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Athens Acropolis Museum Opening On Saturday

Photo: Christos Vittoratos

Finally, the new Acropolis Museum in Athens is opening. This Saturday, 20 June is the official opening and dignitaries from all over the world will be present. The museum is located at the bottom of the Acropolis hill, which has the Parthenon on top. Designed by Bernard Tschumi and Michael Photiadis, it has a total area of 25,000 sq. meters, with exhibition space of over 14,000 sq. meters, ten times more than that of the old museum on the Hill of the Acropolis.

The opening of the new museum brings back into focus the issue of the Parthenon Marbles, called by some the Elgin Marbles after Lord Elgin who stole them from the Parthenon in the early 19th century and then sold them to the British Museum because he needed the money.

One of the arguments the British Museum used to put forward for not returning the Marbles to Greece was that there wasn't a suitable place for them to be displayed in Athens. Perhaps there was some validity to this argument before, but now there is none. From what I have seen so far, it is a wonderful new museum and would be a more than fitting setting for the Parthenon Marbles. However, the British Museum do not see it that way. They allegedly offered to 'lend' the Marbles to the Athens Museum for a few months, if Greece renounced its claims to ownership!

Now this controversy has been going on for many years, but I have a feeling that the British Museum are now fighting a losing battle. To put it simply, if you buy stolen goods from somebody and then the original owner asks for them back, what right do you have to say 'No. They're ours' ?

Back to the Museum. If you want to find out more, you can visit the site www.theacropolismuseum.gr. You can even watch the opening live on Saturday via their website. For those of you who are going to be in Athens this year, the entrance tickets until the end of the year will cost ony 1 Euro. Fantastic value!

Photo: Fusslkop

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