The New Thessaloniki Coast: Botanical Gardens and Pools in the Sea

Thessaloniki Coast, October 2021 Credit: Andreas K, Unsplash

The Prefecture of Central Macedonia on Monday announced plans for the redesign of Thessaloniki’s coast, plans that include botanical gardens and swimming pools in the sea.

Governor of Central Macedonia, Apostolos Tzitzikostas, announced in a press conference the vision for the future of Thessaloniki’s coast, “The purpose of the Special Urban Plan is the reconnection of Thessaloniki with the sea, which will also include the strengthening of mobility, the upgrading of the environment and culture, and of course, economic development, giving a new, regulated urban public space to citizens and visitors of the Urban Complex.”

Governor of Central Macedonia, Apostolos Tzitzikostas, speaks to the press on November 19, 2021 credit: Prefecture of Central Macedonia

This plan is three years in the making and includes the contributions of multiple government and municipal entities: the prefecture of Central Macedonia, the Deputy Governor of Thessaloniki, the municipalities of Thessaloniki, Delta, Kalamaria, Pylaia-Chortiatis, Ampelokipi-Menemeni, Thermis and the Technical Chamber of Greece, Section of Central Macedonia, to name a few.

Grecian Delight supports Greece

Slated to be completed by 2030, the lofty plan seeks to utilize 1,000 acres of land to create a continuous coastal recreation area and a promenade, where citizens and visitors alike can freely bicycle and walk, reconnect with the sea, and enjoy public spaces and nature.

The plans for the new Thessaloniki coast go beyond previous administration’s attempts at cleanup and look to increase the quality of life of the people of Thessaloniki, integrating recreational athletics and cultural experiences in the day-to-day.

Thessaloniki Coast, Specific Plan

Map of plan for Thessaloniki Coast Revival 2030, credit Prefecture of Central Macedonia

Specifically, beginning from the western part, in the area of Kalochori, the plan outlines an environmental upgrade to the lagoon area; an implementation based on the National Center for Habitats’ past reports. Namely, some areas will be earmarked for students and elder visitors, while observation outposts are also to be created. Due to the area’s designation as environmentally protected, any interventions will be mild and respectful of nature.

For the Municipality of Ampelokipi-Menemeni, which belongs to the wider area of ​​Dendropotamos, the main goal is the regeneration of the area. The polluted area has attempted cleanup multiple times over the years and hopes to overcome past failures.

Mayor of Ampelokipi-Menemeni, Mr. Kyriazoglu reinforced this point, “As mayor of western Thessaloniki, I would be remiss if I did not mention the western coastal front, which is the dirtiest. It is no coincidence that the Region started a 6.5 million euro project last summer for its decontamination. Unfortunately, for so many years no government has been interested in this very important issue. The only serious, responsible initiative that is proposed is by Apostolos Tzitzikostas. The mayors, without geographical discrimination, all together, support this project.”

Urban transformations that harken New York City’s Highline can be expected as ​​the old freight station will morph plan into a metropolitan park of about 50 acres, with a walking axis from the new Holocaust Museum to Eleftheria Square.

The design for the old beach is to widen through construction, thus reinforcing the famous deck and ensure the path for pedestrians and bicycles, while for the new beach, the plan is to build underground parking garages, which could combat one of Thessaloniki’s greatest problem points: illegal parking.

In an effort to increase water sports, the plan includes the legalization of sailing clubs that are already in operation, as well as the creation of new swimming facilities by the Concert Hall.

A pedestrian and bicycle route will be created in ​​the Municipality of Kalamaria, while in the area of ​​Aretsos the plan foresees the construction of artificial swimming pools that resemble pools in the sea.

Finally, in the coastal front of the Municipality of Pylaia-Chortiatis, the creation of a metropolitan park and botanical garden by ​​the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki is in the works.

The Athens Riviera has been a great attraction for tourists in the country’s capital and now, the cultural capital of Greece, Thessaloniki, hopes to recreate and elevate the Thessaloniki coast in similar fashion. The budget for this grand plan is still unknown, as public deliberations just began, however the Prefectures hopes to break ground by the beginning of 2024.

Mr. Tzitzikostas concluded the press conference with a powerful call to action for all, “It is a big step for our common vision, for the creation of Macedonia 2030, a Region that is modern, smart, green and human. It is the great challenge that we have before us, which we can all conquer together.”

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