Athens, Greece

By Yorgos Karahalis

Both as a photographer and a resident of this city, I have always wanted to explore the ghost buildings that stand semi-ruined on a central avenue of Athens, squeezed between the police headquarters and the Supreme Court, just a couple miles from the Greek parliament.

These blocks of flats, built back in the 1930s to house Greek refugees from Asia Minor, have not been taken care of for decades. They have been totally left to their fate.

The eight blocks of 228 flats, each about 160 sq feet (15 sq meters), catch your eye as you drive down Alexandras Avenue. While it’s quite simple to explain to someone what these rundown and graffiti-covered buildings are now, explaining how this place reached this point is more difficult.

The story starts when the children of the refugees began moving out some years ago, leaving behind their elderly parents who later passed away or abandoned their properties.

In 2001, the state bought almost all the apartments in the complex, and plans were laid to demolish the buildings and make use of the area differently, but these ideas were opposed by the residents. Finally, in 2008, Greece declared the buildings a heritage site worthy of protection, and all action froze. (more…)