The conflict between ancient and modern is seen more clearly in Athens than elsewhere because one moment of its history is celebrated over any other
Take a seat at the cafe Mouses at the corner of Adrianou and Agiou Filippou streets in central Athens and, looking one way, you have a fantastic view of the towering Acropolis, crowned by the Parthenon, glowing amber in the evening light. Look the other way and, through a mix of plastic sheeting, wire fencing and green construction tarpaulin, you catch sight of a deep hole in the ground, with bits of ancient ruins visible five metres or so below modern ground level, butting up on every side against modern buildings that teeter perilously on the edge of the excavated abyss.
Central modern Athens is a battleground of an ancient versus a modern world, every building standing a victor
This victory of the ancient over the modern has not been without its struggle, or its detractors
Michael Scott’s Ancient Invisible Cities is on BBC Two tonight at 9pmContinue reading...