Lavrio is the one of the two towns of Lavreotiki, a municipality on the southeastern side of the Attika prefecture. Lavrio, in spite of its small scale (about 10.000 habitants) has been one of the most important industrial centers in Greece during 19th century. The ancient Greeks started mining in the area before 3000 BC. The systematic and intensive exploitation of the silver and lead ores though, began with the birth of the Athenian Republic in 508 BC.
In 1864, Serpieri founds the Italian – French company “Hilarion Roux et Cie” at the “Ergastiriakia port” (port of Lavrio). The company undertakes the exploitation of the ancient slugs and the extraction of silver containing lead ores. It inaugurats a fully equipped plant in 1865, with 18 furnaces, small ore-washing units and a railway system. The company continues to expand fast. In 1867 already, it employed 1.200 workers, a record number compared to contemporary employment figures country-wide.
In 1869, there is a dispute between the company and the Hellenic State,the renowned “Lavreotika Affair”, over the ownership of the ancient mining dumps, known as off-grade ores. Negotiations result in the setting up of two companies in 1873: “The Lavrion Metallurgical Company” and the French-Hellenic company named “Mines of Kamariza”. Two years later, in 1875, J.B Serpieri founded the “Compagnie Francaise des Mines du Lavrium”, which succeeded the “Mines du Kamariza”. The new firm was settled at the Cyprianos area. Both the Hellenic and French companies have been the essential supporting factors of Lavrio area’s development in that new period of the industrialization of Greece.
The Lavrion Technological and Cultural Park
The National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) undertook the venture with much enthusiasm. By building upon local popular support and internal scientific initiative, the NTUA responded positively to the challenge at issue and elaborated a new model of technology-based regional socio-economic and cultural development, which was in accord with the needs created by the emerging global “knowledge economy” in which Greece and the Region of Attica are striving to find their place. By the summer of 1995 the administrative actions for the establishment of the park and the studies for the restoration of the plant complex had been completed. The relevant funding derived from both EU and national sources of funding raised at about 5.19 billion drachmas (15,23 million Euros). The program concerned the restoration – upgrade of 17 from the total of 42 buildings, built in the period 1876-1898, the construction of two new buildings, the tidying up of the environing space, so as the rehabilitation of a heavy polluted part of the grounds (10,000s.q.).
source and read more: http://www.ltp.ntua.gr/lavrion_park/history_en