Davaki Square, Athens: Life Stories in a Multi-Ethnoregional Place (74338)

Session Information: Interdisciplinary Arts, Media & Culture
Session Chair: Bothepha Mosetlhi

Thursday, 21 September 2023 16:25
Session: Session 4
Room: Eixample
Presentation Type:Oral Presentation

All presentation times are UTC + 2 (Europe/Madrid)

Within a short distance from the center of Athens, one can find “Davaki Square.” It is located in the center of the Municipality of Kallithea. In Kallithea there used to be residences of poets and writers. The famous neoclassical houses with gardens, which are still preserved, testify to the reasons why artists preferred this place. Even today there are literary associations based in Kallithea. The human geography of Kallithea changed with the arrival of refugees from Asia Minor and the Pontus (1923), from Romania (1952), from Istanbul (1955), and from the former Soviet Union (1965, 1990). All these ethnic and ethnoregional groups have created cultural associations around “Davaki Square.” At the same time, four different statues feed the collective memory, highlighting the influence of multiple histories, shaping a different perception of public space, and emphasizing the cohesive elements of the community. Nowadays, “Davaki Square” is a place of cultural events, political gatherings, and meetings amongst elderly people, mainly because of the park around the square. So, the square takes the form of an open-air café and a place of debate. In this way, the urban landscape is transformed and, accordingly, the collective memory of the community is shaped, too. The square accepts the imprint of each group, which contributes to the creation of a strongly modern and common identity of the “Athenian of Kallithea.” My paper explores the collective memory of “kallithean” community with qualitative research methods (participatory observation and life stories). In particular, I examine the identification or not of the inhabitants with the monuments, the representation of a multiethnic square and the reception of the special identity that the inhabitants have created in relation to the wider urban identity of Athens.

Myrofora Efstathiadou, Democritus University of Thrace, Greece

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Posted by Clive Staples Lewis

Last updated: 2023-02-23 23:45:00