Athens neoclassical City Hall located on Kotzia Square, one of the city's most popular squares

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Mayor Monitor to rate the performance of mayors from across the world More


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City Mayors reports political events, analyses the issues and depicts the main players. More


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City Mayors profiles national and international organisations representing cities as well as those dealing with urban issues. More


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City Mayors lists cities and city organisations, profiles individual mayors and provides information on hundreds of urban events. More

Athens City Hall
By Maria Paravantes

11 August 2005: In the heart of Athens, Europe’s oldest capital, on central Athinas Street, stands the “dimarcheio”, in Greek, the word for the “people’s home”. Designed by P. Kalko, Athens City Hall is a fine example of neoclassical architecture. The foundation stone was laid in 1872 and the building was completed in March, 1874. It was inaugurated a month later on 22 April 1874, when the municipal authority moved in.

Athens City Hall has undergone several renovations throughout its 133-year history. It started out as a one-storey building, the ground floor rented out to shop owners.

In 1901, Mayor Spyros Mercouris ordered new alterations and the addition of a garden. In 1935-36 under Mayor Kotzias, City Hall was expanded to include a second floor. The shops were closed down and in their place offices were established to provide space for the expanded city government. By a unanimous decision, City Council commissioned acclaimed artists of the day Giorgos Gounaropoulos and Fotis Kontoglou to paint frescoes with motifs highlighting Athens’ history from antiquity to modern times.

The year 1983 saw the mayor and his administration move to a new building on Liossion Street, where today deputy mayors, City archives and administrative services are located. In the meantime, City Hall on Athinas Street was left to go to ruin. Recognising the historical value of City Hall, Mayor Miltiadis Evert revamped the building in 1987, re-establishing it as the seat of the municipal authority. Today, it houses the mayor’s office, council meeting rooms, function rooms and the mayor’s cabinet offices.

Athens City Hall is located on one of the most popular squares in Athens, Kotzia Square, at the crossroads of the capital’s most vibrant districts: Psyrri and Monastiraki. Much like Athens itself, City Hall has one foot in the past and the other in the present. To its left, Omonia Square, the centre-most point of Athens’ hustle & bustle, marks Greece’s rapid urbanisation. To its right stands the Acropolis, eternal symbol of Athens’ glorious past.

Upon entering City Hall, the bronze busts of Aspasia and statesman Pericles greet visitors as they make their way up a striking red-carpeted, marble staircase surrounded by stained-glass panes crafted by Takis Parlavantzas. The colourful windows tell the tale of Athens in myth and history, beginning with the contest between the goddess of wisdom Athena and god of the sea Poseidon, who fought over the patronage of the city.

They lead up to the first floor, where the Mayor’s office is located. Adorned with portraits of past mayors, precious gifts as well as part of Mayor Dora Bakoyannis’ favourite komboloi (worrybeads) collection, the mayor’s office is a treasure in itself, always brimming with fragrant flowers - a female touch.

Mayor Bakoyannis, the first female mayor in Athens’ 2,500-year history, renovated City Hall yet again in 2004, making it accessible to people with disabilities, and introducing a roof garden, where she hosted prominent guests and provided journalists from around the world with information about Athens during the 2004 Olympic Games.

Besides the unique murals (the only remaining complete works by Kontoglou), the highlight at Athens City Hall is undeniably its collection of Miniature Mayors crafted in terracotta by sculptor Loukia Georganti (1919-2001). The collection, located in the Ceremonies Hall, attracts the attention of hundreds of journalists and visitors and provides historical details of the fashion of the era.

Once Mayor Bakoyannis’ term is over in 2006, she will be the first female statuette among 38 of her male predecessors. “I would love to be wearing a bright red dress. I think that would definitely make me stand out,” she often jokes.

 


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Mayor Monitor (MM)
City Mayors introduces Mayor Monitor (MM), which allows residents and non-residents to rate the performance of mayors and highlight their ‘best’ and ‘worst’ decisions. Mayor Monitor uses the widely understood one-to-ten rating system, where '1' signifies an extremely poor performance and '10' ‘an outstanding one. In addition to rating mayors’ performances, citizens are invited to highlight city leaders' best and worst decisions while in office.

Over time, Mayor Monitor will provide a valuable track record of mayors’ successes and failures as well as their popularity among residents and a wider public. The results will be published on the City Mayors website and updated monthly.

The MM list currently includes more than 30 mayors from The Americas, Europe, Asia and Australia Full list