ATHENS – Residents in the Greek capital’s most popular tourist spot, the Plaka neighborhood – said it’s become so noisy and overrun that they can’t sleep because of late-night partying and restaurant music but aren’t getting any relief.
In a feature, Kathimerini noted how unbearable life has become for them with unlawful rooftop and restaurant speakers blaring away and hotels and short-term rentals using the roofs as well for guests and customers to party away.
“The situation is now desperate. We cannot move, we cannot sleep, we cannot live,” says Giorgos Zafeiriou who has been living on Pittakou Street in Plaka for the last 25 years told the paper.
“Our main problem is noise pollution. The shops in Plaka compete with each other in the volume of the music. We understand that the municipal police are approaching because suddenly the sound is lowered only to go up again as soon as they leave,” he said.
A Presidential decree for Plaka prohibits the installation of speakers outdoors but the report said it’s been ignored and unenforced and residents complain the police will no intervene.
Greece counts on the Plaka for a big chunk of tourism money and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, whose government essentially ended health restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, has been keen on getting as many as possible into the country to spend, spend, spend.
The decree also explicitly prohibits the operation of restaurants and bars on rooftops, but they have proliferated and no word on whether President Katerina Sakellaropoulou knows about it or will try to stop the lawlessness.
“At least 20 roof bars must be operating on Mitropoleos Street alone at the moment,” Noni Sterioti, a resident of Lysiou Street told the paper about facilities competing against each other.
“It is not just the hotels, but also buildings that were converted into Airbnbs with rooftops… At many of these place there are parties until 3.30 in the morning,” she added about the growing woe.
“If you do not have double glazing in the house, you cannot sleep… and it’s not just the bars… the only improvements we have seen are the cleanliness of the area and the anti-graffiti campaign,” she also added.
Despina Stratigi, a resident of Kyrristou Street said that, “We have spoken to the police, the municipal police, but unfortunately to no avail. We cannot seek help anywhere, our daily lives have become torturous.”