Inside the huge abandoned airport which has stood still in time since 2001
A jumbo airport three times the size of Monaco which was abandoned in 2001 has been left to rot ever since.
The Ellinikon International Airport in Athens was built in 1938 and even used by the Nazis in the Second World War, but when the new Eleftherios Venizelos airport opened for the 2004 Olympic Games, it was decided the space would be better used for a complex for Olympic events.
One of its hangars was repurposed as an Olympic fencing venue, while the airport’s northwest was redeveloped to include venues for canoe and kayak slalom, field hockey, baseball and softball.
Despite the rethink, the airport was still pulling in 13.5 million people in its last year of operation.
In 2005 there were plans to transform the abandoned site into an urban park yet they fell through and it remained empty for another 15 years.
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The site has a fascinating history. When the Nazis invaded Greece in 1941 the airport was used as a base for the Luftwaffe, before in 1945, the Greek authorities signed an agreement with the US Air Force that allowed them to use the base for flights between Italy and the Middle East.
From then until 1969, the airport became known as Hellinikon Air Base with a command and control centre opened along with a passenger and cargo terminal.
In 1958 it then became known as Athens International Airport, but in 1988, Greece refused to renew their agreement with the US Air Force, which conducted its last operation at the airport in 1991.
The airport then officially closed 10 years later leaving behind abandoned planes, overgrown runways and rundown buildings.
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However, the site could be set for a glamorous return as the new Hellenikon Metropolitan Park.
Work started in 2020 with the finished development expected in 2025 complete with luxury homes, hotels, a casino, the Inspire Athens tower, a marina, shops and office space.
The former airport is bordered by beaches, the Glyfada Golf Club, the Elliniko-Glyfada municipal boundary and a residential area meaning there is plenty of life to sustain the new development.
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