The designation of the industrial complexes of northern Greece as “monuments”: A brief review and certain basic conclusions
Demetres Zygomalas, architect, MSc in conservation of historic buildings and complexes

When going through the rather recent “Moscow Charter for the Industrial Heritage” (TICCIH, 2003), one notes among the primary guidelines of the certainly analytical and extensive text the obligation of every country to “identify, record and protect the industrial remains that it wants to preserve for future generations” (art. 3, §Ι). In northern Greece, the remains in question include industrial complexes, made up of production shells and supplementary (both in terms of function and layout) units, which were established from the second half of the 19th century on and after intensive operation, were closed down in post war years and subsequently abandoned. In the past 25 years, the Greek state has shown care for the preservation of these remains, by means of identification, recording and placement under the protection umbrella of the so-called “archaeological legislation” (law 1469/1950, as of 2002: law 3028/2002). A responsibility of the respective peripheral service of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture (4th Ephorate of Modern Monuments - nowadays Ephorate of Modern Monuments of Central Macedonia), the designation of the industrial complexes of northern Greece as “monuments” gives us the chance for a didactic review and most importantly for a deduction of basic conclusions on the way in which the Greek authorities have so far responded to the aforementioned guideline of the Moscow Charter.

In general terms, the review in question shows that the activity of the Greek state in the industrial complex designation field began in 1983 and continues to the present day after an intermediate pause between the mid 1990s and early 2000s. Within this time span, a wide range of complexes of compact layout came to be listed, in addition to a pair of ensembles with a distinctive dispersion in the natural setting. Of the 21 complexes listed so far, half are located in Thessaloniki and its environs, while the remaining are found in various locations of Macedonia, with the exception of one in Thrace. This particular distribution, though justified in view of the important role of Thessaloniki in the industrial past of northern Greece and the allocation of the responsibility for the protection of the monument stock of the latter to a single service of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture, based in Thessaloniki, is not, however, in our opinion, wholly indicative of the true layout of the historic industrial complexes of Macedonia and Thrace.

A second thing that needs to be noted is that the object of protection in the designation acts edited so far comprises in almost all cases both the built and unbuilt segment of the various ensembles, hence securing stronger protection of their exquisite character. At the same time, though, one also notes initiatives to contract this object, either in the course of the listing process or at a later time, with a clearly negative impact on the complexes’ special profile. Hence, the issue of the designation of the industrial complexes of northern Greece as “monuments” remains open, awaiting on one hand additional listing initiatives, and on the other, thorough evaluations of the ensembles considered for listing; evaluations with a view to safeguarding historic memory and ensuring sustainable development, without unbounded compromises in the name of an anticipated development profit.

Map of listed industrial complexes in Macedonia and Thrace: [1] Hemp Factory, [2] Allatini Mills, [3] Mathaiou Mill, [4] “Chrissalis” Silk Factory, [5] Central Pumping Compound of the Ottoman Water Company, [6] “Hano Estia” Spinning - Weaving Factory, [7] SEFE.CO. Wool Factory, [8] Logos - Kirtsis - Tourpalis Spinning Factory, [9] Benosilio Silk Factory, [10] Tzivre Silk Factory, [11] “Helios” Silk Factory, [12] Axilithiotis Machine Shop, [13] “IFANET” Spinning - Weaving Factory, [14] Noussia Bros Tannery, [15] “FIX” Brewery, [16] Gas production Compound, [17] “Kato Estia” Spinning Factory, [18] Hadjiyannakis - Altinalmazis Flourmill, [19] Allatini Tile Factory, [20] Mines at Vouves and mineral processing plant next to Limenaria, [21] Aghios Ioannis Hydroelectric Plant.
Hemp Factory, Edessa (photo by DZ, 2005). The first industrial complex in northern Greece to be designated as a “monument”.
Allatini Mills, Thessaloniki (photo by DZ, 2006). The initial designation of all the buildings and immediate surrounding space of the complex (1984) was declared invalid under Ruling 3619/1987 of the Supreme Cancelling Court, on grounds of non-entitlement of the signing body. Under a subsequent Act (1991), 14 buildings were listed, together with the immediate surrounding space, as defined by the limits of the property. In 1992, one of these buildings was delisted, while in 2001 the protection of another three was restricted to their shell, of another three to their stone - brick envelope and of another one to part of it. In addition, the protection of one more building was extended to its entire volume, while a so far neglected edifice, together with the machinery of the complex, were listed for the first time. A more recent Act (2002) extended the boundaries of the protected surrounding space towards the sea.
“FIX” Brewery (photo by DZ, 2009). The initial designation Act covered a total of 19 buildings, including their machinery, in combination with a protection zone, defined by the limits of the property (1994). Under a subsequent Act (2003), nine of these buildings were delisted, while the protection of another nine was restricted to their shell. Moreover, the shell of a so far neglected edifice was listed for the first time. The Act in question was declared invalid under Ruling 3999/2004 of the Supreme Cancelling Court, a result of the mobilization of concerned bodies and private individuals.
Gas production Compound (background source: The designation Act of 1994 covered only the three initial buildings (in yellow outline) of the ensemble, thus making it possible in recent months for notable subsequent structures (in red outline) to be demolished, in order to clear land for the erection of an office complex.
Delimitation of the “istorikos topos” (conservation area) of the Aghios Ioannis Hydroelectric Plant (background source: The ensemble in question is the most recent to be listed in northern Greece and at the same time the second to be distinguished for its dispersion in the natural setting.