A city is its inhabitants, and of no city is this truer than Athens. This is the nub of Vassilis Karapostolis’ Hand-made City. He traces Athenians through the history of their city, a city he sees as both tolerant and hermetically enclosed. Tolerant of the total chaos, the lack of greenery, and the rubbish including scrap metal and furniture strewn by the roadside, waiting in vain for collection, it is a city where even officialdom cannot take effective action.
Hemmed in, unlike Rome, Paris, Prague, London and Berlin, Athens has few outlets, few opportunities to breathe, the author claims. But, he says, it’s a dramatic city. Its good side, revealed only at night, is its history and the beauty of its buildings. And this side, less apparent at first glance to the foreign visitor, competes every day with the ugliness imposed on the city by the influx of easy money.
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