Lots of people who visit Athens for the first time note that for a city its size, the height of buildings around the city centre has been kept relatively low. “Where are all the skyscrapers?”, people ask sooner or later.
There are two reasons buildings in Athens aren’t higher than 27 meters. The first is because Athens is in an area that’s had its fair share of deadly earthquakes, and we just don’t make them as strong as they do in Tokyo.
The second is because its built around the Acropolis, which from its 150m altitude has reigned over the city for millennia. If there were no limit to how tall buildings could get, it would literally end up being a “race to the top”, destroying surrounding views on the Acropolis
With the tourism boom Athens, Greece and much of the rest of the world (though not all of it) is going through, big businesses have been trying to squeeze through the legislation. One company managed to build the hotel pictured above that’s almost twice as high as neighboring apartment buildings, a construction that has generally been met with the dismay of locals in Athens (click to see what this blockage of views looks like now that it’s still at its first stages).
I love talking about how the construction of this hotel is a symbol of how Athens as a popular destination is altering the local skyline and always take some time to ponder it when passing by.