Several news outlets today reported on an announcement by the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports and the Municipality of Athens concerning the signing of a joint development agreement for the archeological site of Plato’s Academy, in central Athens.
The plan includes two main elements:
- Renovation of the archaeological site of Plato’s Academy to make it more appealing to visitors, and its promotion as an attraction of cultural and historical significance.
- The announcement of an architectural competition involving submission of designs for the proposed Archaeological Museum of Athens, construction of which has already been approved by the Ministry of Culture and Sports.
The Minister of Culture and Sports, Lina Mendoni, is reported as saying:
The approval by the Central Archaeological Council of the studies, which concern the regeneration of the archeological site of Plato’s Academy, is an important moment for Athens and for its history.
Concerning the proposed Museum of Athens, she stated:
The new Museum will present the history of the city, through the findings brought to light by decades of archaeological research, masterpieces from the bowels of the city of Athens, which could not be exhibited elsewhere and tell their own story.
The Ministry of Culture and Sports is collaborating closely with the Municipality of Athens and the Mayor Costas Bakogiannis on this project. Their goal is to improve the quality of life for residents of Athens, especially in the Plato’s Academy suburb, while also highlighting the cultural importance of this unique archaeological site.
The Mayor of Athens, Costas Bakogiannis, added:
The promotion of the archaeological site of Plato’s Academy and the creation of the Archaeological Museum of Athens, in addition to their historical and cultural significance, create a great opportunity for the entire area that has suffered a lot in recent years, due to its abandonment. We have been given the opportunity to transform it into a place of destination and development. To upgrade the quality of life and daily life of its inhabitants and to become our starting point for a path that leads to entrepreneurship, new jobs and its modernization.
The proposals aim to:
- Enhance the readability of the archaeological site and the protection and promotion of individual monuments.
- Improve accessibility for the monuments and continuity between the archeological ruins and the modern park.
- Upgrade the whole area to become a “green lung” and a destination for walks and leisure, with both a local flavour and wider significance.
- Enhance the safety and security of visitors, public property and antiquities.
Improvements to the existing excavation sites will potentially create an opportunity for unearthing new archeological finds.
Plato’s Academy Centre
In a separate proposal, a private nonprofit initiative seeks to establish a new “Plato’s Academy Centre” adjacent to the location of Plato’s Academy Park. The centre would consist of two main elements:
- An international conference centre, attracting foreign investment to the area by holding events in the vicinity of the original Plato’s Academy.
- A centre for “philosophy as a way of life”, organizing events inspired by Greek culture and philosophy, in the spirit of Socratic and Platonic teachings.
The proposal is led by bestselling author Donald Robertson and has the backing of leading academics in the field of classics and philosophy.