Wasted street names

By: | Post date: July 2, 2023 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Culture, Greece

Athens did some premature optimisation with its street names.

When Athens became capital of the Greek State, there was a rush to name its streets after all the gloried personages of antiquity.

The problem was, Athens in 1833 was just Plaka and other densely laned streets, and a building project of new avenues. The new avenues didn’t get the glorious names; the existing Ottoman town did. And Plaka remains charming (the bits of it without tourist tat in them, at least); but the street names are tiny little twisty alleys, that do somewhat insult the greats.

So, the My Fair Penteli taverna? Where the winding street had cars driving slowly between the bouzouki band and the taverna customers across the street? That street was Aristophanes St.

Hadrian? Rebuilder of Athens? He got Hadrian’s Arch from the City Fathers of Athens in the 130s AD. In the 1830s, he got a street that is now full of T-shirts.

Thucydides, historian of the war that undid Athens? Pictured, the full extent of Thucydides St. It’s what, 200m long?

Cities can’t recycle street names here every postcode, like they do in Australia; street names have to be unique per municipality. Which means this can’t be fixed…

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