The New Acropolis Museum

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There are times I wish I was in Greece and one of them is today. The reason is quite simple. It is the official unveiling of the new Acropolis museum.

The new Acropolis museum is a building designed by renown architect Bernard Tschumi. The concept was to build a museum where natural light can enter the building as much as possible. The extensive glass surfaces with the view of the Acropolis and the Parthenon also serve for the contextual unification of the exhibits with their natural environment.

Parallel to the opening of the new Acropolis museum, an old debate seems to be reheated. It is the return of the Parthenon marbles to Greece. The Parthenon mables, sometimes referred to as the “Elgin Marbles” are pieces of Parthenon’s east and west pediments and the metope, that were removed in 1801 by Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin, when Greece was under Ottoman occupation, and were transported in Britain. They were then purchased by the British government in 1816 and placed in the British Museum where they still stand.

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The Greek governments have instigated an international campaign to have the marbles returned to Greece for moral and artistic reasons. I will not describe the debate here into more detail, as you can read about it in several other sites (Wikipedia, International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures.

The fact however, remains. To be able to see those marbles in their full glory, you need to have a strong memory and travel 2392 kilometers between those two cities. I hope with the unveiling of the new museum the real reason for their return will resurface. In the new Acropolis museum, the marbles will be bathed by natural light – the same light praised by many writers and poets. It is an experience, that the dimly lit and grey – but nevertheless spacious – room in the British Museum is not able to offer.

Lambda.

P.S.: You may also watch two videos with the prepapation and transfer of the antiquities from the old museun (situated at the Acropolis hill) to the new one.

(First picture © The New Acropolis Museum website and second picture © Christos Vittoratos, source Wikipedia).

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