Green light to Canellopoulos Foundation grant for restoring Delos island monuments

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Green light to Canellopoulos Foundation grant for restoring Delos island monumentsThe project will launch a new era for the 'sacred isle' of Delos

Greece's Central Archaeological Council on Sunday gave the go-ahead to a project to help restore some of the most important monuments on the island of Delos, using a grant donated by the Paul and Alexandra Canellopoulos Foundation.

The project will launch a new era for the 'sacred isle' of Delos, which was considered the most important sanctuary of antiquity and the birthplace of the gods Apollo and Artemis. The project will be begin with the Stoa of Philip V, which is one of the first monuments that a visitor comes across but also the hardest to understand, since it is missing its '3rd dimension'.

The Cyclades Antiquities Ephorate, using the 550,000-euro donation from the Kanellopoulos Foundation, will now take action to restore the damage and the result of wear caused by salt water to the various architectural elements on the ground. 

Essential for the protection of the monuments

According to the head of the Cyclades Antiquities Ephorate Dimitris Athanasoulis, the restoration work on Delos - as in the case of the Philip V Stoa - was essential for the protection of the monuments, not just to help visitors understand them.

"Delos is a small island, where the salt corrodes everything. Architectural elements in such a hostile environment degenerate rapidly. Their restoration on the monument will greatly reduce the wear. The grant demonstrates the foundation’s willingness to invest and help in the preservation of the monument, is a great responsibility for us both in terms of coping and creating the conditions that will advance the restoration works," he said and added:

We are striving to make the site worthy of the importance and the influx of visitors. The ephorate is drafting a master plan for the site – monuments and museum – as well as of all proposed interventions which have been adapted to this general approach.

While the urban neighbourhoods on Delos were well-preserved, Athanasoulis said, the same was not true of the sanctuary. He said the Ephorate's strategy was to use EU and state funds on the "emergency" projects and try to find sponsors and grants for the rest. He pointed out that the needs on Delos, due to the special conditions prevailing on the island, were similar to those in Pompeii where millions of euros in European funds were given each year.

Most important mythological, historical and archaeological site

Located near the centre of the Cyclades archipelago and the famous tourist destination of the Greek island of Mykonos,  the islet of Delos was a holy sanctuary and according to Greek mythology the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis. The Portico of Philip V was erected towards the end of the 3rd to 2nd century BC.

Delos is one of the most important mythological, historical and archaeological sites in Greece. The excavations in the island are among the most extensive in the Mediterranean; ongoing work takes place under the direction of the French School at Athens and many of the artifacts found are on display at the Archaeological Museum of Delos and the National Archaeological Museum of Athens.

Delos had a position as a holy sanctuary for a millennium before Olympian Greek mythology made it the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis. 

Established as a culture center, the island had an importance that its natural resources could never have offered. 

Investigation of ancient stone huts found on the island indicate that it has been inhabited since the 3rd millennium BCE. Thucydides identifies the original inhabitants as piratical Carians who were eventually expelled by King Minos of Crete.

RELATED TOPICS: GreeceGreek tourism newsTourism in GreeceGreek islandsHotels in GreeceTravel to GreeceGreek destinations Greek travel marketGreek tourism statisticsGreek tourism report

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