The only “real” park of the city...
Those of you that come from cities with huge parks, such as Berlin, Brussels, ect, may be laughing that we are so excited with this little green spot near the city center, but really, this is the only "real" park we have! In the sense that it is relatively quiet, isolated from the busy city life, with enough free space for kids and pets to play, and most importantly: it is the only park that was claimed and defined by the citizens!
Situated between Dimokratias Street and Eleftherias’ Square (Freedom Square), extending over the “stuffed” Venetian trench, the park was named after Mayor Minas Georgiadis who was executed by the Germans on the 3rd of June 1942. You will see his bust on the central pathway. Today the park is the perfect place to enjoy a coffee or drink during the warm summer days and nights and you can also shop local organic products directly from the producers three times a week. Plus, if you are lucky, you might find yourself in one of the cultural events and festivals that often take place in the park, especially during the summer.
The park that was “saved” by the citizens!
If you were in Heraklion a few years ago, Georgiadis Park was simply a "green passage" near the center for the locals. And then something changed. The small building in its center became a cafeteria, various festivals and events “sprouted” on its fertile ground, and the open organic market was established in the area around the cafeteria. The park was brought back to life and even acquired a "fan club" of people from different backgrounds and age groups who come here regularly to enjoy a cold beer or coffee, attend one of the free concerts or just relax laying on the grass. It was during the process of this park-revival when the “ambitious” plans of the Municipality to convert part of Georgiadis Park into an underground parking lot became known to the public. According to the study, almost 1/3 of the trees and plants were to be removed and whatever remained from the park was to be covered by “recreational” facilities of doubtful quality. Among others, the study referred to “a cage full of birds” and a playground featuring games such as “scooter”, “jet ski” and “sports car”! Not exactly what one would expect to find in the greenest corner of the center… All this led to the suspicion that the park would no longer be a free public space accessible to all.
In a city where free public spaces are not exactly found in abundance and the Municipality’s “allergy” to trees has been proven several times, the citizens reacted immediately. “Patrol” groups were formed to protect the park, signatures were collected and the issue received much publicity in social media and local press. As an effect, the plans of the Municipality were “frozen”. For the time being at least! As part of Georgiadis Park fan club, we can only wish that the only intervention on it will be extending it and making it greener!