The Unification of the Archaeological Sites of Athens represents a serious and basic change in modern Athens. It is cultural, environmental and developmental in purpose and it will contribute greatly to improving the quality of life in Athens.
Since 1985 the City-planning Programme of Athens included, in accordance with a proposal by the Ministry of Culture, the unification of the Archaeological sites in the centre of Athens. Subsequently, in 1988, the Ministry of Culture commissioned the drawing up of a Master Plan to further the realisation of Melina Merkouri's splendid vision. Its fulfillment will improve the quality of life in Athens by giving both Athenians and visitors an archaeological park running across the centre of the city, 4 kilometres long and covering an area of 7,000 stremmata: indeed a cultural, recreative and instructive centre, unique in all the world, and very much needed by Athens to emerge from her present condition. The plan is to include all the archaeological sites and monuments of the area together with the traditional aggregate of the Centre (Plaka, Psyrri, Theseion) and the area comprising the Commercial Triangle and the Historic Centre of Athens. To make this possible requires some other measures, such as replacing a number of streets with pedestrian roadways, for example Vasilissas Olgas, Dioysiou Areopagitou, Apostolos Pavlou, part of Ermou and the Sacred Way. Necessary also will be the reconstruction, conservation and display of the monuments, reorganisation of the archaeological sites, and so forth.
Within this area the archaeological sites and monuments will assume their true importance, dominating the landscape, as they become part of everyday life. The plan offers Athenians an environment that is aesthetically, environmentally and culturally much improved. By incorporating into the life of the city monuments covering the entire historical span, both citizen and visitor can experience the historical continuity of the city in an environment of improved educational and aesthetic value. The area at the same time is to be a centre for relaxation and recreation, linked with daily life and contemporary cultural activity. Thus important archaeological sites (such as those along the national road to Eleusis) and significant cultural institutions are drawn into an overall programme for improving the city. Both inhabitants and visitors will see a city worthy of its history.
The common programme of the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of the Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works comprises in its initial phase 6 areas that are included in the overall programme of study and works. The purpose is the unification of the cultural inheritance of the Centre and the re-structuring - improvement of areas in the Historic Centre. This is one of the most important parts of Athens and, culturally, the most significant.
The cultural, environmental, social and economic results of this programme will be of enormous importance.