Acropolis to keep its braces

The most famous building on the Acropolis will still be partially obscured by scaffolding during the August Olympics, while half of another important temple on Greece’s top tourist attraction will be missing, officials admitted yesterday. During a visit yesterday to the ancient citadel, where a massive and painstaking conservation project is under way on the Parthenon, the Temple of Athena Nike and the Propylaea, Deputy Culture Minister Petros Tatoulis was given an outline of the time schedules involved. The previous government had pressed archaeologists and conservators to try to have the archaeological site free of metal scaffolding for the benefit of the wave of tourists expected in town during the Games. But yesterday, it was made clear that only the Propylaea – the monumental entrance to the citadel – will be uncluttered in the summer. The adjacent Temple of Athena Nike has been taken to pieces for conservation and restoration, and will only be half reassembled by August. And the most important of the three fifth-century BC monuments, the Parthenon, will still have its northern colonnade covered in scaffolding. But ongoing work on other sections is expected to be finished before the Olympics. And conservation of the sculptured frieze will be finished in the spring, although it is unclear if this will be displayed in the cramped Acropolis Museum. «A very important effort is being made here,» Tatoulis remarked. The deputy minister also assured journalists that the government is still in favor of a new Acropolis museum being built in Makryianni, at the foot of the citadel. Following a complaint lodged by Tatoulis while he was still an opposition MP, practically every official involved in the project faces prosecution for allowing antiquities on the plot to be razed.

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