June 7, 2009

The New Acropolis Museum is almost open

Posted at 9:36 pm in Elgin Marbles, New Acropolis Museum

After eight years of construction, The New Acropolis Museum is now only days away from opening.


All is set for the opening of the New Acropolis museum
05 June 2009 :: 01:07:14
Maria Spassova

A frenzy of preparations are taking place in Athens where in two weeks the new Acropolis museum is going to have its inauguration. There haven’t been so many VIPs visiting and so much media attention centered on the Greek capital since the Olympic games in 2004. The official opening ceremony will take place on June 20, Saturday, at 8:00 PM. 200 persons of highest standing, including representatives of the world political, cultural and academic elite, will be the guests of honor at the ceremony, directed by Atina Tsangari, a name we know from the Summer Olympics in 2004. The event will include cutting the ribbon, a tour around the museum and a cocktail, after which the officials will participate in a sea-row around the Saronic Gulf on a luxury private jet.

The celebrations will actually begin on June 17, when the international press-center will open within the new museum building. The same night, the first museum visitors will be the Greek journalists. On June 18, the museum will be visited by cultural organizations, sponsors, international archeological institutes’ representatives, as well as representatives of the Athenian academic circles. The world media will have the chance to cover the event on June 19, from 8:00 PM.

The official hosts of the celebrations are the president of the Organization for the creation of the new Acropolis museum, Dimitris Pandermalis, and the architect of the magnificent building- Bernard Tschumi. However, it is an open secret that the actual organizers are the Ministry of foreign affairs and the Ministry of culture, with the attempt to gather the world’s political and cultural elite in Athens. It is not yet clear who will represent USA. The secretary of state, Hilary Clinton, received an invitation, the chances however for her to come being quite low, since she will be attending an OSCE ministers of foreign affairs meeting on June 27. The vice-president, Joe Biden, was also invited but since he visited the Balkans 2 weeks ago, it is not likely that he will pay another visit that soon. Of course, invited is and President Barrack Obama.

Two kings will be arriving in Athens for the official opening- Juan Carlos of Spain and Carl Gustaf of Sweden. Two presidents have also confirmed their presence, president of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, and of Cyprus, Demetris Christofias. The celebrations will be attended by three prime-ministers as well- of France, Francois Fillon, of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and of Albania, Sali Berisha. Among the guests of honor will also be the foreign affairs ministers of Italy and Romania- Franco Frattini and Cristian Diaconescu. To represent Bulgaria was invited the prime-minister, Sergei Stanishev, who on account of the current pre-election campaign, declined the invitation. The chances for president Georgi Parvanov to substitute for him are assessed as minimal. Most likely, Great Britain will not send a representative in the view of the conflict with the Greek state regarding the marbles currently exposed in the British museum, for which Greece demands to be returned.

And here is where we reach the real purpose of the spectacular celebrations of the new Acropolis museum opening- lobbying in the highest possible political circles for the returning of the bas-reliefs that lord Elgin took away. This is why one of the organizers is “Melina Mercury” foundation, which has a leading role in the campaign for returning the marbles.

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