With the Acropolis Museum marking its 11th anniversary, Greece has renewed the call for Britain to return the Parthenon Marbles that are housed in the British Museum.
Greek culture minister Lina Mendoni told Ta Nea that the nation will never give up its claim for the return of the masterpieces that adorned the Parthenon’s walls until they were shipped to England by Lord Elgin in the early 19th century.
The most recent call comes in the 11th year of the building of the Acropolis Museum that houses the remaining sculptures that once adorned the Acropolis. The museum built in sight of the Acropolis was created to also hold the Parthenon Marbles currently held in the British Museum
The building was built with support from the Mercouri Foundation whose namesake, the late culture minister Melina Mercouri, sparked Greek demands for the return of the famous marbles from Britain.
Greece’s government has promised to intensify the campaign for the return of the sculptures in time for the 200-year celebrations of the country’s independence from the Ottoman empire.
“It is sad that one of the world’s largest and most important museums is still governed by outdated, colonialist views,” Ms Mendoni said with reference to the British Museum’s position of claiming ownership to the works on the basis that Lord Elgin had been granted permission to take them by the then rulers of Greece, the Ottomans.
The British Museum had long claimed that Greece lacked the proper facilities to house the Partenon Marbles and the building of the Acropolis Museum was in part a response to that criticism.
“Since September 2003, when construction work for the Acropolis Museum began, Greece has systematically demanded the return of the sculptures on display in the British Museum because they are a product of theft,” said Ms Mendoni.
Numerous opinion polls have shown that the majority of Britons are for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.