16 Million Euro Parking Garage Opens At Kerameikos

  • by XpatAthens
  • Monday, 06 April 2015
16 Million Euro Parking Garage Opens At Kerameikos
Under normal circumstances, the inauguration of a multistory parking garage would not be newsworthy. But the case of the new facility opened by Athens metro operator Attiko Metro in the downtown area of Kerameikos is somewhat unique. The underground parking garage is located on the original site for the Kerameikos metro station, which was then moved 300 meters away due to archaeological discoveries.

The plot on the corner of Pireos and Iera Odos streets lay unused for years until finally things got moving and the underground parking garage opened in early March. It has five stories, with each level measuring 2,500 square meters and with a capacity for 274 vehicles. It is open 24 hours a day (a wise decision considering it is located close to one of the capital’s busiest nightlife districts) and is reasonably priced: starting at 2 euros for metro passengers (who have to display their tickets) or 3 euros for everyone else from 6 to 9 p.m., and up to 5 euros from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The ground-level “roof” of the parking garage has been turned into a green space and ceded back to the City of Athens, which originally owned the plot.

The story of the parking lot is strange, aside from the fact that the facility has been ready for several years but didn’t open until now. To begin with, it was built simply as a way to hold on to European Union funding. According to the original plans in the 1980s, the plot was intended for the new Kerameikos metro station, which is now on the main square in the nearby Gazi district. Excavations began in 1992 and the metro tunnel was supposed to run 20 meters underground, well below the level that the majority of antiquities in central Athens were found at. But archaeologists had expressed serious reservations about the location because of its proximity to the Ancient Cemetery of Kerameikos.

As it turned out, they were right. After five years, the excavations hit the western end of the cemetery, prompting a scramble to find a new site for the station that took on such controversial proportions that it was taken as far as the European Parliament. In 1997, the Central Archaeological Council laid the matter to rest by prohibiting the construction of a tunnel beneath Kerameikos. In the meantime, however, Attiko Metro had started building the station’s shell, spending some 5.8 million euros on that phase of the project.

To read more please visit: eKathimerini