Minimize Athens, Greece (1984 - 2004)


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Athens, the capital city of Greece, can be seen in these two Landsat images.

Images description

Twenty years separate these two Landsat thematic mapper images of Athens, the capital of Greece.

Athens is also the capital of the Attica region. A cosmopolitan modern city, Athens is famous for being a powerful city-state and a very important centre of learning in ancient times. It is named after its patron goddess, Athena.

Athens sprawls across the central plain of Attica, which is bound by mount Aegaleo to the west, mount Parnitha to the north, mount Penteli to the northeast, mount Hymettus to the east, and the Saronic Gulf to the south-west. The land is rocky and of marginal fertility. The ancient site of the city is centred on the rocky hill of the Acropolis. The city port of Pireas (ancient name Piraeus) was separated from the city in ancient times but has now been absorbed into greater Athens. Since Athens has expanded to cover the entire plain, up to its natural boundaries, it is unlikely that the city will grow significantly in area in the future.

The centre of the modern city is at Syntagma Square (Constitution Square), site of the former Royal Palace, the Greek Parliament and other 19th century public buildings. Most of the older and wealthier parts of the city cluster around this area, which is also where most of the tourist attractions and museums are. The newer parts of the city are mostly constructed from grey concrete and suffer from a lack of parks and amenities.

With its suburbs, Athens has a population of about 3.7 million people, representing more than a third of the total population of Greece. Athens has grown very rapidly in the years after the war until ca. 1980 and suffered from overcrowding, traffic congestion and air pollution; it is one of the most polluted cities in Europe. The geomorphology of the area – a plain surrounded by mountain ranges and facing the sea - frequently causes temperature inversion phenomena, which partly enhance the city’s air pollution.

Our first Landsat 5 image was acquired on 03 July 1984 - Greece entered into the European Union in 1981 and this brought new investment, along with problems of congestion and air pollution. Throughout the 1990s a series of measures were taken successfully to combat pollution. In preparation for the 2004 Olympic Games the city refreshed its image with the introduction of state-of-the-art transport means, a new airport, pedestrianised areas, new museums and public squares.

The second Landsat 5 image was acquired on 07 July 2004 - Athens hosted the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad, commonly known as the 2004 Summer Olympics. When the International Olympic Committee expressed its concern over the progress of construction work of the new Olympic venues, a new Organizing Committee was formed and Athens was transformed into a city that uses state-of-the-art technology in transportation and urban development. Some of the most modern sporting venues in the world were built to host the 2004 Olympic Games.

Technical Information
Instrument: Thematic Mapper (TM)
Instrument features - Coordinates: NE Lat/Long: N 38.12 / E 24.04
NW Lat/Long: N 38.09 / E 23.50
SW Lat/Long: N 37.74 / E 23.51
SE Lat/Long: N 37.72 / E 24.05
Date of Acquisition: 3 July 1984 - 7 July 2004
Track: 183/34
Map of Athens