The World Heritage Observatory calls on UNESCO to stop the destruction of the Acropolis and include the monument on the list of “World Heritage in Danger.” Reason for this call are the interventions on the -year-old monument that altered its form with tons of concrete and other installations.
NGO World Heritage Observatory, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOSI sent a letter to the president of UNESCO, Andre Azoulet, on the subject of the “Deplorable situation on the Acropolis.”
In the letter reportedly sent on May 12, ICOMOS urges the UNESCO to stop the destructive interventions on the Acropolis and calls on it to raise the issue at its next international meeting in September. At the same time, it asks to include the Acropolis in the list of World Heritage in Danger.
In the open letter, ICOMOS refers to the “the extensive construction activities that were criticized by hundreds of scientists and experts from the international community.”
In particular, it states that “the construction activities in the area, which have already been implemented or are planned for the near future, are so massive and extensive that they alter its appearance and character to the extent that they will completely deprive it of its authenticity and integrity.”
“The result will turn a monument, which has inspired countless generations for its high spirituality and beauty, into a shallow backdrop of “sightseeing” locations for selfies. Greece will have lost its soul and will no longer be considered a dedicated custodian of archeology and cultural heritage while the world will have lost a place that humanity gazes upon in awe.”
The observatory still openly blames UNESCO for allowing a section of it to be misled by Greek officials:
“The World Heritage Center / ICOMOS advisory Mission that visited the Acropolis of Athens from 27 to 29 April 2022 was faced with a fait accompli. It was clear that what had been done was practically impossible to fix. The members of the Mission, inexplicably, took the explanations of the Greek state about the reversibility of the interventions “at face value”, simply repeating them in their report, and accepted without due diligence the false statements of the Greek government that they had been approved by an International Conference. The Mission limited itself to recommending a considerable number of important and substantial improvements.”
In conclusion and summarizing this very serious matter, the letter of the World Heritage Observatory to UNESCO concludes as follows:
“When will the World Heritage Committee act, if not now? The world is about to lose the value of one of its most iconic creations – one that stands as a symbol of cultural heritage itself and ultimately the Organization of which you are all a part. The following actions must be decided at this time:
01 The “Acropolis of Athens”, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, must be included in the agenda of the 45th meeting of the World Heritage Committee.
02 The World Heritage Committee must demand from Greece:
• To stop all activity in the Acropolis area immediately, until the World Heritage Committee decides on both the projects that have been carried out and those that are planned.
• To submit a Management Plan and a Tourism Management Plan for the Acropolis of Athens, elaborated in full cooperation with civil society, before planning any possible intervention in the area.
• To remove the layers of reinforced concrete and other installations unsuitable for the site that were installed from 2020 until today and to restore all the damage caused since then.”