Sacred rock to survive showers

The foundations of Athens’s ancient Parthenon are not under threat from water seeping into its rock base, Deputy Culture Minister Petros Tatoulis said yesterday. He was responding to a warning issued on Wednesday by Manolis Korres – a key figure in the Parthenon’s restoration project – that rainwater is seeping through a temporary floor installed inside the monument for restoration work and could eventually weaken its foundations. (Korres’s comments followed several days of heavy rain in the capital.) But Tatoulis countered that restoration experts had tested the Parthenon’s potential for erosion or subsidence in the early 1980s and concluded that its foundations were able to withstand the ravages of the environment. «There is absolutely no danger at this time,» the minister said. Also yesterday, Tatoulis toured the site of the new Acropolis Museum with representatives from 12 countries who are backing Greece’s bid for the return of the Parthenon Marbles, currently housed in the British Museum in London. The campaigners also met Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, who also serves as culture minister, and President Karolos Papoulias. «It is not an easy battle… But I believe that international moral order will prevail and the day will come when we will all celebrate the Marbles’ return,» Papoulias told the campaigners.

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