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A tour of the new Acropolis museum

January 23, 2010 |  2:15 pm


“The idea of a new Acropolis Museum started more than 30 years ago,” says the president of the institution, Dimitrios Pandermalis. “The first architectural competition was held in 1976. I got involved in 2000 and started the fourth competition. A major problem was the site. Should it be around the Acropolis or at a distance from it or hidden underground? Another difficulty is that the site around the Acropolis is full of antiquities.”

“It wasn’t easy to hope for a new museum,” he says. “But it was really necessary. The old museum on the hill was not appropriate for the finds. We have masterpieces, very precious pieces, and we did not have space to present them.”

War, earthquakes and ravages of time, weather and pollution have seriously damaged the historic structures on the Acropolis, including the Parthenon. Today, cranes and scaffolding are part of the landscape in an ongoing effort to stabilize and restore crumbling buildings.

But the new museum opened last fall is a showcase for classical Greek art — and, the Greeks say, the perfect place to display London's Elgin Marbles. For Suzanne Muchnic's report in the Arts & Books section, click here. 

Photo: statuary in the new Athens museum. Credit: Nikos Daniilidis/ New Acropolis Museum