Greece in mourning

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Political leaders expressed their shock and grief on Wednesday in the wake of a bank torching in central Athens that left three bank employees dead.

News of the abhorrent attack found Parliament in session to debate the latest round of government-announced austerity measures – the reason unions were holding protests outside the House.

» President of the Hellenic Republic

Referring to the current financial situation and the frustration many people are feeling with the political system, President Karolos Papoulias stated the following:
“Our country has reached the edge of the abyss. It is everybody’s responsibility that we do not take the fatal step. Responsibility is proven through action, not in words. History will judge us all.”

» Prime Minister

Prime Minister George Papandreou rebuked a murderous attack, while promising that “the perpetrators will be located and will stand trial.” Moreover, the premier called on all Parliament-represented parties to unequivocally condemn the violence.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we are a free and democratic country. We fight, and have fought, for the right to live in a democratic Greece. And each citizen has a right to demonstrate.
But no one has the right to resort to violence, especially violence leading to the murder of fellow citizens. And we know that violence breeds violence. Protest is different from murder.”

» Opposition Leaders

Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras stressed that the country is going through “critical moments,” while expressing his grief for the innocent victims of fanaticism, and random violence.
The leaders of the remaining opposition parties – the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga, Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) parliamentary group Chief Alexis Tsipras and Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) leader George Karatzaferis – each condemned the violence and expressed their condolences to the victims’ families.

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Economist Joseph Stiglitz to visit Athens

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Economist and Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz is invited to participate at an open debate, titled “Discussion and debate with Joseph Stiglitz: in or out of the economic crisis?,” organized by the Economist and Hazlis & Rivas conferences, on February 2. 
Prime Minister George Papandreou will inaugurate the conference with an opening address, focusing on the government’s effort to fulfil the twin aim of monetary restructuring and growth.
Ministers, the leader of the opposition New Democracy party, Antonis Samaras as well as representatives of business associations will also participate at the conference.
Meanwhile, Stiglitz has contributed an article (January 25) in the ‘Comment is Free’ section of The Guardian, under the title “A principled Europe would not leave Greece to bleed,” urging Europe to show support for the honesty and integrity of Greece’s government and its efforts not only to bring the budget under control, but to increase transparency of the entire budgetary framework and to reduce corruption.

Reviving Athens 2004 Olympic Games Ceremonies

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Culture Minister Antonis Samaras will inaugurate tomorrow (July 8) an exhibition, titled “A Greek Festival-Athens 2004,” featuring the costumes and sets used in the opening and closing ceremony of the Athens Olympic Games at the National Gallery in Goudi. The exhibition, which first appeared in Beijing as part of the Cultural Olympiad, include the painted papier-mâché costumes, the signature paper boat, the rotating cube and some 47 traditional costumes from all areas of Greece.A special honorary celebration has been scheduled for the 8,000 volunteers who took part in the opening and closing ceremonies of the Games. The exhibition is organised by the General Secretariat for the Olympic Utilization and it will last until December 20, 2009. You Tube: Best of Athens 2004 Opening Ceremony & Olympic Closing Ceremony Athens 2004; Volunteers’ Website: www.volathens2004.gr (in Greek)

New Acropolis Museum Welcomed Internationally

Acrop Museum(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  The New Acropolis Museum received more than 90,000 visitors during the first seven days since its official inauguration on June 20, while visits to the new museum’s website exceeded 260,000 from 169 countries, from the Americas to Nepal and Mongolia, Culture Minister Antonis Samaras announced during a press conference, a week after the celebrations.  The cost of the inauguration events, which were attended by several foreign heads of state and government, was far less than the anticipated sum of €3 million. The minister emphasised that the authorities’ target to attract attention through the international media was successfully met. According to Secretary General of Information Panos Livadas, 440 journalists representing 167 media organisations from 36 countries covered the event, producing over 760 news pieces.  Greek News Agenda: Special Issue- The New Acropolis Museum

The Acropolis Museum Officially Inaugurated

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) The New Acropolis Museum was officially inaugurated on Saturday evening (20.6) during a ceremony that brought together Greek and foreign dignitaries, boosting hopes that the purpose-built museum’s opening will mark a “reverse countdown”  towards the reunification of the Parthenon Marbles.
“Today, the most important sculptures of the Parthenon can be viewed together. Some are missing. It is time to heal the wounds of the monument with the return of the marbles where they belong” said Hellenic Republic President Karolos Papoulias in his address at the opening ceremony. Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis stressed that the new museum “is the achievement of all Greeks, for the entire world to enjoy. It is the property of universal culture”.  On his part, Culture Minister Antonis Samaras expressed optimism that the [pieces] that are missing, those that were taken apart 207 years ago will return.

“Parthenon marbles were looted” he said “but this looting can be redeemed and repaired today. The Acropolis Museum is a moral force that attracts the marbles back to where they belong.”  Following the ceremony, the distinguished guests –amongst whom were EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura, the Presidents of Cyprus and Bulgaria, Demetris Christofias and Georgi Parvanov, several Prime Ministers and Culture Ministers- were given a tour around the museum by Prof. Dimitrios Pandermalis, president of the new state-of-the-art facility. World Media on Greece: www.minpress.gr; Google News: Greece’s Acropolis Museum Greek News Agenda: Special Issue – The Acropolis Museum

New Acropolis Museum: A Grand Opening

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  “After several adventures, obstructions and criticism, the new Acropolis Museum is ready: a symbol of modern Greece that pays homage to its ancestors, the duty of a nation to its cultural heritage…”  (Culture Minister Antonis Samaras as quoted in AFP on June 18) The new Acropolis Museum is set to make its grand entrance into the elite of international museums during its official grand opening ceremony tomorrow (June 20) with the arrival in Athens of state political leaders, prime ministers and international cultural personalities. The public may visit the museum from 21 to 23 June by booking through e-ticketing, limiting entry to 2,550 people in three daily zones over three days. Admission for the rest of 2009 will remain at €1, while in 2010 it will rise to €5. Kathimerini daily: Acropolis Museum reignites Marbles debate NY Times: A Home for the Marbles; New Statesman: Losing your marbles  Greek News Agenda: Special Issue – The Acropolis Museum; Google News: Greece’s Acropolis Museum to open

The New Acropolis Museum

Making it as good as new…

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Three days remain until the grand opening of the new Acropolis Museum, on June 20. Both the Museum’s organisation team and the Ministry of Culture are working closely to put the final touches on the surrounding area and of course, the Museum itself. The Acropolis Museum Website: www.theacropolismuseum.gr
• THE OPENING: June 20, a night to remember….
Fulfilling the core philosophy the ancient monument represents, the official inaugural event will not indulge in excessive or ostentatious displays, but will become a moderate festivity with artistic infusions. The guest list is long and comprises heads of state and government, royalties, top level officials, eminent academics and presidents of other museums. New technologies will be used to showcase the antiquities, acting as the “artistic event” of the evening. A dinner on the museum’s terrace will close the event and a cruise of the Saronic Gulf has been organized for the day after the inauguration ceremony for the heads of state and government attending. Tune online and watch the opening ceremony on June 20th. New Acropolis Museum Organising Committee: Preparing the museum

• THE MUSEUM
♦ A Museum of Sculpture and Light….

The New Acropolis Museum is a purpose built museum by architects Bernard Tschumi and Michalis Fotiades to house the archaeological findings related to the Acropolis Hill. It is located at the foot of the Acropolis (300 metres -980 feet-southeast of the Parthenon) and the total cost of the museum was €130 million.  The first Acropolis Museum was completed in 1874. Successive excavations on the Acropolis have uncovered many new artifacts which needed additional space for their housing. The initiative for a new museum coincided with Greece’s campaign over the return of the Elgin Marbles. Greece claims that the new museum offers both a technically and historically unparalleled shelter for the Acropolis’ treasures. Quoting the architect, “the museum appears effortless and almost undesigned.” The goal of the orchestrated simplicity is to focus the viewer’s emotion and intellect on the extraordinary works of art. Thus, the extensive use of glass in the Museum. The design allows for the free flow of natural lights into the museum spaces through 50 skylights, while the Parthenon gallery is flooded by light.
♦ Digital Parthenon
The museum’s crown jewel is the Parthenon gallery, where the entire frieze is exhibited in the same order and with the same directional orientation as when it adorned the monument. Visual contact from the gallery to the monument was set as a prerequisite and as a result, the visitor can now relish a breathtaking view of the Acropolis, the surrounding historic hills and contemporary Athens. Speaking to the Financial Times (June 4), the President of the museum, professor of archaeology Dimitris Pandermalis said that the “arrangement and labelling of sculptures, from the freize of the Parthenon to the dozens of free-standing pieces is designed so that people can wander around, stop and look, feel they are engaging directly with the antiquities.” Culture Minister Antonis Samaras stressed the importance of digital technology. “It has a big role to play in explaining not just the ancient world but modern Greek history. We would like to have visitor centres at the main sites that would use virtual reality to recreate scenes from daily life as well as the big battles,” he said. Ministry of Culture: www.parthenonfrieze.gr &  Play with the Frieze Acropolis Restoration Service: Let’s Go to the Acropolis! – Kits
A Symbolic Entrance Fee
Samaras announced that entrance to the museum will cost €1 for the first six months. 2,200 tickets will be on sale online (e-ticketing) for the first three days, while about 2,5 million visitors are expected every year.  The Acropolis Museum was recently selected as the main motif for a high-value euro collectors coins: the Greek Acropolis Museum commemorative coin, minted in 2008.  This coin was issued to commemorate the re-opening of the museum. On the obverse, a panoramic view of the Acropolis can be seen; the museum resides in the base of it.
THE SIZE: The largest and finest one of all…
The words describe the famous sanctuary of ancient Athens, the Acropolis, as it so happened that the Acropolis of the fifth century BC was the most accurate reflection of the splendour, power and wealth of Athens at its greatest peak.  The New Acropolis Museum is 25,000 square metres with exhibition space of over 14,000 square metres- ten times more than that of the old museum.  The glass encased Parthenon Gallery is 7.5 metres high and has a floor space of over 3,200 square metres. It hosts approximately 4,000 artefacts.  The museum will offer all the amenities of an international museum of the 21st century.

THE TECHNOLOGY: The Old Masters; how well they understood

Just as the ancient masterpiece prevailed upon its contemporary monuments worldwide in craftsmanship and technology, the New Acropolis Museum is also designed and constructed based on environmental friendly and functional novel techniques, becoming that as well a monument of dexterity and grace.  In particular, the Museum’s novelties focus on a shell of glass covering the Parthenon gallery which allows natural light, while protecting contents from radiation and maintaining a normal temperature.  The floors of glass – 5 centimetres thick – are designed to provide the visitor with a view to the 2.5 acre area of underground excavations. The special soundproofing materials and the anti- seismic construction standing on 92 pillars are designed to endure a quake measuring up to 10 on the Richter scale.

ACROPOLIS: The lance of Athena’s statue was visible from miles away…

At the entrance of the Acropolis once stood an immense statue sculptured by Phidias, that of goddess Athena fighting in the frontline (Athena Promachos).  The colossal bronze statue is lost, but according to descriptions it was so large that ships approaching the coast of Attica could see Athena’s lance.  For the first time after 200 years of archaeological excavations at the on the rock of the Acropolis, all the significant findings will be displayed together in the one museum, telling the complete story of the Athenian Acropolis and its foothills.  Rich collections dating from prehistoric times through to the Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic and Roman periods and up to late antiquity (700 AD) will provide visitors with a comprehensive picture of the centuries-old human presence on the sacred site.  The sculptural decoration of the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, and the Temple of Athena Nike, (the four major monuments built on the Acropolis under Pericles), together with the Propylaea (entrance, the gates) comprise some of the most important Classical architectural sculptures.  Among these, the Parthenon frieze with the splendid portrayal of the Panathenaic procession, the metopes and the pediments, the famous Erechtheion caryatids and others.  Ministry of Culture: The Archaeological site of the Acropolis of Athens & The Acropolis Restoration Project National Geographic Channel: The secrets of the Parthenon VIDEO

WORLD MEDIA ON THE MUSEUM

The New Acropolis Museum has been in the spotlight of the foreign media for years. The media report on the museum making references to the historic resonance of the event, the artistic superiority of the museum’s building, as well as to the problems which emerged during its construction.  The Press also emphasises the international campaign over the repatriation of the Parthenon marbles showcased in the British Museum and Melina Mercouri’s personal contribution to the cause of the marbles’ reunification.

PROMOTION AROUND THE GLOBE

The new museum has helped revive the interest in Greece’s classical heritage.  The achievement of creating a new home for something which is considered part of Greece’s supreme legacy has sparked a series of cultural events almost in every continent.  From the United States to China, and from Athens to Helsinki foreign audiences have been offered a vivid, detailed and comprehensive presentation of both the Acropolis treasures and the new museum.  Secretariat General of Information: Press Center for the inauguration of the New Acropolis Museum & The Acropolis Museum: Press Kit

PARTHENON MARBLES: THE INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN
“In the name of the world’s cultural heritage…”

The movement to reunify the Parthenon Marbles, which are situated at the moment in the British Museum, has been gathering remarkable support worldwide over the years and especially during the last months. In fact, in view of the New Acropolis Museum’s opening, Greece’s claim for the restitution of the Marbles has grown all the stronger. Parthenon international“- an association of various national committees from different countries, the “American Friends of the New Acropolis Museumorganisation or the British campaign group “Marbles Reunited” are part of the international campaign sharing the same vision of the marbles’ return. On June 15, Parthenon International sent a letter to both the British Museum and the British Government, communicating their view on the matter.
Melina Mercouri: “Culture is Greece’s heavy industry”

Internationally renowned Melina Merkouri (1920-1994) was a towering figure of Greece’s cultural life of the 20th century. Daughter of an MP and grandchild of Spyridon Mercouris, a former mayor of Athens, the actress, singer and politician Melina Mercouri was an ardent supporter of the Parthenon’s Marble repatriation. As minister of Culture, Mercouri openly claimed the Parthenon Marbles and devote herself to it. Together with her husband Jules Dassin president of the Melina Mercouri Foundation until his passing away (2008), Melina Mercouri led a successful campaign, a fruit of which could be considered the New Acropolis Museum.  Melina Mercouri Foundation: www.melinamercourifoundation.org.gr You Tube: Melina Mercouri describes the Parthenon Marbles [Footage screened on the Greek television programme  “Erevna”  (=Research)]