|Athens' Parthenon Scaffold-Free for First Time in Years|
A newly restored section of columns is seen from inside the 5th century B.C. Parthenon temple on the Acropolis. AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris.
By: Jon Hemming
ATHENS (REUTERS).- Visitors to Athens have a rare window of opportunity to see the showpiece Parthenon temple on the ancient Acropolis without scaffolding for the first time in nearly 30 years as a major restoration work nears completion.
The Greek government launched a project to restore the Parthenon and other buildings on the world heritage site in 1975, but it was not until 1983 that work started.
Scaffolding has been up somewhere around the ancient temple ever since. But from now until September, the exterior of the Parthenon will be scaffold-free.
Building the Parthenon took nine years from 447 BC and the sculptural decorations took another 10 years to complete. Restoration has already taken longer than it took to build.
"We treat every piece of marble like a piece of art so we have to respect it," Mary Ioannidou, the head of restoration told Reuters during a tour of the temple.
"The ancient Greeks had the possibility that if a block failed, to leave it and take another one, but we can't do it so we have to treat it with great respect."
Over the years, the Parthenon has suffered from fire, war, revolution, looting, misguided restoration and pollution.
It became a church for nearly 1,000 years and served as a mosque under the Ottomans for nearly 400 years after that.
The greatest blow to the structure though came in 1687 when a Venetian mortar ignited the Ottoman Turkish gunpowder store inside and widespread looting followed. British Ambassador Lord Elgin then removed large chunks of the sculptures from 1801.
Between 1898 and 1938, restoration workers rebuilt large parts of the building and concreted in parts of the columns and blocks that were missing. But they used iron ties to hold the blocks together and replaced many in the wrong place.
The iron ties have since rusted and as they did so expanded causing cracks to appear. The ancients also used iron ties, but coated them in lead to prevent rust. They have lasted well.
The team of archaeologists, marble cutters, architects, and civil and chemical engineers, dismantled 1,852 metric tons of marble and began the painstaking task of attempting to put it back again in the right place, adding other fragments they found.
"It's like a huge puzzle," said Ioannidou with a wry smile.
Titanium is now used to tie the blocks and columns together which is highly resistant to corrosion.
New marble has been crafted to fill in some of the gaps left by the concrete and allow blocks of the original marble to be returned to their place on the Parthenon's stonework.
The original quarry for the marble on Mount Penteli is now itself a protected historical site, but marble has been cut from the other side of the same mountain.
"It's almost the same but not exactly the same," said Ioannidou. The new marble stands out in a much lighter color than the original.
"One of the principles of our restoration is not to cheat the visitor. Everyone can understand the parts that are ancient and those that are original," said Ioannidou.
As for the color, that will fade. "If you come here in 10 years the color will be almost the same," she said.
In September though, the scaffolding will be up again on the western facade and that project will last at least another three years. Efforts to piece together the walls of the inner chamber of the temple are already underway.
For some, restoring the Parthenon is their life's work. Marble-cutter Ignatius Hiou has worked there for 18 years.
"If I could do this until the day I die, I will be happy," he said.
(Additional reporting by Deborah Kyvrikosaios; Editing by Paul Casciato)
May 29, 2010
The Global Art World Gathers in Hong Kong for the City's Third International Art Fair
Albertina Opens Major Survey of Printed Works by Alex Katz
Christie's to Present Magnificent Gustav Klimt Portrait in London
Cuban Voodoo-Variant Art Tops Sotheby's Latin American Sale
New York Judge Urges Settlement in Obama Poster Dispute
New York Public Library President Receives Spanish Civil Order
Tiffany's Dazzling Designs at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
Group Exhibition of Street Art on View at Affirmation Arts
Internationally Renowned Director to Lead The San Diego Museum of Art
Christie's to Present an Important Auction of Orientalist Masterpieces
Exhibition of Voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera Opens at Tate Modern
Miniature Chinese Art Makes World Record Prices at Bonhams
Artist Fred Tomaselli to Have Solo Exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum
Athens' Parthenon Scaffold-Free for First Time in Years
New Book Features Candid Photographs from Ivy League Universities by Teruyoshi Hayashida
Europeana Public Domain Charter: Libraries, Museums and Archives Support Europe's Heritage
Most Comprehensive Exhibition of Work by Atlanta Artist Radcliffe Bailey to Premiere at the High
Phillips de Pury & Company's Africa Auction Totals $1,401,038
Amon Carter Museum Exhibits Ansel Adams Photographs
INAH, Candidate to Win Prince of Asturias Award
Most Popular Last Seven Days
1.- Ancient erotic frescoes get makeover at the Contemporary Art Museum in Casoria
2.- One million dollar Pablo Picasso painting yours for just $135 in online charity raffle
3.- Robert L. Oswald, Brother of Lee Harvey Oswald Disputes Last Week's Sale of Coffin
4.- Australian psychedelic artist Martin Sharp, who designed posters for Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan, dies
5.- Skull find shows young women were sacrificed in China more than 4,000 years ago
6.- Istanbul monastery, considered the most important of Constantinople, 'to be turned into mosque'
7.- Detroit Institute of Arts statement regarding City of Detroit's eligibility to file for bankruptcy
8.- Christie's sets a new world auction record for a painting by Edward Hopper
9.- Ryan O'Neal defends taking ex-lover's Warhol picture in University of Texas lawsuit
10.- French film and installation artist Laure Prouvost wins Great Britain's Turner prize
Unpaid Greek Workers Heckle Culture Minister on Acropolis
Greek Police Seize Two Rare Statues From Two Farmers
Athens Print Fest to Open with Several Exhibitions Around the City
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|