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Town History  
 

3,500 Years of Life!
 
 

Undoubtedly, the construction of the Olympic Stadium in the town of Amaroussion is not a coincidence. 2,500 years ago, in exactly the same place, the inhabitants of Amaroussion held their own… Olympic Games every year in the spring! At the time, Maroussi was named Athmonon and it was one of the twelve Municipalities of Attica founded by King Cecrops in order to protect Athens from invaders.

Athmonon which was inhabited since the middle of the second millennium B.C. and was famous for its olive oil and wine had the honour to host one of the four regional Olympic Games that were organized in Ancient Greece. The other three were organized in Delphi, Nemea and the Gulf of Corinth. The main Olympic Games took place in Ilida, present Olympia. These games strengthened the notion of Peace and Friendship and were perfectly suited to the inhabitants of Athmonia who were the most peaceful people of the Athenian Confederation.

 
 
 
 
Aristophanes
 

In “Peace”, Aristophanes praises the ancient inhabitants of Amaroussion in the person of Trygeos of Athmonon “who preferred to look after the vineyards and olive groves rather than defame and get involved in intrigue”. At the same time, he reproached “the bellicose Athenians”. He also praises the inhabitants of Amaroussion in the “The Birds”, in the person of Pistheteros of Athmonon who, together with his friend Euelpides was fighting to release Athens from its demagogues.

It is worth noting that Charinos, the first president of the ancient Greek Parliament in 378 B.C., was also from Athmonon; Charinos fought and managed to stop the disputes and turn several Greek towns into allies of Athens.

 
 
The Olympic Games in Athmonon were known as Amarissia because they were held in the honour of Artemis Amarissia in front of her sanctuary which was located on the site of the contemporary church Panagia Neratziotissa. In the plain extending from the front of the Sanctuary towards the south, where the Olympic installations are located currently, athletes from all over Greece gathered each year in spring for the Amarissia, which did not only include sports games but also music and dance competitions, and even ……..wine drinking games!  During the games, the noblemen who had executed their duties with zeal were crowned with golden wreaths.
 
 
Herod Atticus
 
 

After ancient Athens and its Municipalities were occupied by the Romans, Athmonon was seriously pillaged by the conquerors who seized all the works of art and transported them to Rome.
Attica emerged again only in the years of the Philathenian Roman emperor Hadrian who built the famous aqueduct that crossed Athmonon in the direction of the site of the current Olympic Stadium.
The Roman official Herod Atticus, who spent his fortune to build the Panathenean Stadium and the Herod Atticus Odeum, was very partial to Athmonon and constructed many works there.

One of these was the relocation of the Sanctuary of Artemis Amarissia from its initial site (the site of contemporary church Panagia Neratziotissa) to the opposite western hill (where the church of Agios Ioannis Pelikas is situated today) in order to gain better visibility from the plain where the Amarissia games took place.
When Christianity prevailed, churches began to be built in Maroussi that are unique historic monuments in Attica, such as:

 

 
Panagia Neratziotissa that was built on the ruins of the first sanctuary of Artemis Amarissia.
Agios Ioannis Pelekas that was built on the site of the second sanctuary of Artemis Amarissia.
Panagia Marmariotissa (subsequently Agii Anargyri) that was built on the site of another Sanctuary.
Agii Asomati (Taxiarches) that was also built on the site of an ancient sanctuary. Among the icons there is also an icon of saint…philosopher Plato!
Agios Georgios (cemetery) that has been conserved since 1923 “as an outstanding Byzantine monument”.
The church of Agii Theodori in the Kanatadika area that has also been built on the site of an ancient sanctuary. At the end of the previous century, an epigraph was discovered in a wall written in the Attican alphabet of the 5th century B.C.; this epigraph mentions the name PISTOCLES PISTHETEROS of ATHMONON which was the name of the person who played the leading role in “The Birds” of Aristophan (mentioned above).

Agios Thomas in the area with the same name, near Paradisos, Amaroussion.

 

 
Makrigiannis
 

During the Turkish occupation, the Turkish Bey Ali Baba settled in Maroussi. He seized the fields in the area and gave them to Turkish noblemen who were very happy to settle in such a fertile and cool area with a pleasant climate and plenty of water. The inhabitants of Maroussi ended up either as serfs on …their own land or refugees in Corinth, Argos, Arkadia, Euboea and the Cyclades.
When the time of the uprising came, they made their “presence” felt with “bravery” as Dimitrios Ipsilantis states. In his memoirs, Makrigiannis praises the citizens of Maroussi for their participation in the struggle for the liberation of Athens (it started in Maroussi on 15 October 1821) and the struggle to save the Acropolis from the siege of Kioutachis.

After the liberation of the relocation of the capital to Athens, Attica was divided into seven Municipalities. One of these was the Municipality of Amarissia with 712 residents that then included the following:

 
 
Old Maroussi with 360 inhabitants.
Chalandri with 127 inhabitants.
Kalogreza with 8 inhabitants.
Pendeli with 6 inhabitants.
Gerakas with 2 inhabitants.
Karito with 21 inhabitants.
Brahami with 7 inhabitants.
Kifissia with 181 inhabitants.
 
The other six Municipalities of Athens were:
 
The Municipality of Acharnes with 3,542 inhabitants.
The Municipality of Marathon with 1,026 inhabitants.
The Municipality of Piraeus (Kalamos) with 1,011 inhabitants.
The Municipality of Myrinounda (Liopesi) with 431 inhabitants.
The Municipality of Arafia (Markopoulo) with 1,354 inhabitants.
The Municipality of Lavrion with 1,238 inhabitants.
 
The first Mayor of Amaroussion was Mayor Moschas who was elected in May 1836. The second Mayor was Sotirios Chaimadas, elected in 1838. In 1840, the Municipality of Amaroussion was merged with the Municipality of Athens. In 1850, it became independent again. In 1853, it merged with the Municipality of Athens again. It finally gained its independence after 72 years, in 1925.endent again. In 1853, it merged with the Municipality of Athens again. It finally gained its independence after 72 years, in 1925.
 
 
Flower-decorated Maroussi
 

In the previous century, Maroussi was a vast garden. A tableau with flowers, vineyards, olive groves, vegetables, wheat, fruit, plenty of water that the inhabitants sold to Athens and Piraeus, chickens, goats, sheep and pitchers made by the potters who had arrived from Sifnos after the liberation of Greece from the Turks.
In 1860, a primary school and a special school for girls opened in Maroussi.
Until 1870, the primary school was housed in an old house opposite the church of Kimisi Theotokou where a miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary is kept; at the time, it was a small church and its bell hang from a…pole! The teacher rang this bell every morning to call the children to school. In 1871, the school was housed in its own building on Iroon square, which at a later date was used as a municipal store.

In 1874, the icon of the Virgin Mary was also housed in a cathedral that was built on the site of an old humble church and was inaugurated on August 15th when thousands of pilgrims travelled to the area from all over Greece.

 
 
The …Beast!
 

The …beast arrived in Maroussi in 1885; the beast was a steam railway that started from Piraeus. The old people of Maroussi touched wood when they saw it. Several of them threw stones at the train and broke the windows shouting “the beast of the Holy Bible” and “satan’s engine”!
The younger generation loved the train because apart from the low-cost fare it brought young people and low-income people to Maroussi from Athens, and this gave life to Maroussi. It took the train three hours to travel from Athens to Kifissia where it terminated; the train served hundreds of people who did not own a carriage or did not have the money to hire a carriage.
The “beast” travelled blowing and puffing from north to south and back again for half a century. In the summer of 1938, it ceased operations.

 
 
 
Louis
 
  In 1896, the male inhabitants of Maroussi wore Fustanellas (Greek kilt-like garment) and rustic shoes (tsarouchia) while the women wore kerchiefs and thick woollen socks.
It was a village but also the educational centre of northern Attica given that not only local children but also children from Kifissia, Chalandri, Heraklion, Kapandriti, Oropos and Megara studied at the primary school and the boarding school. The village was famous for its healthy climate that was suitable for people suffering of tuberculosis.

It was in that year that Maroussi experienced a great victory at the Olympic Games:
Spiros Louis, first Olympic champion in the Marathon.
Eleftherios Papasymeon, 6th in the Marathon.
Stamatis Masouris, 8th in the Marathon.

All three were from Maroussi and amateurs.
Immediately after the triumph of the 1896 Olympiad Maroussi acquired a gymnastics association and a gym which produced many athletes who became national and Balkan champions.

 
 
The Twentieth Century
 
In 1925, “Amaroussion” was officially and definitively separated from the Municipality of Athens and became an independent community; Konstantinos Gardelis, who was elected with 90% of the votes, was the first president of Amaroussion. In the same year, a high school (gymnasium) was established in Maroussi; this was the only one in the northern suburbs of Athens.
In 1930, the gymnasium and the two primary schools of Amaroussion were housed in their own buildings, the well-known complex on Kifissia Avenue which was a model at the time; it had large classrooms, very comfortable grounds, a sheltered outdoor area for sports and a hall for ceremonies.
The population of Amaroussion increased rapidly from year to year. From 3,450 inhabitants in 1920, the population reached 7,567 people in 1928. In 1940, there were 8,253 inhabitants. In 1943, with 10,000 inhabitants, it became a Municipality. The population of Maroussi climbed to 12,080 inhabitants in 1951, despite the fact that Melissia split from Maroussi in 1946 to become an independent community, and in 1950 Pefki and Likovrissi were also detached from Maroussi. In 1961, Maroussi had 20,135 inhabitants and in 1971 it had a population of 27,000. In the past 28 years (1971-1999) the population of Maroussi more than tripled and has reached 85,000 people. But the real explosion in the past 28 years is in the number of businesses, both large and small, operating in Maroussi, which have reached 3,500!  Result: Maroussi entered the 21st century and the third millennium as a hub town and one of the large economic centres of the country, were large development projects were implemented due to the 2004 Olympic Games.
 

The historical data about Maroussi were obtained from a book by Takis Politopoulos entitled “Marousiotika, Athmonon – Amarission – Maroussi” and another book by Andreas Zaglis entitled “AMAROUSSION (ANCIENT ATHMONON)”.

A text published in a special edition of the Maroussi Millennium magazine
Publishers “WALLOP O.E.”