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The Acropolis in Athens is one of the worlds most important architectural, historic and cultural treasures. Millions of tourists travel to Athen to visit the place every year.

Built on the Acropolis hill, the "Sacred Rock" of Athens, it dominates the city of Athen.

The 3 most important temples the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, and the Temple of Nike, dedicated to Athena Parthenos, Athena Polias, and Athena-Apteros Nike, were built during the period 450-330 B.C. Also the Propylaea, the entrance to the sacred area was constructed in that period.

For the last 30 years the temples has been surrounded by building stagings used for the conservation work. The heavy atmospheric pollution in Athens is today the largest threat to the temples.

During the middle age The Parthenon became Notre Dame of Athens. After the Turks took over Athens in 1456, it became a mosque, and the Erechtheion was used as a harem for the governor.

But the main structures survived until 1687 when the Venetians attacked the city and a bomb fell on the Parthenon and destroyed a large part of it. At last in the 19th century the British ambassador in Constantinople Lord Elgin, stole some of the most important sculptures and decorations and sold them to the British Museum, where they are still exhibited, as one of the most significant attractions.

Greece wants their cultural heritage back but the British Museum has consistently refused and even if British government officials support the return of the Marbles to Greece, they claim that Greece is not capable to care for them and display them in a proper way.

Since many years a new modern Acropolis museum has been planned in Athens close to the Parthenon. But they miss the parts from the British Museum. Professor Pandermalis, Committee for a New Acropolis Museum says:

  • "The way we will display the Marbles will be a permanent protest for their return," says Pandermalis. "People believe that these works of art [on the Acropolis] are important, but they don't know why. Most people know about their artistic quality, and we will show that through the use of light."

Links to articles and the discussions about the controversy:

BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Acropolis
The British Museum: Newsroom
Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities
The New Acropolis Museum
Acropolis Museum is Back on Track
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