Marathon owes its worldwide fame to the battle between Athenians and Persians who had invaded Greece. The battle took place in 490 BC and ended with the defeat of Persians. This event was decisive for the further development of Greece and determined to a great extent the course of European civilization. A mound (Tumulus) was raised over the common grave of the 192 Athenians who fell in the battle and whose remains were buried after cremation of the dead.
The Marathon plain acquired symbolic significance for the Greek as well as for the world cultural heritage.
When the Ministry of Culture asked us to create an archaeological park on the site in an area of 8,5 acres, we tried to create a landscape that would not be simply graphical but treat the Tumulus and its environs on the basis of symbolism and meaning of the historic site.
The design emerged from the topography and specific features of the flat ground with the conical form of the Tumulus repeating the maternal shape of the mountain.
Our intervention is discreet so that its character is preserved. We divide the treeless part in zones parallel to the seashore. The difference between every two adjacent zones is only 20 cm high following the slight slope towards the sea.
Each zone is planted in the form of a grid of different spacing, the plants also differing from zone to zone. Their tops will finally be equalized throughout the zones so that they all reach the same horizontal plane. The effect being produced by this strong horizontality refers to the marsh covering the ancient battle site and stresses the presence of the monument.
The continuously swirling plasticity of the undulating zones and their ever changing colours create a natural scenography. The Tumulus emerges from the organized natural texture even more emphatically. The undulating pathway around the monument followed by visitors looks like a crack on the ground.
The old olive trees are left untouched so that human history is allowed to coexist with natural history.
A flowering border of native shrubs will create a green zone protecting the calmness of the site from the noisy surroundings.
Small auxiliary buildings will be erected behind linear planting in such a way as to virtually be invisible.
Design took place in 2003 and construction was partly completed in June 2004.