It is said that Athens is one of the biggest cities in Europe without a river flowing through it. While not technically true, we Athenians really feel that way, and who can blame us? The few small rivers we do have are mostly hidden out of sight and forgotten.
Still, the river of Kifissos, or Cephessus, is Attica’s longest river. Our country’s passionate love of concrete and building where we shouldn’t has led to the shaping of its riverbed to accommodate the modern urban sprawl of the 20th century. Such has been the fate of all of Athens’ watercourses, with the handful of exceptions making interesting destinations (see Rema Pikrodafnis, Rema Chalandriou).
All in all, a sad state of affairs. But it is a truism about life that every cloud has a silver lining, and often enough, a barbaric defilement of natural landscapes results in the emergence of an interesting piece of urban environment.
Case in point, this part close to the mouth of the river Kifisssos below the national highway. I don’t know why, I’ve always been attracted to underpasses. This one has plenty of little pedestrian bridges and the concrete walls lining the artificial riverbank are decorated with this weird sort of random street art that looks like streaks of dry glue. I enjoy going for a run in this area, both across the river and parallel to it.
Urban explorers will find the whole area of Neo Faliro rewarding with its architectural curiosities.