NEWS

New Acropolis Museum set to open its doors

The New Acropolis Museum is set to officially open tonight during a ceremony attended by dignitaries from all over the world, but as the final preparations were being made yesterday, representatives of Greece’s two main parties argued over who should receive the kudos for bringing the long-awaited project to fruition. Roads around the museum will be closed from 6 p.m. and the Acropolis metro station will shut down at 6.15 p.m. to facilitate the arrival of VIPs that will include the Presidents of Cyprus, Bulgaria and the European Commission as well as seven prime ministers. The ceremony is due to begin at 8 p.m. when Greece will unveil its 130-million-euro museum, which will house about 4,000 artifacts, some of which will be going on public display for the first time. Even before its inauguration, the museum is proving a big hit with Greeks and foreigners alike, as some 9,000 tickets have already been booked online at www.theacropolismuseum.gr. However, as Greece prepared to host this global event, ruling New Democracy and main opposition PASOK argued over who was responsible for constructing the museum. The Socialists were apparently angered by a spot on state TV which indicated that the idea for the museum was provided by late conservative premier Constantine Karamanlis and had been seen through by his nephew and current Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis. PASOK felt that late Culture Minister Melina Mercouri, who in the 1980s spearheaded a campaign for the return of the Parthenon Marbles from Britain and promoted the idea of a new Acropolis Museum, should have been mentioned. «I am glad that Melina Mercouri’s universal dream has been realized after many years of effort,» said PASOK MP and former culture minister Evangelos Venizelos. «But I am sad that some people in Greece are trying to belittle or to politicize this major event.»