Athens museums race against the clock

Athens has unfortunately failed to grab the opportunity to show a completely new face to the thousands of visitors expected in the Greek capital this summer for the Olympic Games. Though it may have acquired a number of new roads and a few public spaces were given a quick brushup, few noteworthy architectural projects were carried out for the sake of the city itself over the Games’ preparation period. Unfortunately, as a city, Athens’s strongest card has been its museums, but the question is, will they be ready on time? In June, the Byzantine and Christian Museum will be taking its treasures out of storage and putting on an impressive new showing of its collection, while the new Museum of Islamic Art is expected to open its doors later that month, at the same time as the equally new National Sculpture Gallery. The top attraction of all Greek museums, the National Archaeological Museum, moreover, will only be partially operational in the summer, the new Acropolis Museum is highly unlikely to be even partly ready, and, last but not least, the issue of constructing the Goulandris Museum of Modern Art at Rigillis Park has come to a grinding halt. A walk around Athens’s museums, from Goudi to Patission and Kolonaki to Psyrri, reveals that while something is being done, a lot more remains if the city want to achieve its target as a capital of the arts.

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