The Best of GRReporter
flag_bg flag_gr flag_gb

The museum we are going to visit again and again

20 June 2009 / 20:06:25  GRReporter
3545 reads

Maria Spassova


Frankly, as most Athenian citizens, I have already gotten bored with the Acropolis. You go to see it once, in order to take the obligatory picture in front of the Parthenon, then you go again to show it to closest friends, and another time after that, when someone is visiting from abroad. Then you say “I’ve had enough. I will not go again.” Now I have to admit- the new Acropolis Museum completely alters the fading antique landscape in the center of the Greek capital.

I travel a lot and I enjoy visiting different museums, but one can rarely see such an elegant place as is Bernard Tschumi’s piece of art. Its architecture- minimalistic, plain and easy on the eyesbrings life into the slightly worn-out statues and bas-relief figures from the Acropolis. Such light is shed on them- practically and metaphorically, that makes them shimmer and regain their nature of masterpieces. An amazing harmony exists between the sharp modern lines of the building and the soft ovals of the exhibits, that is there to show the eternal values in art that for the last 5000 years have not changed. The significance is not in the shape but in its inspiration. And the new Acropolis museum was evidently created with great inspiration.

A day before the official opening the museum welcomes the 200 accredited journalists from abroad- press agencies from Moscow and London, televisions from Stockholm and Ankara, reporters from Vietnam, China, USA and Australia. After a short official welcoming ceremony led by the Minister of culture Andonis Samaras and the museum’s manager Dimitris Pandermalis, a long-waited tour around the halls is in order. The organization is strict- to avoid crowding,  we enter the rooms in groups of no more than 50, waiting for each other to take pictures and look around.

There is a great excitement around. The journalists are undoubtedly impressed. They want to know everything and ask questions jumping from subject-to subject: how much time did it take to build the Acropolis, how much time did it take to build the museum, how long is the oldest exhibit dating back, what part of the Parthenon’s marbles are in the British museum and will its manager attend the opening, is the building environment-friendly, what kind of materials was it built of, how can you make reservation for the museum’s restaurant. The minister of culture and the museum manager answer all questions and give interviews.

Little by little all separate groups become one and the tour around the rooms turns into a huge swarming crowd, talking, resting, going again, but not in a hurry to move forward. The strict and serious in the beginning guards gradually merge with the reporters’ atmosphere and are eager to make exceptions. The entrance of the third floor, however, is absolutely forbidden. The reason is Athina Cangari’s video-installations that are going to be a surprise at the official opening ceremony.

If you notice among the lively crowds a middle-aged man, dressed oddly for the Athenian heats in a black suit and white shirt, with the unalterable red scarf, you can be sure this is architect Bernard Tschumi. Some time ago I had called him a director of space and this is exactly what he is. The visitor of the museums feels this inexplicable change in the center of Athens. Tschumi’s exquisite building brings surprising harmony between the classic architecture of the Acropolis and the eclecticism of the surrounding city; a harmony between past and present. Tonight, as any other time whn he has visited Greece, Tschumi doesn’t get bored giving thorough explanations on everything he is asked. What made him choose this type of architecture, how did he manage to build on excavations, and why should the two buildings blocking the direct view from the museum to the Parthenon be demolished.

Gradually, the group of people moves to the balcony on the second floor, where the conversations in the warm Athenian night continue with a glass of wine under the mild contours of the Parthenon building and the soft moonlight. The new Acropolis Museum’s first meeting with the media ended with its unquestionable victory- it managed to enchant them. The short gallery tour is only enough for a first impression on their richness but it is no one’s concern that they have missed on something. Because everyone feels that the new museum is a place they would return to again and again. It just conquered their hearts.


GRReporter’s content is brought to you for free 7 days a week by a team of highly professional journalists, translators, photographers, operators, software developers, designers. If you like and follow our work, consider whether you could support us financially with an amount at your choice.
You can support us only once as well.
blog comments powered by Disqus