Gazi / Kerameikos
Gazi / Kerameikos
History shows that the Athens Gasworks, French Company, was established in 1857 following a Royal Decree issued by King Otto under a unanimous decision of the Athens Municipal Council. It was a time when the Industrial Revolution was beginning to make its appearance within the newly established Greek State which had been in existence for only 3 decades.
Following this Decree, Francois Feraldi was granted the right to establish and run a "gasworks" to bring light to the city. In identifying a site to house this industrial complex much importance was attached to its central location.
The site chosen was on the main road to Piraeus at the third corner of the commercial center of Athens which formed a rough triangular shape. In the plans drawn up by Kleanthes and Schaubert in 1833 (the original city plan) the site was to be the location of Kekrops Square while in the 1834 the plan prepared by von Klentze was to be the site of the Royal Palaces. Later development in the wider area around the gasworks led to Pireos Avenue becoming established as one of the Capitol's main industrial areas, Gazi.
Despite the major expansion of the city in the 1960's the gasworks did not function at full capacity since the form of energy it produced was considered "outdated". In 1983, the process of producing gas from coal ceased and the network was linked to that of Hellenic Refineries at Aspropyrgos and production took place using naphtha technology.
Continuing the operation of the gasworks, was considered anachronistic, not only due to the pollution caused, but primarily because of its location in the heart of Athens, near the Acropolis. In 1984, reactions from residents of the city peaked and its operation was suspended. The repair, restoration and re-use of the old buildings and landscaping of the open spaces at the gasworks were a complex process based around 2 principles: authenticity and utility. The social and economic importance of the gasworks and its important architecture has made it one of the main elements comprising the image of the city of Athens.
Within the past decade, Gazi became one of the few places in Athens that allowed permits for new bars and restaurants to open. Subsequently, this part of the city gained rapid popularity as the "Soho" of Athens. Gazi is easily accessible by means of the Kerameikos Metro Station (Line 3) - which is found directly in the main square and adjacent to the Technopolis cultural space of Athens. It is located about 1 km away from the center of the city in the south-west direction.