Athens becomes the capital of the Greek state

Athens becomes the capital of the Greek state

Athens, the glorious polis-state of classical times, was but a small and humble town at the beginning of the 19th century. Its inhabitants tried to survive amidst the neglected and ruined monuments of the city's history.

Deciding which city would be the capital of the newly established country was not an easy task. Influential voices were supporting other cities like Nafplion, Argos, etc., but Athens prevailed in the end. It was powerfully symbolic choosing the city where democracy was born as the first capital of the state. It is speculated that its candidacy was endorsed by Europe's archaeophiles who admired the classical era of ancient Greece.

Initially, the city gathered around the neighborhoods of Psirri, Plaka, and Makrigianni. Public utilities like water, electricity, and transportation did not exist. King Otto, the Bavarian first king of Greece, protected the ancient monuments and hired Greek architect Stamatis Kleanthis and Bavarian architects Eduard Schaubert and Franz Karl Leopold Klenze to design and rebuild the new Greek capital.