Senior Culture Ministry officials have given the go-ahead for construction of Thessaloniki’s proposed new underground railway, which is expected to bring to light extensive remains of the 2,300-year old city’s past. The ministry announced yesterday that its Central Archaeological Council had approved the 1-billion-euro project late on Tuesday, expressing certainty that – as was the case with the Athens Metro – the project will lead to important archaeological discoveries. «It will be an immense archaeological undertaking, the biggest ever in Thessaloniki and one of the most important on a national level,» a ministry statement said, adding that some 20,000 square meters of the city’s surface will be excavated. Work on the 9.3-kilometer, 13-station metro line is expected to start next July, and is projected for completion in 2011. It will run from the new railway station, through the center of town – which stands on the site of ancient and mediaeval Thessaloniki – to Pylaia in the east.