RENT A CAR
Strolling through Athens
January 30, 2006
Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyannis announced the publication and release on the market of the new edition of the Strolling through Athens guide as well as an organised walking tour programme of the same name. Mayor Bakoyannis also presented the results of the City of Athens Stray Management Programme.
Mayor Bakoyannis said in her speech: “We are announcing two very important initiatives for the city which began in the pre-Olympic period and are forging ahead with the same force. The first initiative focuses on the promotion of Athens. We are happy to present you with the new edition of our popular guide, Strolling through Athens.
A joint publishing effort by the City of Athens and the Athens Tourism and Economic Development Agency, the guide is under the supervision the Foundation of the Hellenic World. We received positive comments about Strolling through Athens during the Olympic Games. These comments prompted us to proceed with the release of the guide on the market.
The Strolling through Athens guide is available in Greek at all bookstores. It will soon be available in English, French and German at select sales points throughout Greece and abroad.
At this point, I would like to thank the Erevnites publishing house, which has undertaken the printing and distribution of the publication, and I am confident that their experience in the publishing sector will contribute greatly to the successful promotion of this useful handbook on Athens.
The Strolling through Athens guide is a comprehensive publishing endeavour covering the historic wealth and the major sites and monuments of our city. Of high aesthetic value, pleasant to read, comprised of carefully researched text, the guide offers the reader a unique experience of Athens’ history and culture via 12 historic routes.
The 12 ‘walks’ underline the city’s most important cultural monuments and at the same time highlight a number of historic events that marked the history and development of the Greek capital.
However, for me, the most noteworthy part of the book has to do with the fact that the reader can - through its pages - discover those unique features of Athens that are still unknown to our visitors and perhaps to many of us.
Prominent figures, buildings, events and monuments of our city emerge via the suggested strolls through Athens’ history and are illustrated with a wealth of visual material.
This guide forms the basis for the design of a comprehensive programme for the promotion of the city under the same name which involves 12 organised walking tours based on the recommended ‘walks’ listed in the handbook.
The successful promotion of Athenian culture requires close collaboration with all city agencies and careful planning of all related projects and activities. The publication of Strolling through Athens is another move in this direction. It paves the way for similar initiatives and opens a window to knowledge, serving as a valuable tool for every visitor to the city, Greek or foreign. I would lastly like to thank public broadcaster ERT, the communication sponsor, for their support in this worthwhile effort.
The second initiative we would like to speak about is the City of Athens Stray Management Programme.
Three years ago, we launched for the fist time at the City of Athens a far-reaching programme for the management of the city’s stray animals. This initiative started from scratch, with no available means, no infrastructure or trained staff, in a time of increased pressure due to the upcoming Olympic Games. Back then, many thought it was a one-off project, lacking in fundamentals and objectives.
Today the City of Athens:
Has recruited specially-trained crews to patrol the streets in vans and collect stray animals without collars
Is working with 16 partner clinics, where the animals without tags are spayed or neutered, inoculated, cleaned of parasites, micro-chipped, treated for injury or illness, and nursed to good health. Finally, they are registered in the programme’s database to facilitate monitoring
Has created a temporary hospice - a specially equipped veterinary facility which can host and care for up to 100 animals per day that are recovering after being sterilised or due to injury, minor surgery or other treatment
Is electronically registering (micro-chipping) street dogs and providing them with traceable identification tags. The micro-chipping is animal-friendly and facilitates the immediate identification by City authorities of the animals it monitors, while answering some citizens’ fears of animal hygiene
Has founded the Voluntary Adoption Scheme through its growing network of volunteers. To encourage adoption, the city provides sterilisation, inoculation and basic medical treatment. City staff follow up with individuals who have adopted pets to ensure that strays go to good homes
Is working closely with animal rights groups who help raise awareness and encourage the adoption of strays.
Launched far-reaching awareness-raising campaigns aimed at sensitising the public about responsible pet care.
Has created a municipal veterinary clinic
We are steadily and humanely dealing with the phenomenon, and hope that in two years’ time we will have made up for the lost time on behalf of the government.
From the launch of the programme in 2003 through to December 31, 2005, the City has:
Neutered, inoculated and registered 1,334 street dogs
Treated 862 injured or ill canines
Electronically tagged 885 strays
Found a warm and loving home through the City’s Adoption Programme for 214 of our furry friends
Today, we are forging ahead with a programme that has seen results. We’ve put the infrastructure in place and created a network of cooperation in our efforts to best deal with the issue of street dogs.
Our goals: stray animal welfare and humane animal population control.
Our priority: sensitising Athenians to the need for responsible pet care.
We say ‘yes’ to a clean Athens. Besides promoting the friendly and hospitable side of Athens, we should be able to show its clean face as well. The City Police, within the framework of the City’s Social and Prevention Action plan, is encouraging pet owners to clean up after their pets. Those who fail to comply are fined according to the City’s cleaning regulation.
This said, I would like to take this chance to invite you the City’s awareness-raising event at Eleftherias Park on February 5. I will not reveal what we have planned for the event because we want it to be a surprise especially for youngsters. Our goal is through fun and games and through contact with the animals to eliminate stereotypes and change attitudes. This event is a chance for us to see how we can change our city for the better.
I have said this several times before and I repeat: However many animals are sterilised or adopted on a daily basis, if each one of us creates new strays, we are simply reproducing an endless cycle. Without the active participation of the citizens, measures will never have full effect.”