National Independence Park Alexandroupolis

The Site

The park of National Independence in Alexandroupolis covers an area of approximately 1.3 hectares and is used as an open urban green space accessible for public recreation. It is considered a public property and is protected by law for this type of usage. Most of the few neoclassical buildings in Alexandroupolis that remain from the end of the 19th century are located in the central part of the city and particularly around the National Independence Park. They remind of the history of the town and make the park a main point of reference in Alexandroupolis. 

Even though the park has not received adequate attention in the last decades, it is still used by a lot of citizens and visitors because of its central position within the city and the interesting neoclassical buildings. Buildings include the Zarifios Pedagogical Academy, the Nursery (1st Kindergarden), the Post Office and the Court House that surround the area of the park. 

Project Outcome

The objectives of regenerating the park and its surroundings are: 

  1. to preserve the identity of the traditional buildings, which nowadays host public services; 
  2. to create a beautiful green space in the city centre that is used as a meeting point and as a tourist landmark;
  3. to interlink the park and its buildings with the famous light tower of  Alexandroupolis in order to create a unified tourist product;
  4. and to create a new landmark for the city in general, with very specific architectural and green space characteristics.

The Region

Alexandroupolis, the capital of Evros County, is built on the southern side of the sea. Although the area has a long history, the city is quite modern as it was only founded in 1850 when fishermen created a small settlement on the area of today’s Alexandroupolis. 

Over time, the city established itself as a gateway between Salonika (Thessaloniki) and Constantinople (Istanbul) and as a link to the Aegean Sea for Bulgaria and Russia. Consequently, the city became a transport and commerce centre. The cultural and social life was rich, commerce offered status and economic comfort to the residents and the spiritual level was high. However, the Balkan War from 1912-13 destroyed much of the cultural and commercial heritage. With the signed treaties at the end of the war (treaty of Neuilly and treaty of Sevres), a part of Thrace, a historical and geographic area in Southeast Europe, was returned to Greece and rejuvenation began.

The architecture of Evros County has been influenced from both the climatic conditions as well as the people who have inhabited it at certain times such as the Byzantines and Turks. Nowadays, Alexandroupolis is a modern city with a contemporary street layout, new buildings, liveliness and interesting activities. The landmark of the town is its Lighthouse which was constructed by the French company "Lighthouses and Lamps" and started operating on June 1st 1880. It runs with electricity and in case of a cut-off with acetylene. It is one of the highest lighthouses in Greece, being 27 meter high and visible from 23 miles. 

Independence Park Alexandroupolis