Green light for ‘photo-realism’ at Cape Sounion monument

The Cape Sounion archaeological site is finally to be floodlit, thanks to a grant from the Public Power Corporation (PPC) and a private sponsor. The design and the lights are coming from Paris, donated by Alexandros Karakasis (of General Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Projects), and will be very discreet. According to antiquities ephor Vivi Vassilopoulou, the lighting is a «photo-realistic image» that is aimed at respecting both the monument and the environment. The ephorate had first raised the idea of lighting the Sounion temple in the late 1990s. Members of the Central Archaeological Council said this week that three issues had to be considered: lighting the entire hill, the fortification wall, and finally the brightness and colors of the lights, in order to highlight the plasticity of the monument. The designer followed the instructions given in the previous design, and another was also made for the protection of the ecosystem. Before the imagery is finalized, test runs will be held so that corrections can be made right up to the last minute. The aim is to light both the outline and the facade of the monument so that they are visible at night from both land and sea. Cables will be laid underground, at a shallow depth. The proposal provides for the lighting of the entire ring of the fortification, including the well-preserved sections of third-century BC walls, as well as the later ones. The rock marking Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon will also be floodlit. Although planned in view of the Olympics, it is by no means certain the project will be completed in time. Next goal «Apart from highlighting the monument itself, the lighting is also for another purpose, that of showing up the weak areas and to remind us of our obligations,» said Vassilopoulou. The Second Ephorate of Classical Antiquities has included the maintenance and buttressing of the wall (which in some places is ready to collapse) among its immediate plans. However, there are no funds available. Meanwhile, the ravages of time continue to wear away the stones and could put the entire monument at risk in the future, if the stones shift from their current position.