Top museum won’t be ready

Much of Greece’s biggest museum, the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, will probably remain closed during the 2004 Olympics, as its renovation has been delayed by legal wrangling, officials admitted yesterday. Renovation of the 115-year-old building «runs a strong risk of not being completed on time,» the museum’s director, Nikolaos Kaltsas, told Agence France-Presse, blaming the delays on court appeals filed by a company that lost a public tender for the project. The two-story museum’s entire collection of vases, shut since the 1999 earthquake, will be «probably closed in August,» he added. The ground-floor showrooms are planned to be «gradually reopened from June on,» instead of all of them becoming accessible in May, as originally planned, Kaltsas said. The refurbishment has been trimmed down. Only three elevators will be installed, instead of the six planned, and the installation of a central air-conditioning system has been postponed. The museum was shut for renovations ahead of the Games in October 2002. (AFP, Kathimerini)

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