• Scientific Point of View

Scientific Point of View

Athens (Athene), the capital of Greece, has been related with the scientific community since the early years. During the 5th century B.C. ancient Athens was considered to be that period’s Silicon Valley and served as a talent magnet attracting the scientific global interest where innovation and genuine creativity took place. Plato’s Academy is the first modern university that cultivated not only the intellectual mind but also the physical body. Athenians built the first global city in history with Hippodamus being the father of Urban Planning.
Today, Athens continues to create, educate and train scholars and scientists some of whom are world-leaders in their fields and its 18 Universities are placed among the best internationally.

Athens, legacy in underground space is related to Greece’s history and the country’s development involving remarkable engineering infrastructure some of which are even today accessible to visit. Examples include: the Hadrianean aqueduct, Agia Dynami and Agios Isidoros Churches that were used as shelters, Bogiatis hydrotunnel in Marathon lake, Ilissos hydrotunnel, underground network of mining galleries, etc all of which are part of the “Secret Athens” (the Athenian Underground City). Another example of great significance is the development of Athens Railway System that began in 1869 and includes the historic metro Line 1 connecting Piraeus and Athens. The extension of this line between connecting various central points in Athens was in 1894 was electrified, making it one of the first Metropolitan European Railways. This development was re-designed again back in the 1990s with the construction of the three currentlyused Metro lines. The construction of the underground lines began in November 1992, while main lines were partially operated in January of 2000. Since then, several extensions have been made, and today, Line 2 and 3 are 17.9km and 18.1km long, respectively. In 2018, Athenians warmly welcomed the announcement of the current Athens Metro Development Plan which includes the construction of a new metro line, Line 4. The U-shaped Line 4 consists of two radial legs to Galatsi and Maroussi, as well as of one central part that runs through Athens working as a “circle” line: its total length is 38.2 km with 35 stations. 

The City of Athens has always stimulated tunnel engineering interest and the rising demand for tunnel engineering initiated the development of the post-graduate program, MSc in Design and Construction in Tunnelling and Underground Projects, offered by the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) which was established in 1998. Twenty years later, alumni from this program are considered to be acclaimed engineers, professionals and academics worldwide strengthening Greece’s leading role in the tunnelling industry and scientific community. Geographically, Athens is considered a significant entrance connecting Europe with the Eastern and Southern part of the world, involving importing and exporting goods and services. Leading international consulting and construction firms have a strong presence in Athens. 

Moreover, the open market culture of the country, as part of the EU, allows companies from around the world to participate in major infrastructure construction projects and do business. Greece has some of the world’s best design and construction practices available to showcase, particularly to young professionals. Athens has a strong track record in delivering some of the largest and most ambitious civil engineering projects in Europe (e.g., the Athens METRO, the 2004 Olympic games infrastructure etc), whereas the near future looks extremely promising for the construction industry. As official EU figures indicate, the contribution of the Construction Industry on the Greek Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is currently well below average values of the EU. Such numbers indicate the potential of the country for a dynamic commencement of development projects via the construction of new infrastructures, many of which will include large scale underground space use. 

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