Agreement on the new Acropolis Museum

Shortly before the publication of the Council of State’s decision on the legality of the study for the new Acropolis Museum, the Ministry of Culture confirmed that the procedures were in the final stages before assigning the project to a contractor. At a meeting last week of the Central Archaeological Council (KAS), held to examine two studies about the location of supporting pillars and a reduction of their number, the entire council agreed that the Makriyiannis Estate was the ideal location for the new museum. Even the toughest-to-convince members of the council, like Professor Haralambos Bouras, agreed that the antiquities would suffer no damage. Vassilios Labrinoudakis claimed that this solution was by far the best and Dimitrios Constantios added that the Makriyiannis Estate is the most appropriate place. Although there has been disagreement in the past about the museum being located so close to the Acropolis rock, no objection was raised at this most recent meeting. «If we built an industrial shelter, it would look ugly,» claimed Bouras, while another member of the council added that even more supporting pillars would be needed were that to happen. The council seemed confident that there could be no better way to display the exhibits. According to the initial study, 55 supporting pillars would be needed for the museum alone, but these have now been reduced to 43. Another 12 will be needed for an extension to the roof in front of the museum, and the council decided at the last meeting on 13 more, the placement of which requires the movement of some of the antiquities. The antiquities concerned include parts and ceramic bits from Roman drains, part of a built-in window, part of the foundations of a wall and the eastern section of a Roman house among others, but their transfer will cause no damage to the excavation site on the whole. The section to be transferred will need to be once more filled in and new techniques will be used for the move, which include the use of organic fabric. According to Dimitris Pantermalis, president of the Organization for the Construction of the New Acropolis Museum, results so far have been more than satisfactory. He explained that the museum building has been moved two meters from the original plans, but that that was done in order to avoid any problems with the antiquities themselves. For Pantermalis, the main thing is that the excavation site is now more pleasant to walk through and looks much tidier. Visitors can already understand the antiquities they see, since important sections of the site are already presentable. He repeated his former reassurances that the use of glass will cause no damage from thermal energy, as tests have been carried out, and that there is no reason to worry about the choice of lights. Pantermalis explained that visitors, upon entering from Dionysiou Areopagitou Street, will have two choices, depending on how much time they have: a short visit will be available, starting from a suspended bridge, as well as a longer route, for those who can afford the time. Among the exhibits that visitors will be able to admire are a large arched building dating to the seventh century AD; another building of the same period that contains a bath; three houses from Early Christian times, one of which has a beautiful atrium; late Roman baths and a Byzantine water tank. Some of the movable artifacts found on the site will also be on display, like sculptures and vases dating from classical to Byzantine times.

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