|Location:||37° 57′ 15″ N, 23° 41′ 49″ E|
100 m (Sikelia)
|Area/distance code:||11-30-210 (030-210)|
-950 thru 959
|Name of inhabitants:
|Address of administration:||76 Mantzagriotaki St.|
Kallithea 176 76
Kallithea (Greek: Καλλιθέα map, meaning "good view") is the 8th biggest municipality in Greece (110,187 inhabitants, 2001 census) and the 4th biggest in Greater Athens (following Athens itself, Piraeus and Peristeri). The centre of Kallithea (Davaki Square) lies at a distance of 3 km to the south of the Athens city centre (Syntagma Square) and 3 km to the north-east of the Piraeus city centre (Korai Square). Kallithea extends from Filopappou and Sikelia hills in the north to the Phaleron Bay in the south. Its two other sides consist of Syngrou Avenue to the east (border to the towns of Nea Smyrni and Palaio Faliro) and Ilisos river to the west (border to the towns of Tavros and Moschato).
The site on which the city was developed covers the biggest part of the area to the south of Athens, protected in the ancient times (5th century BC) by the Long Walls to the west and the Phaleron Wall to the east. Somewhere within this area the ancient town of Xypete existed. This town and its citizens are mentioned amongst elsewhere in Plato's Dialogues.
The 1896 and 2004 Athens Olympics
The plans for the establishment of the new city of Kallithea were officially approved in December 1884. On the longitudinal axis of the town (Thisseos Avenue) the Athens to Phaleron tramway used to run from the beginning (1850) to the end (1955) of its operations. Near the centre of the town the Shooting Range (Skopeftirion) was built to house events of the first modern Olympic Games (1896 Summer Olympics). These games took place in three venues: the refurbished ancient stadium of Athens (Panathinaiko Stadium) 2 km NE of Kallithea, the Faliron Velodrome (currently Karaiskaki Stadium) 2 km SW of Kallithea and the Kallithea Shooting Range (Skopeftirion).
Events of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games also took place in the district of Kallithea, notably Handball and Taek Won Do in the new Sports Pavilion (Faliro) by the bottom of Syngrou Avenue and Beach Volleyball in the Olympic Beach Volleyball Centre on Kallithea beach (Tzitzifies).
The Growth of the City
Between the first (1896) and the recent (2004) modern Olympic Games in Athens the city of Kallithea grew significantly. First the tramway depot and workshop were built there (1910) followed by the Harokopios Graduate School (1925) and the Panteios Graduate Scholl of Political Sciences (1928).
In the 1920s the town was flooded by the thousands of refugees after the Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922), the Asia Minor Catastrophe (1922) and the Treaty of Lausanne (1923). These refugees arrived in Kallithea mainly from the south Black Sea (Pontus, from ancient Greek cities such as Sinope (Sinop, Turkey), Sampsus (Samsun), Cerasus (Giresun), Trapezus-Trebizond (Trabzon), Tripolis (Tirebolu), Argyroupolis (Gümüshane) and other remnants of the late Byzantine Empire.
A few had arrived earlier (1919) from the north and east (russian) coasts of the Black Sea, from places such as Odessos (Odessa), Marioupolis (Mariupol', Sea of Azov) and other, after the failed attempt of the western allies (Greece included) against the young Bolshevik state during the Russian Civil War.
Black Sea immigrants of Greek origin also settled in Kallithea in the 1930s, as a result of the change of soviet policy towards ethnic groups. Their origins were mainly in the east coast of the Black Sea (Batumi, Sokhumi, Novorossiysk, Anapa etc.)
The first refugees settled originally in the site of the Olympic Shoting Range (1896) until they were gradually transferred to new dwellings. After its evacuation the building of the Shooting Range served as a scholl until the Nazi Occupation (1941) when it was converted to prison. The prison of Kallithea was demolished in 1966. Among other, fighters of the Greek Resistance and victims of the Greek Civil War had been jailed there (e.g. Nikos Beloyiannis).
In the 1990s, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, a new wave of Greek immigrants arrived in Kallithea from the east coast of the Black Sea, from the Caucasus highlands in Georgia as well as from distant settlements in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan where their Black Sea Greek ancestors were expelled during Stalin's regime in the 1930s.
Until 2004 south Kallithea (Tzitzifies) housed the only horse track in Greece (Ippodromos - Hippodrome) which moved to Markopoulon near the Eleftherios Venizelos Airport. The same area of the city (Tzitzifies) is associated with the development of greek folk music (Rebetiko and later Laiko). Popular composers and singers used to perform there (Markos Vamvakaris, Vassilis Tsitsanis, Yiannis Papaioannou, Marika Ninou, Sotiria Bellou, Manolis Chiotis, Mary Linda, Giorgos Zambetas, Stelios Kazantzidis, Marinella, Poly Panou, Viki Moscholiou, etc.)
Kallithea houses two universities (Harokopion and Panteion), numerous cultural associations and several sport clubs, the most well known among which are Kallithea FC (soccer) and Esperos (basketball, volleyball, handball, tabletennis as well as soccer in the past).
The city is accessed from the east by Syngrou Avenue, from the south by Poseidonos Avenue, from the north and west by Kifissos Avenue/GR-1 and from the Athens centre by Thisseos Avenue (via Syntagma, Amalias, Syngrou). The metropolitan railway (line 1 stations Kallithea and Tavros), the tramway (stations Kallithea and Tzitzifies) and numerous bus and trolley-bus lines along the Thisseos, Syngrou and Poseidonos Avenues connect Kallithea to almost any destination in the Athens basin.
Sites of interest
- Harokopion University.
- Panteion University.
- Municipal Gallery, housed in Laskaridou building, one of the first dwellings in the city.
- Aghia Eleousa church of the late Byzantine period.
- "Kallithea monument", a 4th century BC family tomb, one of the most impressive exhibits of the Piraeus Archaeological Museum.
- Faliro Coastal Zone Olympic Complex on Kallithea beach from the Sports Pavilion (Faliro) to the Olympic Beach Volleyball Centre and the delta of river Ilisos.
- "Argonauts-Comnenus" (Argonaftes-Komnini) fraternity of the Pontus Greeks, aiming at the study and preservation of the history and traditions of their fatherlands.
- "Constantinoplian Society" (Syllogos Konstantinoupoliton) of the Constantinople Greeks that settled in Kallithea forced to abandon Istanbul after the Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922) as well as in subsequent deteriorations of the Greco-Turkish relations.
- Monument in memory of the Pontus Greeks in the centre of the city (Davaki Square and Gardens).
- Municipal Stadium "Gregoris Lambrakis", where Kallithea FC plays since 1972.
|North: Athens, Tavros|
|West: Tavros, Moschato
||Kallithea||East: Athens, Nea Smyrni, Palaio Faliro|
|South: Faliron Bay|