Changes are a’coming to cash-stricken Greece. Maybe we won’t see the social overhaul we would like, but there are definitely tides of hope. The creation of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation’s Cultural Center with its grandiose opening and bevy of events brought a flicker of quality to Greece. Perhaps all that is needed is to fan the flame.
1. Underwater Scuba Diving Park
A unique archaeological scuba diving park will soon be open with six visitable sites in the Styra island cluster, around the Kavalliani – Almyropotamos Cove, Petalioi islands, Akio island, Portolafiain Evia, Makronisos and Lavrio. The project will include an underwater museum featuring 26 shipwrecks. A presentation of the project was held under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture where it was announced that the creation of the park follows work launched by the Underwater Antiquities Ephorate in 2006 to investigate shipwrecks dating from the ancient to the Byzantine era in the crystal-clear seas around Attica and southern Evia.
2. Elliniko Development Project
Greek-based Lamda Development plans to transform the 15-year-old abandoned airport at Elliniko into a coastal vacation town from its current use as a settlement for around 3,000 refugees and migrants. The controversial plan submitted puts the cost of the overhaul at almost 8 million dollars. The price includes a road system, hotels and a 500-acre park. Here is how LAMDA describes the development: “The basic design includes the upgrading of the beach, residential developments, superregional and local commerce, hotel facilities and recreational areas, utilization of the Olympic facilities and the creation of new sports facilities, a new golf course, venues that highlight our cultural heritage, educational facilities and research centers etc. Moreover, within the Project’s framework the investors undertake the creation, financing and maintenance of the largest Greek, and one of the largest in the world, Metropolitan Green and Recreational Park, which jointly with the public use green areas of the site will cover and aggregate area of 2.600.000m2, that is 42% of the entire site. The investors undertake the financing and construction of all transport infrastructure, public facilities and utilities networks, all necessary port works, the creation of 50 km of sidewalks and bicycle paths which will create the necessary connection with the existing and the new rail networks, the underground routing of parts of Posidonos Avenue, the renovation and operation of all listed buildings within the site, as well as the creation of a 1 kilometer beach with free-access to the public.”
3. Rebuilding the Colossos of Rhodes
A collective of European architects want to build a 21st-century version of the 500-foot Colossos of Rhodes that stood at the island’s port in the 3rd century BC. The new statue will be five times larger than the original and is described by the project’s website as “a contemporary 150-meters-tall building which would be used as a cultural center, as a library, an exhibition hall and a lighthouse.”
4. Opening of Virgin Territory
Hellenic Seaplanes was founded in May 2013 and there was a great deal of media hype at the time about a creation of seaplane waterways that would open up tourism in some of the most isolated regions. Though these have already been mapped out, there have been spanner in the works with delays and bureaucracy.The company recently got the green light to build a seaplane waterway at the port of Volos on the mainland. If all goes well, Southern Crete will also be serviceable next May to make it easier to access locations such as Frangokastelli castle. Other locations include Skyros, Pelion and hard-to-reach windsurfing spots in Lefkada. The goal is to open up virgin territory in order to attract more visitors and give tourism a boost.
5. Museums and Ancient Sites to be Restored
Perhaps the future needs to be looked at through an ancient lense:
Delos Museum. International New York-based architect Jean Pierre Helm met with Culture Minister Aristidis Baltas and FEDHATTA Tourism Agency Head Lysandros Tsilidis where he presented his vision for a new archaeological museum on the island of Delos with a ground-breaking design to showcase and secure the exhibits from the island.
Archaeological Museum of Zakynthos. A new museum is to be created at thepremises of the abandoned Public Power Corporation plant in the area of Lazaretta near the city of Zakynthos. All the finds from the 16th-century Spanish shipwreck as well as parts of the ship that have been recovered will be displayed here. Other finds from the island’s archaeological service will be displayed in the new museum.
EU Funding for 9 Monuments. The new National Strategic Reference Framework for 2014-2020 has allocated more than 10 million euros in EU funding for the restoration of Greek monuments on the northeastern Aegean. These include: • Restoration of fortress of the Mytilene Castle on Lesvos • Works on the ancient city of Poliochni • Preservation works at Kaveirio on Limnos • Conservation of murals at the St. George Sykousis church • Restoration of UNESCO-listed Nea Moni monastery • Work on the castle of Chios • Conservation and restoration at Temple of Episkopi on the island of Sikinos • Transforming the old elementary school on Kythnos into an archaeological museum • work on the Acropolis of Rhodes.