In 1923, over a million Greeks living in Turkey were expelled in the Great Population Exchange. Among these were over 800 refugee families from Attaleia and Alasia who settled in the Petralona district of Athens. The area they selected was formerly the Konstanellos Quarry, and the refugees used a variety of used and discarded building materials to turn the old quarry into a makeshift settlement. Many of the refugees found work at the nearby gaslight factory and their settlement soon became known as Attaliotika, or “Little Attaleia.”
During the Greek Civil War, significant damage was inflicted on the settlement and the nearby Greek Naval War School. From that point forward, refugees lived in even worse conditions until the early 1950s when Queen Frederica of Greece took note of the situation and created a “Royal Welfare Fund.” This fund was established to build 150 houses to replace the makeshift settlement. Her plan was to build these houses with the elaborate, dressed stones from the ruins of the Greek Naval War School.
Queen Fredericka’s fundraising efforts were successful, the stone houses were quickly built, refugees took up residence, and the area became known as “Stones of Frederika.” Over the decades, most of the refugees moved out of the area, however, several families from the original settlers remain as do many of the original stone houses.
The area is also referred to as “Ta Petrina,” which translates to “buildings made of stone.”
Know Before You Go
If you start at Kallisthenous 3 and proceed east, you will see several paths, alleys, and side streets that lead to the many stone houses still in the area. The residents are rightfully protective, so it is advised visitors stay on public property and not infringe on private property. While this part of Petralona is generally safe, some areas are not well lit after sunset therefore caution is advised while visiting after dark.