Greece has opened its long-delayed Acropolis Museum – with a message to Britain: it wants the Elgin marbles back. Greece has been waging a campaign for the return of the priceless artefacts since the 1980s.
They were removed from the Acropolis in the early 1800s by the British ambassador to the then Ottoman Empire. They were bought by the British government and given to the British Museum in London. At the opening of the new museum in Athens the Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said: “The new Acropolis Museum today is the ark which brings together all of the ideas the Parthenon has stood for ever since antiquity.” “It is the living expression of the power of world culture to bring about,and request, the reunification of the Parthenon Marbles.” At the opening ceremony, in a symbolic move, Greece’s Culture Minister placed an original fragment of the marbles next to a fake plaster copy of the original – which is in the British Museum. Greece is calling on the international community to support its cause for the return of the marbles.