Athens has revealed its plans of opening up Illisos, an ancient hidden river that flows through the historic heart of the Greek capital, which will soon be uncovered and turned into a 1.5 kilometre long green park.

Ilissos River was an idyllic, winding watercourse shaded by plane trees where the famous Athenian philosopher Socrates once taught, however in the 1930s, during the rapid urban development of Athens, it was covered over and a tram line was built on top it.

*Ilissos River in ancient times

Poor maintenance and the rumble of thousands of trams have caused structural damage to the tunnel beneath the track, and in October the tram line was closed down.

Urban planners told The Telegraph that rather than spending millions of euros on reinforcing the tunnel and repairing the track, the tram line should be diverted along a different route and the river opened up.

They are proposing the creation of a park along a one mile stretch of the formerly forgotten river.

“Reconstructing that part of the tram line would be very expensive,” Katerina Christoforaki, an urban planner who is behind the proposed scheme, told The Telegraph.

“We are suggesting that the tunnel should not be repaired. Instead, we would uncover the river and create a pathway that would lead from the Acropolis to the Museum of Modern Art, right through the heart of the city.”

Feasibility studies are just getting underway. “We’ve just opened up the dialogue,” said Professor Christoforaki. “But we think it will be completed within a decade. It’s something that we believe most Athenians would like to see.”

*Read the full article written by Nick Squires in The Telegraph

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