SPECIAL STATEMENT ON THE ENDANGERED ESTATE OF TATOI NEAR ATHENS
During the press conference held to announce the first list of ‘The 7 Most Endangered’ Monuments and Sites in Europe, at the European Parliament Office in Athens on 12 June, Europa Nostra’s high representatives made a special statement about the Estate of Tatoi, located near Athens, which figures among the 14 endangered sites in Europe that were shortlisted by the Advisory Panel of the ‘7 Most Endangered’ programme.
Europa Nostra and its partner the European Investment Bank have consistently stated they will give ongoing advice and support also to the seven shortlisted sites that are not in the final list of ‘The 7 Most Endangered’. Therefore, on the occasion of its 50th Anniversary Congress in Athens, Europa Nostra is sending a strong signal to all the stakeholders involved on the need to take immediate and effective administrative and other measures to preserve Tatoi for present and future generations of Athenians. Particular attention needs to be urgently given to ensuring a financially viable future for this “lieu de memoire”, also a site of great natural beauty. Inspiring examples can be found elsewhere in Europe, such as the British experience with the “Historic Royal Palaces” organisation, responsible for managing estates no longer used by their Royal Family.
“Tatoi is a very special case because it is of immense importance to the 4 million citizens of Athens and because the Greek state has acknowledged its importance and listed it as a conservation area, on the proposal made by Elliniki Etairia, back in 2003. Today, the problems of Tatoi derive mainly from financial stringency and administrative uncertainty”, explained Costa Carras, Vice-President of Europa Nostra and Co-founder of Elliniki Etairia - the Greek Society for the Environment and Cultural Heritage.
“Since 2003, various partial restoration works have been carried out, much of them through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) where 15-20% national co-financing can be covered by a long-term loan from the EIB. This is already occurring, for instance, in respect of the maintenance and storage of objects of historical or artistic importance at Tatoi”, added Guy Clausse, Director and Special Advisor to the Director General of the European Investment Bank.
“Tatoi was financially viable in the past and can become viable again, with proper development of the agricultural activities that once flourished there (e.g. wine, oil and dairy products) but also of tourism, as with the existing old boutique hotel, respectful of the history and natural environment of the estate. It is however essential that state ownership and conservation listings are preserved and that an imaginative structure is put in place to promote the future sustainable development of the estate as a whole. Europa Nosta together with Elliniki Etairia, its country representation in Greece, stands ready to assist the Greek authorities in achieving this goal”, concluded Denis de Kergorlay, Executive President of Europa Nostra.
After the press conference, a top-level delegation composed of Europa Nostra Board members and Guy Clausse, as a representative of the EIB, visited Tatoi under the guidance of Kostas Stamatopoulos, member of the Elliniki Etairia Board, who is a great expert on Tatoi.
A moment of the press conference at the European Parliament office in Athens. Photo: Ilias Georgouleas