Since it almost went broke in 2010, Greece has suffered horrific job losses, soaring long-term unemployment, across-the-board income cuts and over-taxation, despite a constant deterioration in state-provided health, education and welfare services.
The country is now dotted with the hulks of formerly flourishing factories that for decades churned out wealth for their owners and provided a sure if modest livelihood for multitudes of workers. While many predate the country’s financial crisis, the past five years have accelerated the pace of de-industrialization.
Beyond the derelict factories with their cracked concrete platforms and smashed windows, there’s the old Athens airport complex, abandoned since 2001, and former farmland in the southern Peloponnese region.
Some of the plants are guarded by former staff, others padlocked or open to anyone prepared to dirty a pair of trousers. Inside are the relics of their former activity: Piles of wine bottles, stacks of crockery, idle machinery. Scattered among them are the imprints of the people who worked there — rotting boots and gloves, personnel files, dust-infused jackets left hanging on nails and never reclaimed.
Here’s a gallery of photos by Associated Press staff photographer Petros Giannakouris showing some of Greece’s abandoned places.