submitted by Anna Cominos on 25.07.2010
Thursday 21 July 2010 - Council Offices, Chora
Empassioned Kytherian Mayor Theodoros Koukoulis held a press conference on Thursday 21 July 2010 in his Mayoral Office to highlight the on-going indifference by Greece’s Ministry of Culture that has resulted in the island’s Museum in Chora remaining closed since the massive earthquake in 2006.
Joined by the Ministry of Culture’s appointed archaeologist Aris Tsavaropoulos, both the Mayor and Tsavaropoulos explained the energy intensive process of lobbying for the Museum’s renovations. Tsavoropoulos explained that the major reason for this delay was Greek beaurocracy. While various Minstiry of Culture directors have committed to joint-funding the project, political instability along with the current economic crisis has conveniently seen ‘political promises blowing in the wind’.
Journalists from Kythera’s local media were present as the Mayor, who is a trained archaeoligist, outlined the Greek state’s on-going indifference to the Museum's renovations. The Mayor also added that this indifference has been an incredible lost opportunity, particular for visitors to the island.
The historical articles and items are now in storage in Pireaus as well as Kythera. Mayor Koukoulis was emphatic that it was unacceptable that the Museum remained closed since early 2006.
Kythera’s local council has put forward a proposal to split the current and unofficial project price of €425,000 euros with the Ministry of Culture. But their lack of acknowledgement is perhaps an insight into how the mechanism of the Greek State and public services has imploded and cannot address even the smallest of issues.
Kytherian history and Kytherian identity are inseperable. People must access where they are from to contextualise where they are going. We have fantastic exhibits such as the Aphrodite sanctuary talismans which were recovered under the guidance of archaeoligist Yiannis Sakkelarakis.
The coins of Dragonares, left by ancient sailors to ensure passages are also fantastic.
But the most moving exhibit and where the cyclical nature of history is obvious, is the impressive statue of the Lion. Originally the Lion, a Venetian symbol of power, was displayed at the gates of Chora’s Castle until it was illegally removed. A young Kytherian who had grown up with the statue of the Lion and was studying in Germany recognised the Lion and began a campaign to purchase the Lion and return it to Kythera. Like many young Kytherians of the past century, the statue of the Lion is symbolic of the displacement. Sadly the Kytherian Lion sits locked-up along with many significant fragments of Kythera’s story.
Mayor Kououlis and Ari Tsavaropoulos were keen to see this issue of Kythera’s Museum re-emerge with Tsavaropoulos adding together "we are many and we can make a fist. We have power……..lets use it."
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