Two awards for two dedicated women

22 June 2017, the Hellenic National Commission for UNESCO, held an event entitled "Protection of Cultural Goods from illegal trafficking and armed conflicts through the conventions of UNESCO: An assessment of the Greek presence and contribution". The event was held in the Auditorium of the Acropolis Museum and opened by the Deputy Foreign Minister, Mr. Ioannis Amanatidis and the Minister of Culture and Sport.
Speeches were made by the President of the Board of the Acropolis Museum, Mr Dimitrios Pantermalis, President of the Greek National Committee for UNESCO, Mrs. Catherine Tzitzikosta and the Deputy Director-General of UNESCO for culture, Mr Francesco Bandarin. After these speeches, the Deputy Director-General of UNESCO for culture, Mr Francesco Bandarin and Deputy Foreign Minister, Mr. Ioannis Amanatidis awarded two ladies. The first Dr. Maria Andreadaki-Vlazaki, General Secretary of the Ministry of Culture and Sport, for her significant contribution during her Chairpersonship to the 1970 Convention on the prevention and Preventing the illicit import, export and transfer of ownership of cultural property and Dr. Artemis Papathanassiou also for her significant contribution during her Chairpersonship to the 1954 Hague Convention for the protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflict and the second Protocol of 1999.

Maria and Artemis

From left to right:Dr Maria Vlazaki, General Secretary of the Ministry of Culture and Sport withDeputy Director-General of UNESCO for culture, Francesco Bandarin and Dr. Artemis Papathanassiou, Legal Advisor at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Greece and Chairperson 2nd Protocol to the 1954 Hague Convention, member of the Hellenic Committee for the Reunification of the Parrthenon Sculptures.

Eight years and over eleven million visitors

On Tuesday, 20 June 2017, the superlative Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece will celebrate 8 years since it was first opened to the public in 2009.

Over eleven million Greek and international visitors have visited the Acropolis Museum since 20 June 2009.

Members, including the founder of the British Committee Eleni Cubitt, were present for the opening in June 2009 and have since travelled back to visit again and again.

8th

"The Acropolis Museum and its exhibits are special. We wish to congratulate Professor Pandermalis and the entire team at the museum for all of their passionate dedication to providing a memorable experience for over 11 million visitors to date.

11 million visitors and the 8th anniversary

All the members of the BCRPM have enjoyed memorable personal visits over these 8 years, as well as attending conferences to speak on the cause that is at the heart of our campaigning - the reunification of the Parthenon Marbles" commented Vice-Chair Professor Paul Cartledge.  

On Tuesday, 20 June 2017, the museum will hold a special video presentation showing the Acropolis caves and the findings unearthed on the Acropolis.

At midday there will be a press conference and at 9 pm the Orchestra of the Centreof Arts & Culture of Dion will perform renowned Greek songs in the courtyard of the Museum's entrance. Soloists Vassilis Lekkas, Alexandra Gravas, Babis Velissarios and Filio Servou will participate, and the concert will be conducted by Nikos Patris.

The museum's exhibition areas and the restaurant will be open from early in the morning until midnight. Admission will be free from 8 pm onwards.

 

 

 

The Sculptures of the Parthenon deserve to be seen in the Attica light

According to the British Committee, the sculptures from the Parthenon deserve to be seen in the Attica light, reports Athanasios Gavos

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Keeping the issue of the reunification of the Parthenon marbles on the agenda of public debate in Britain is no simple task. This difficult task has been kept alive successfully for 33 years by the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon marbles. Dame Janet Suzman, the BCRPM's Chairperson notes that the sculptures are yearning for the Attica light.

Since its formation, BCRPM has welcomed British members from the fields of literature, art and politics. "We are a particular and enlightened project. We participate in literary festivals, organize special events and opinion polls, but we also support international initiatives formally and informally. Above all, we support the efforts of the Greek authorities, both of the Government and academic institutions", explains Vice-Chairman Professor Paul Cartledge.

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"The British Museum could become a truly moral, world Museum of the 21st century, recognizing that Athens, having built a home for the Parthenon sculptures, is worthy of exhibiting the surviving fragmented pieces in the Acropolis Museum" comments Dame Janet Suzman. She strongly feels the sculptures should be seen in the context for which they were intended, namely as the pinnacle of glory of the Parthenon, which still stands, just a glance away from the windows of the Parthenon Gallery in the new Museum.

The debate of the sculptures and the option to pursue a legal route for their return to Athens recently returned to prominence after the proposal made by well-known lawyer Geoffrey Robertson for the request to be made prior to the Brexit negotiations for a possible exchange of concessions between Britain and Europe.

"We see no value in unilateral demands such as those proposed by Mr. Robertson," answered the Vice-Chairman of the Committee Paul Cartledge. "This legalistic approach to the reunification of the marbles was looked into by the Greek Government and was rejected."

Janet Suzman

Dame Suzman adds that the presence of sculptures in London sends the wrong message. "What lessons are we giving to young people visiting the British Museum on a school trip?  That it is OK to take something that doesn't belong to you? It's OK to cause damage to the sculpture and building they belonged to and then go on to keep them for over 200 years as an inspiration for Western art and that this can only be done in the British Museum?" 

"Modern Athens also has millions of visitors from around the world and these incomparably pieces seek to exposed with views to the Parthenon, beneath the blue attic sky and not in a gloomy gallery of Bloomsbury", concludes Dame Suzman.

However, there is always optimism. In response to the question what would the reunification of the marbles in Athens mean, Professor Cartledge effortlessly replies with one word "Bliss!" And "for the Greeks it would correct a 200 year old error, and for mankind the chance to finally see all the surviving Parthenon marbles together in a specially built Acropolis Museum - in view of the building they once belonged to, the Parthenon."

"For the rest of the world and especially for visitors to the British Museum, there would be the opportunity to see ancient Greek artefacts that have not travelled outside of their country of origin. For academics this would be the opportunity to study all of the remaining original sculptures in a single space."

Dame Janet Suzman stresses the moral issue, which lies at the core of the Greek argument's favour of the reunification of the Marbles: "an adopted child is allowed by law to search for its biological parents once it becomes of age. Surely 200 years of separation is long enough for these 'adopted objects' to at last be reunited with the rest of their family."

 

19 April 2017

The original article can be viewed here. We apologise for any misinterpretations to the translation of the original article, which is written in Greek.

Melina's campaign for the return of the Parthenon marbles to be aired at the Acropolis Museum on Monday 06 March

melinaIt was 35 years ago that Melina Mercouri started the campaign for the return of the Parthenon marbles, currently displayed mainly between the Acropolis Museum in Athens and the British Museum in London.

For those that were caught up in Melina's enthusiasm and passion, it is tragic that she did not live long enough to see the Acropolis Museum or experience the views inside the superlative Parthenon Gallery and marvel at the views looking out to the Parthenon itself.

Her great contribution to raise global awareness for the reunification of the sculptures from the Parthenon is remembered time and tine again. Her passion inspired many more campaigners, not least BCRPM's founder James and Eleni Cubitt and current Chairperson Dame Janet Suzman.

To hear Dame Janet Suzman speaking about Melina's passionate appeal for the marbles, here is a link to an ERT1 programme that was first aired in October last year and presented by Labis Tsirigotakis.

The Acropolis Museum has produced a video about the removal of the sculptures from the Parthenon by Lord Elgin and Melina Mercouri's international campaign, with material from the Melina Mercouri Foundation.

The 23-minute video will be shown at the auditorium on the ground floor of the Museum on Monday 06 March 2017, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

On this day, entry will be free for visitors to both the auditorium and the Museum exhibition areas. The Museum will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 

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Portrait of Emperor Hadrian in the Acropolis Museu up to, the 31th of March 2017

The Acropolis Museum honors the anniversary of the 1900 years since the ascent to the throne of Emperor Hadrian, a friend and benefactor of Athens, with the presentation of an exquisite portrait of the Emperor found in Syngrou Avenue, and an interesting video, produced by the Museum, which showcases the Emperor's immense building programme for the city of Athens in the 2nd century AD. Hadrian's work signifies the revival of Greek Letters and Science during the time of the Roman Empire.


This presentation will be on display at the Museum ground floor from 15 January up to 31 March 2017, daily during Museum opening times, with free admission to allvisitors.

 

ACROPOLIS MUSEUM

A presentation of the building program of the Emperor Hadrian in Athens in the 2nd century AD in the Acropolis Museum.

Free access and during  the Acropolis Museum's opening hours

Fom 15.1.2017 – 31.3.2017

 

1. The year 2017 sees the 1900 year anniversary of the ascent to the throne of Hadrian, an admirer and benefactor of Athens. The Acropolis Museum pays tribute to the immense program of the Emperor who renewed and expanded the urban planning of Athens, and signaled the revival of Greek Letters and Science during the time of the Roman Empire.

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2. Above the ancient road leading from the Acropolis to the Olympieion, a two-story gate was erected, marking the boundary between the old city of Athens (the city of Theseus) and the new city (the city of Hadrian). The Athenian Neapolis stretches under the Zappeion and the National Garden. To date archaeological excavations to the site have located luxurious mansions, baths and a gymnasium.

athens hadrian arch

 

3. In 131/2 AD, in a magnificent ceremony, Hadrian inaugurated the temple of the god in the ancient Sanctuary of Olympian Zeus, for which construction had begun in the 6th century BC but was concluded with the generous donation of the Emperor. The gigantic temple of the Corinthian order across from the Acropolis was twice the size of the Parthenon and its interior housed the chryselephantine statue of Zeus.

Athens Hadrian

4. The temple covered a surface of approximately 5,000 sq m and was symmetrically positioned in a rectangular enclosure with a perimeter of 673 m. Along the precinct hundreds of bronze statues of the Emperor were erected, dedicated to him by the Greek cities. Behind the west side of the temple, a colossal statue of the Emperor facing the Acropolis and visible from a great distance was dedicated by the city of Athens

5. In 131/2 AD Hadrian gathered the Greek cities to participate in a permanent “Conference of Panhellenes” to be based in Athens. The aim of this Pan-Hellenic program was to revive classical Greece and reinforce the prestige of the Eleusinian Mysteries. The Emperor himself was worshiped as Panhellenios.

6. A very important building constructed by Hadrian in Athens was the Pantheon (θεοῖςτοῖς  πᾶσιν  ἱερόνκοινόν) where records of all the sacred  buildings, the dedications, and the Emperor’s donations to the Greek but also the barbaric cities, were engraved. The impressive remains of a three-aisle temple on Adrianou Street in Plaka havebeen identified as the Pantheon.

7. In the heart of Athens, between the Agora and the Acropolis Hadrian built, in an area of 10,000 sq m, the renowned complex of the Library that contained -in addition to the three stories housing books - reading rooms, teaching rooms, porticoes for philosophical walks, gardens and a pond for recreation. The Emperor’s goal was to create a place of academic study worthy of the reputation of Ancient Athens in Letters and Science.

Hadrians Athens

8. Hadrian tackled the issue of water supply to the new city of Athens by constructing an aqueduct 18 km in length,which transported water from the springs of Parnitha to the Lycabettus. A water cistern with a capacity of 500 cubic meters and embellished with a facade of 4 ionic columns was built there. The inscription etched on the epistyle is located today in the National Garden.

hadrian arch

9. Hadrian had a special regard for the Eleusinian Mysteries in which he himself was initiated on his first visit in 124 AD. In order to facilitate the course of the Sacred Procession to the Sanctuary he built a monumental bridge over the Eleusinian Kephisos River, which often flooded. The bridge was 50 m in length, 5.30 m in width and was supported by 4 arches. It is one of the few bridges that is still preserved.

Eleusinian Mysteries

10. In the courtyard of the sanctuary of Eleusina two monumental gates were erected by the Panhellenes: one at the end of the road coming from the Peloponnese and the other at the end of the road coming from the port of Eleusina. Both were exact replicas of the gate of Hadrian in Athens. The inscriptions, engraved in large letters on both sides, informed visitors that the gates were erected in honour of the two goddesses of Eleusina and the Emperor, referring to the Olympian Emperor Hadrian.

Eleusinian Mysteries courtyard

11. Hadrian is the first Emperor depicted with a philosopher’s beard. His eyes are averted from life on earth and he gazes to the sky. The oak wreath crowning his head bears the emblem of Zeus, the eagle. This “political wreath” characterizes the Emperor as the savior of citizens.

It was found on Syggrou Avenue in 1933, is safeguarded in the National Archaeological Museum and can be dated to 130-140 AD.

Production: The Acropolis Museum

Texts: Dimitris Pandermalis

Image and editing: Kostas Arvanitakis

Translation: Lydia-Antonia Trakatellis