Greece. In the October 4 parliamentary elections, the Socialist Party PASOK won 43.9 percent of the vote. According to countryaah, the party took 160 of the parliament’s 300 seats and the new prime minister became former Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou. Conservative Nea Dimocratia, whose leader, Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, had announced the election in order to gain a deeper mandate, made his worst choice of all time with 33.5 percent. The Nationalist Party LAOS (Folk Orthodox Collection), which profiled itself against immigration and Turkish EU membership, increased its number of seats from 10 to 15. The turnout was 71 percent. The election campaign was characterized by financial issues. While Karamanlis was advocating for cuts to reduce the country’s budget deficit, Papandreou promised a stimulus package worth € 3 billion, including from the hunt for tax evaders.
The dissatisfaction with the Karamanlis government was widespread because of the tightening policy, corruption suspicions against several ministers and the police death of a boy in Athens in December 2008. The dissatisfaction sometimes took violent forms. Police, military, banks, finance companies, media companies, car dealers and other international companies, especially in Athens, were subjected to a series of attacks during the winter, spring and summer. A hitherto unknown group, the Revolutionary Sect (SE), took responsibility for several of the attacks, including the assassination of a policeman on June 17 in Athens.
Greece’s national debt grew to EUR 300 billion in December, or 113 percent of GDP. The budget deficit was about 12.7 percent. The world’s three largest credit rating agencies lowered the country’s credit rating, which helped Parliament decide on major cuts, including social security, defense spending and public sector salaries. Some tax increases were also decided. Leftist organizations protested in large demonstrations.
In July, Kravall police leveled a refugee camp outside the city of Patras with the ground. The camp, where paperless immigrants have lived since 1996, had housed 1,800 residents, but most had either been arrested or left the camp more or less voluntarily in the weeks before the demolition.
Shipowner Pericles Panagopoulos was kidnapped in Athens on January 12 and released eight days later, after his family reportedly paid a ransom of € 30 million.
Forest fires raged in July and August in the mountains north of Athens, on parts of the Peloponnese peninsula as well as on Euboia, Zakynthos and other islands.
The new Acropolis Museum opened June 20 after five years of delays. The museum, located at the foot of the Acropolis cliff in Athens, houses 350 objects and sculptures from the ancient Parthenon Temple.
Athens – the ancient city
The ancient city, which lies under modern Athens, was created by an association of several villages in 700-BC. However, the place has been inhabited since the Stone Age (3000 BC) and has been the most significant locality in Attica since the Bronze Age. On the Acropolis was a Mycenaean castle, which in the late 1200’s BC. was equipped with a water supply system and fortified with approx. 5 m thick walls. This castle was not destroyed, as it was for the other Mycenaean palaces. From the following centuries, finds originate mainly from tombs, especially from the later Agora area and from the burial ground at Kerameikos (the potter’s quarter). They constitute an important source of understanding of the social structures of society; other finds originate mainly from wells.
A monumentalization of the city began during the aristocratic family Peisistratids (560-509 BC). On the Acropolis, a temple was built for Athena Poliás as well as other smaller buildings. At Agora, which ceased to be a burial ground approx. 600 BC, was built a well house and a drainage canal, and various institution buildings as well as shrines were erected around this new city center. East of the Acropolis began the giant temple Olympieion, which in size can only be compared to the large eastern Greek temples of Samos, Ephesus and Didyma at Miletus.
The extent of the city is reflected in the fortification walls. The time of construction of the earliest city wall has been debated (600 or 500 BC), but after 479 BC. the city was certainly fortified with the so-called Themistocles wall.
The archaic buildings were destroyed when the Persians ravaged Athens in 480 BC. Thereafter, the city was rebuilt in particular under the statesman Pericles, whose building program emphasized Athens as a great power and as the natural center of all Greeks. On the Acropolis, the Parthenon (Temple of Athena Parthenos), the Temple of Nike, the Erechtheion and the Propylaea were erected. The construction was initially funded by the Delise Maritime Association’s coffers, which had been transferred to Athens to emphasize the city’s leading position. At the Agora were several buildings erected by Pericles’ predecessor, Kimon; best known is the painted pillar hall Stoa Poikile, which was adorned with large paintings that glorified the Greeks. Near Agora, Hephaestion, the best-preserved temple in Greece, was built; previously it was misinterpreted as a Theseion, i.e. temple of Theseus. At the end of the century, new pillar halls and a town hall were built. The marketplace became the administrative and political center, ie. the physical framework of Athenian democracy. The cemeteries, Kerameikos and the state funerals along the road from Dipylon to the Academy, have provided us with important source material for understanding the Athenian bourgeoisie. On the other hand, there are not many traces of the residential areas, as only quite a few houses have survived near the Agora.
The Agora became a “playground” for the building zeal of Hellenistic princes in Athens, the Mediterranean’s spiritual center of culture and upbringing; witnesses to this include impressive pillar halls.
In Athens, there are considerable ruins from the Roman period, which show that the Romans also left their mark on the city. At Agora, an entire temple was rebuilt for the god Ares, who had been brought from Attica, and with new buildings such as Agrippa’s Odeion, the old square was changed.
The Roman Agora with a monumental porticus was begun by Caesar and completed by Emperor Augustus in the late 1st century BC. Adjacent to this is Andronikos’ Horologium, known as the Tower of the Winds, which is a well-preserved water and sundial from the 1st century BC. Under Emperor Hadrian in the first half of the 100-t. an urban expansion took place with the construction of a new neighborhood on the Ilisos River. In this area lay the Olympieion, which Hadrian completed; the temple was one of the largest in antiquity (108 mx 41 m). The same emperor built at the Roman Agora a large library, which was consecrated in 132 AD.
The excavations of the ancient city began in 1834, and many of the ruins have been identified using the Greek travel book author Pausanias’ description of the city as he saw it in the 100’s.
In connection with the construction work for the Athens subway, a total of approx. 60,000 m 2 in the center of the ancient city, Athens’ largest archeological excavation ever. The finds from the 23 different excavations date from the entire city’s long history. 60 objects found during these excavations have been exhibited, either in copy or original, at the metro stations Akropolis, Syntagma and Panepistemio.