Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat :

Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : Greek Culture Ministry: Acropolis Closed During Afternoon Hours Due to Heat

Tourists visit the Acropolis hill archaeological site, before it closes due to a heatwave hitting Athens, Greece, June 13, 2024. REUTERS/Louiza Vradi
Tourists visit the Acropolis hill archaeological site, before it closes due to a heatwave hitting Athens, Greece, June 13, 2024. REUTERS/Louiza Vradi
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Greek Culture Ministry: Acropolis Closed During Afternoon Hours Due to Heat

Tourists visit the Acropolis hill archaeological site, before it closes due to a heatwave hitting Athens, Greece, June 13, 2024. REUTERS/Louiza Vradi
Tourists visit the Acropolis hill archaeological site, before it closes due to a heatwave hitting Athens, Greece, June 13, 2024. REUTERS/Louiza Vradi

Authorities in Greece have closed down the Acropolis in Athens during the afternoon on Thursday for a second day as the country swelters under unseasonably high temperatures.

According to The Associated Press, the Culture Ministry said the hilltop citadel, which is Greece's most popular ancient site, was closed from midday to 5 p.m. because of the heat.

All other archaeological sites in the Greek capital were also shut during the same hours. People who had booked visits for that period could use their tickets later in the day until the sites close at 8 p.m., the ministry said.

Temperatures exceeded 40 C on Thursday in much of central and southern Greece, including greater Athens, the Cyclades and Crete.

Officials are on heightened alert for wildfires, which plague Greece every summer.

The minister responsible for civil protection, Vassilis Kikilias, said Thursday posed a particular wildfire risk due to the combination of high temperatures and winds.

“The early start of the heat waves, combined with the dry winter, has led to a very difficult fire season,” he said.

The fire service also warned of a very high wildfire threat on Friday.

Authorities in Athens are providing air-conditioned areas to the public and have issued fans to secondary schools where end-of-year and university entrance exams are being held.

Scientists warn that summer temperatures there could rise by an average of 2 degrees by 2050. Athens mayor Haris Doukas has tried to create more shade by planting 2000 trees.
“Our first goal shall be to lower the median temperature, the felt-air temperature," he told Reuters.



Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : Cyprus Displays Jewelry, Early Christian Icons and Bronze Age Antiquities Once Looted From Island

A presidential security officer stands behind antiquities repatriated from Germany and put on display at the Archeological museum, in capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Monday, July 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
A presidential security officer stands behind antiquities repatriated from Germany and put on display at the Archeological museum, in capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Monday, July 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
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Cyprus Displays Jewelry, Early Christian Icons and Bronze Age Antiquities Once Looted From Island

A presidential security officer stands behind antiquities repatriated from Germany and put on display at the Archeological museum, in capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Monday, July 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
A presidential security officer stands behind antiquities repatriated from Germany and put on display at the Archeological museum, in capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Monday, July 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

Cyprus on Monday put on display artifacts — some of them thousands of years old — that were returned after a Turkish art dealer looted them from the ethnically divided island nation decades ago.
Aydin Dikmen took the artifacts from the country's breakaway north in the years after Cyprus’ split in 1974, when Turkiye invaded following a coup mounted by supporters of union with Greece. The antiquities were kept in Germany after authorities there seized them in 1997, and protracted legal battles secured their repatriation in three batches, the last one this year.
Addressing the unveiling ceremony at Cyprus' archaeological museum, President Nikos Christodoulides said the destruction of a country’s cultural heritage as evidenced in recent conflicts becomes a “deliberate campaign of cultural and religious cleansing that aims to eliminate identity.”
Among the 60 most recently returned artifacts put on display include jewelry from the Chalcolithic Period between 3500-1500 B.C. and Bronze Age bird-shaped idols.
Antiquities that Dikmen also looted but were returned years ago include 1,500-year-old mosaics of Saints Luke, Mark, Matthew and James. They are among the few examples of early Christian works to survive the Iconoclastic period in the 8th and 9th centuries when most such works were destroyed.
Cyprus' authorities and the country's Orthodox Church for decades have been hunting for the island’s looted antiquities and centuries-old relics from as many as 500 churches in open auctions and on the black market.
The museum's antiquities curator, Eftychia Zachariou, told the ceremony that Cyprus in recent years has benefited from a shift in thinking among authorities in many countries who now opt to repatriate antiquities of dubious provenance.