CULTURE

Following nine-year renovation Delphi Museum shows off changes

After nine years of expansion and renovation and just one week before the Olympic Games, the Museum of Delphi has finally opened its doors to the public. The new building, which is larger by an extra 1,450 square meters, gives an entirely different impression to that of the previous building, although in reality only one hall has actually been added to its exhibition space. The new arrangement has greatly favored the Iniochos, or Charioteer, the bronze statue which is one of the museum’s most popular exhibits and which is now situated in a spacious hall and enjoys new lighting. After its expansion (to a design by architect Alexandros Tobazis), the museum «had an improved facade and better interior arrangement within the building and a greater number of rooms made over to visitors’ facilities. But above all, it paved the way for the research and the future reorganization of the exhibition, with new directions,» said Rozina Kolonia, the museum’s director and head of the 10th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities. «We provide the visitor with a better image of the history of the Delphic temple,» said archaeologist Fotis Dassios. He explained that the different historical periods have been highlighted, visitors can now circulate more easily around the museum and the necessary infrastructure for people with disabilities is now in place. «We are trying to add a lighter note, for example, not to have only sculptures on display but also bronze, clay and other items.» For one thing, the introduction, on the foundation of the temple, which was rather undermined in previous displays, has been enhanced. There is also a new presentation of the entrance to the Ionian Archaic Treasury of the Siphnians and for the first time all the pediments of Apollo’s Archaic and Classical temple have been gathered in one hall. The Athenian Treasury now takes up two adjacent halls and contains decorative sculptures which had never been put on display so far. A new hall has been created to house the fifth-century votive offerings, which also tried to highlight exhibits that have never before been on display, according to Kolonia. Meanwhile, in the old hall that housed the Daochos monument statues, four statues are presented in a complete form for the first time, while the Omphalos stone has acquired a new place. Finally, the sculpted frieze of Roman general Aemilius Paulus’ monument is once more on display after 40 years, in the Late Hellenistic and Roman hall. The museum, which until recently was cramped, is now fully self-sufficient. The fourth most popular museum in Greece, it receives thousands of visitors every year, which is why it never entirely closed during the restoration works. With a 6-euro admission ticket, visitors can now enjoy the whole exhibition.