February 21, 2008

New Acropolis Museum opening date set

Posted at 1:44 pm in Elgin Marbles, New Acropolis Museum

One can’t help feeling a slight sense of deja-vu when hearing news of the imminent opening of the Acropolis Museum. It seems now though that a date has been set for the full opening of it. Something that removes once & for all the British Museum’s arguments that the Elgin Marbles are better displayed in Britain & that the Greeks have nowhere to put them if they were returned.

Agence France Presse

New Acropolis museum set for September opening: minister
19 hours ago

ATHENS (AFP) — A new ultra-modern Acropolis museum located below the ancient Athens landmark will open in September, the Greek culture minister said Wednesday.

“In one month, we are to finish moving all the pieces from the old museum,” Michalis Liapis said during a visit to the site. That will allow the museum to be inaugurated in September, he said.

Located on the Acropolis itself, the old museum has been closed to the public since October to allow for the transfer of iconic statues and other pieces to the new site, a process that experts say has been delicate and complex.

The new three-level museum, at 25,000 square metres (270,000 square feet), includes a room on the top floor with an area reserved for the Elgin, or Parthenon Marbles, which are currently located at the British Museum in London.

Greece has sought for several years to have the priceless friezes returned, and Liapis said the country would continue to work toward that “national objective.”

The British Museum in London has always refused to repatriate the friezes, removed in 1806 by Lord Elgin, British ambassador to the occupying Ottoman Empire of the time.

Designed by Franco-Swiss architect Bernard Tschumi, the museum hit numerous bureaucratic and technical snags before a construction contract was signed for nearly 129 million euros (189 million dollars).

It was originally due to be completed in time for the 2004 Olympics, hosted by Greece.

The Acropolis dates back to the golden age of Athenian democracy which began in the fifth century B.C. and is one of the world’s most visited sites.

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