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A donation box for Delos

The initiative was treated with some suspicion in the beginning. The reason being that its aim, the protection and promotion of ancient monuments, is not the job of private enterprise but the responsibility of the state. Nevertheless, Diazoma, a citizens? movement that was founded by politician Stavros Benos and whose focus is ancient theaters, is now bearing fruit. An increasing number of citizens are being sensitized to the idea of ancient theater renovation, seeking out funding for their refurbishment and incorporating the ancient monuments into our daily lives. The movement is even attracting those with very limited financial resources.

The result is that donation boxes have been set up to raise money for a number of monuments, including the theaters of Sikyon, Orchomenos, Sparta, Thorikos and Dodoni, to name but a few. In the case of the Ancient Theater of Delphi, the funding raised has reached the sum of 97,000 euros.

It was the Ancient Theater of Delos, however, which recently came into the spotlight. Fresh efforts are being put into saving one of the country?s landmark theaters, whose construction began shortly after 414 BC and ended 70 years later. Originally, the theater had a capacity of 6,500 spectators. Today, it is in urgent need of improved maintenance.

At a recent Diazoma event, Benos announced that the association?s board of directors is about to assign civil engineer Costas Zambas to work on a restoration study for the Delos theater. The project?s donation box currently contains 10,000 euros.

Also present at the Diazoma event was Minister of Culture and Tourism Pavlos Geroulanos. In his speech, Geroulanos reminded the audience that when it comes to culture, state funding has been seriously curtailed. He also pointed to a new reality that is taking shape. ?You can?t have culture without money, but money itself cannot buy culture.? In order to produce culture, said Geroulanos, you need ?love, faith, enthusiasm, emotion and a deep understanding of the importance of collaborating.?

During the event, the director of the French School of Athens, Dominique Mulliez, was honored, while Professor Vassilios Lambrinoudakis talked about the French institution?s longstanding and multifaceted contribution. It was the French School, after all, which began excavating the site back in 1882. Meanwhile, the French School and Diazoma have signed an agreement to share information on the site.

While private initiative continues its efforts, there is something left for the state to do and that is to follow the necessary procedure in order to meet the deadline for the inclusion of the site?s renovation work in the National Strategic Reference Framework, which provides structural funding from the European Union.

By Lota Sykka