Cultural Park in inactive lignite mines of  Ptolemaida

27 September, 2012

Cultural Park in inactive lignite mines of Ptolemaida

When an industrial area discover its cultural charcter. (commendation 2011)

Greek version

Supervisor: Alkmini Paka
Student :Leventis Nikolaos
School of Architecture, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Presentation date: 10 February 2011



My thesis regards the creation of a cultural park in inactive lignite mines of Ptolemaida. The proposed area lies between the old national highway of Ptolemaida - Kozani and the old railway tracks (to the south and north respectively) and the artificial lake of AHS Ptolemaida and biotechnical park (to the east and west respectively).

From past to present
The city of Ptolemais is the main focus of the basin of Eordaia, a region of Western Macedonia with a dense structure of lignite mines and factories mixed with residential areas that are crossed by highways and railway lines. The basin features large deposits of lignite and the majority of electrical energy that is consumed in Greece is produced here. This region is present in all historical periods from the prehistoric times until the modern era..

Its story begins like a jungle with a tropical forest, of dense vegetation and rich fauna (findings of elephantoids, gastropods and asteropods ), with which the passing of time and the upheavals of the earth's surface, were covered in her bowels. After that follows the appearance of the human kind(findings of ancient tools, axes etc.). A lot of settlements (stone age, bronze age, iron age) indicate the existence of organized life since the prehistoric era. The area continues to be inhabited and through the Macedonian, byzantine and post-byzantine era until today. In the 50's it converts to a purely industrial area that is based on the exploitation of the subsoil, result of which allot of important paleontological, archeological and historical findings are coming to light.

Today, the economy of the area is based mainly on the operation of steam electric plants, which they absorb the largest part of the local working force. The lignite reserves have gradually decreased and the factories have suffered the ravages of time, which makes them dangerous for the wellbeing of the region and are scheduled to be closed down by2020. This event is expected to influence the economic and social standards of the area.

Therefore, after a thorough study of the region and relying on the construction of an Industrial Park, in a neighboring plot, which aims to become a center of commerce trading for the Balkan countries, I consider it would be necessary to collect and house the history and the civilization of this region in a one site-memorial, a cultural park in the inactive lignite mines of the area.There are five factories of the PPC which operate in the basin of Eordaia. These are situated next to the mines, which cover an area of 160.000 acres. Villages and larges areas of cultivated land have been expropriated for the mining of lignite, which is transported from the mines to the factories by a conveyor. Its total length is 230km and is also used for the removal of ash that is produced from the processing of lignite. The dumping of this ash into the hills imposes enormous morphological changes in the terrain of the area, which would in normal circumstances require numerous years to occur. Finally, the excavators penetrate the earth's crust revealing underground water which springs on the surface of earth creating lakes (blue oases in the dark background of lignite).

The landscape has a transient character and the changes that occur every day are so dense that they create a feeling of liquidity and variability.


1) The restoration of the mining grounds is deemed imperative due to their detrimental effect on the environment inflicted by the mining process. The mining facilities are being maintained with the aim of preserving their cultural indentity.
2) The promotion of the humanistic aspects of the mining area: the legacy and the history of the miners, their traditions, the history of their trade and their lifestyle.
3) A design that will respect the special characteristics and the challenges of the industrial area.
4) Recreational options which will attract tourists and locals alike.
5) The restructuring of the wasted industrial land and improvement of living conditions through the creation of new social, financial and cultural motives.
6) The promotion of the special features of the area which include archaeological sites, geological features, indigenous flora and fauna, paleontological grounds, landscape and mines.

Focal point: Conversion of the deserted industrial site to a network of recreational areas and cultural centers with a view to boosting the local economy and protecting the local ecosystem.
Designing Framework: The creation of a space favoring mobility , evolutionary patterns and fluidity. A space that will combine static and dynamic elements.
Analysis: The cultural park will have two zones: the first regards museums while the second recreation and sports.

In particular, the first zone would include:

1) Open- air lignite museum,
2) Indoor lignite Museum,
3) Museum of alternative energy sources,
4) Museum of new technologies,
5) paleontology Museum,
6) Archeological - Macedonian Museum.

The second zone would include:

7) cafeteria,
8) Theatre - Musical stage,
9) Convention center,
10)Rowing course,
11) Sports center,
12) Administration headquarters.



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