite the importance of the area, which coincides with the ancient grove suburb and the High School of the Academy, where Plato founded his philosophical school, the current area around the archeological site is one of the degraded neighborhoods of western Athens (one of the five districts of the 4th D.K.), and in fact unrecognized in terms of its cultural added value.
The wider area is surrounded by large arteries, Athens Avenue, Kifissos, Istanbul and Lenorman. Based on the ecumenical radiance of the archaeological site, which marked the evolution of modern Western philosophy and science, the Ministry of Culture and Sports - since 1999 mainly - launched systematic interventions for the regeneration and promotion of the archaeological site and the surrounding area, as well as one of the entrance gates to the capital.
A single fence of the area was installed with a special railing and entrance gates, two community programs were designed and executed by the competent Services of the Ministry of Culture, within the 2000rd CSF 2006-2007 and the NSRF 2013-XNUMX, which included important infrastructure projects, such as construction and configuration of new modern antiquities warehouses and maintenance workshops for the needs of the Ephorate of Antiquities of Athens City in light construction sites and in the old stone textile factory with parallel removal and demolition of old and unsuitable warehouses, adding additional green space to four acres of , maintenance and restoration works of the monuments were carried out, new shelters were placed in the antiquities and information signs, new tour routes were improved and created and a small open-air theater for events was created.
With the new program of interventions that are launched now, in 2021, the substantial upgrade and restoration of the monuments of the archeological site and the park that surrounds it will take place, based on the modern principles for the shaping and promotion of the monumental and natural environment, worthy of universal cultural value of the Plato Academy.