Exhibition for protection of environment, culture

An open-air exhibition of photographs at the foot of the Acropolis illustrating and promoting three decades of activity by the Hellenic Society for the Protection of the Environment and Cultural Heritage has been attracting crowds of Athenians and tourists since it opened last week and is to continue until July 14. The exhibition, organized by the society in association with the firm responsible for the Unification of Archaeological Sites in Athens (EAXA) and sponsored by the Levendis Foundation, was inaugurated at the Dionysiou Areopagitou pedestrianized area on June 26 by Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni, who praised the society’s contribution over the past 30 years to Greece’s natural and historical heritage. Bakoyianni also appealed for the society’s support in preserving various Athens landmarks including the National Gardens. But the society’s work is hardly restricted to the capital alone. It has succeeded in preserving locations of architectural and natural significance such as Delphi, Arachova and Pylos, and is now campaigning for the protection of Hydra, the southern Saronic Gulf islands and the historic site at Marathon from encroaching commercialism. Mount Athos, the Ossios Loukas Monastery and other traditional settlements have also benefited from the society’s work. But much more needs to be done to sensitize the public to the threats faced by Greece’s cultural and natural treasures and to inform them about the significance of the society’s work, its president, Costas Carras, told Bakoyianni and other listeners at the exhibition’s inauguration last Tuesday. Carras stressed that although Greece may have achieved a better standard of living over recent years, it has done so at the cost of the environment. As part of the society’s campaign to awaken public awareness and instigate nationwide debate on matters of environmental and cultural heritage, the exhibition is scheduled to move to Xanthi, Thessaloniki and Veria over August and September, Carras told participants at the launch, which included Swedish and Belgian ambassadors Marten Grunditz and Claude Rijmenans – both staunch supporters of the society’s work. The exhibition is accompanied by a rich and varied program, including musical performances and activities for children (including educational programs and a treasure hunt for 7-13-year-olds). State archaeologists are on hand on Saturday and Sunday mornings to guide visitors to the exhibition around the ancient site of the Acropolis. English translations of the exhibition’s content are available for visitors on request. The exhibition is open daily from 10 a.m. – 12 and from 7-11 p.m. until July 14. For more details call: 210.322.5245 or 210.322.6693.

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