CULTURE

A new museum for Nikopolis

Following numerous adventures, hurdles, general indifference, yet just in time before the 3rd Community Support Framework expires, the Ministry of Culture is making progress in the issue of the new Archaeological Museum of Nikopolis. Plans to build the museum began in 1996 with funding allocated under the 2nd Community Support Framework. The construction of the 2,150 square meter building took place in the period 1999-2000. One year later, the project was more or less abandoned by the construction company. The building was finally delivered two years ago, following a number of supplementary construction and electrical works. The newly-established Arta and Preveza Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities has plenty on its plate. To begin with, limited state funding to cover the needs of the area’s landmark monuments. In other words, there has been no planning for Nikopolis, the emblematic Roman city founded to commemorate the triumph of Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus (Augustus) over the fleet of Antony and Cleopatra. Essentially, the Central Archaeological Council (KAS) approved a study for a museum space which has no visual contact with the archaeological site – they are two kilometers apart. At the new museum, the exhibition space is just 400 square meters, with the possibility of expansion, according to ephorate director George Riginos. Situated in northern Preveza, the new building comprises two exhibition halls, as well as administration offices, labs, reception areas and warehouse space. It was built to replace the existing 1960s museum situated within the archaeological site. Nikopolis was built by Augustus, the first Roman emperor, following his victory against Mark Antony and Cleopatra in the naval battle of Actium in 31 BC – a pivotal moment in the history of the ancient world. The city became a symbol of that victory, but also of a new era of peace and prosperity, Pax Romana, which was used as a means of political propaganda. Displays The new museum aims to create links with the existing monuments, showcasing the city’s development through history as well as its location between two empires and two capitals, Rome and Istanbul. In the first hall, findings showcase the birth and development of grandiose Roman and Early Christian Nikopolis, along with part of the Nike (Victory) monument, erected by Augustus. In the second hall, the artifacts focus on the city’s daily life. A number of museum antiquities do not belong to any particular section. Their identity was lost during World War II bombings, at a time when the Preveza Archaeological Museum was housed in the city’s grand mosque. These antiquities will be presented in an open space with Roman and Early Christian graves just below.