NEWS

Action on Acropole Palace

The now-refurbished Acropole Palace will soon house Culture Ministry services, giving the strategically located building on Patission Street new purpose after a spell of disuse. The Acropole Palace, a hotel which sits opposite the National Archaeological Museum and close to the ministry’s headquarters, was built between the wars by architect Sotiris I. Magiasis (1894-1966) and has belonged to the ministry since 1999. It will now serve many needs, including offering accommodation for distinguished guests of the ministry. On the ground floor will be the Archaeological Receipts Funds sales outlet and a cafe. The second floor, with its high ceilings and the chandeliers that are the sole relics of the hotel’s heyday, will be a main hall used for events. The first five floors will be for purely administrative purposes, «for cultural organizations supervised by the ministry,» said the ministry’s general secretary Christos Zahopoulos. The consolidation of these services in one building is expected to save money, he said. The sixth floor will be divided into two areas: a restaurant and a performing hall. On the seventh floor, with the hostel, there will be a reception room for the culture minister. Efforts are being made to get Community Support Framework funding for the preliminary restoration study. But the hopes expressed by then-deputy culture minister Petros Tatoulis in September 2005 that the project would be completed in 2008 seem overly optimistic. Besides, there is a legal matter pending with Acropole Hotel Businesses (AEXE), a company owned by former PAOK football club president Giorgos Batatoudis. The company is claiming millions of euros from the Greek state in relation to a contract AEXE had to renovate the hotel. The Culture Ministry considers the matter closed, since the company was paid an amount corresponding to the purchase price of the building.