The Central Archaeological Council (CAS) has decided that the multi-storey hotel at the foot of the Acropolis will have to demolish two of its upper floors as they hinder the view to the jewel of Athens. The hotel will have to be deprived of its roof bar and the swimming pool area.
Greece’s Culture Minister Lina Mendoni told Skai TV that “it was a very difficult opinion because the Council had a real fact – the hotel – and probably the businessman’s right, but from there on, the Acropolis had to be protected. When the Acropolis is offended, in essence, our culture is offended.”
She added that most likely the hotel owner will claim a compensation, however, “the compensation is clearly less than the value of the monument.”
The hotel was constructed after having obtained all the necessary licenses by the ministries and local authorities involved, including from the Central Archaeological Council as antiquities were found when the digging for its foundation was taking place in 2012. All bureaucratic, building regulations and other obstacles were left behind with success.
The final green light by the Culture Ministry was given in 2016.
However, when the last couple of floors were under construction, residents and local associations staged protests and collected signatures in February 2019 and went to courts saying that the height of the hotel was prohibiting access to the view of the Acropolis.
They won the case at the country’s top court, the Council of State.
While the legal case was pending, other hotel constructions in the area were halted and so was the issuing of new construction licenses.
According to Greece’ investment plans as it was exiting the 10-year economic crisis, several hotels should be built in the area offering tourists amazing days and unforgettable nights with a panorama view on the Acropolis.
The locals feared that “a wall of hotels” would not only prohibit the view to the ancient monument but also destroy their life.
The Council of State froze the hotel project in November 2019, but apparently the hotel was ready constructed at this time, and also went in operation, as media report on Thursday.
PS The long and adventurous hotel story with its anything but happy end is not a good signal for investors, but Greeks managed to protect the area from uncontrolled building construction with the blessing of the state.