Promoting the Herod Atticus Odeon so that it gains the status of a world monument is the goal set by the Ministry of Culture, stated minister George Voulgarakis after visiting the Roman-era theatre on Friday. He also expressed hope that it will help attract tourists coming to Greece to attend live performances given in this unique Greek monument.
Voulgarakis announced that the renowned Herod Atticus Odeon, located beneath the southern side of the Acropolis, will be closed during the first three weeks of August -- traditionally the peak period of the annual Athens Festival -- due to much-needed maintenance work.
He made the statement during a tour of the Roman-era outdoor theatre, which along with the Classical-era Epidaurus (Epidavros) theatre in the northeast Peloponnese is Greece's foremost ancient venue for various live performances that form the backbone of the annual Hellenic Festival.
Among others, the minister said he favored "reasonable" use of the ancient Herod Atticus theatre.
The ministry has decided that the theatre will no longer be available to event organizers free of charge and that part of the proceeds to be received will be directed to the Archaeological Resources, Expropriations Fund. The decision was necessary as the cost of each Festival night (stage lighting, escorting people to their seats, security) had reached an average 30,000 euros.
Any decisions allowing live performances will be reached by the Central Archaeological Council in cooperation with the Greek Festival.
The monument needs to be protected from the insensibility and abuse of spectators. As it was characteristically stressed, a total of 27 kilos of chewing gum were recently removed from the theatre floor.
Source: Athens News Agency