Athens' well-known Acropolis, built more than two thousand years ago, has become a victim of pollution.
Athens' well-known Acropolis, built more than two thousand years ago, has become a victim of pollution. Statues that millions of people from around the world have flocked to the archaeological site to see have been permanently damaged. But a rescue operation sponsored by the Greek government and UNESCO (United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) is now attempting to save the works, so that future generations can also enjoy the classical beauty of Greek art and architecture.
SYNOPSIS: The Parthenon's Temple of erechtheum has been supported for two thousand five hundred years by the Caryatid nymphs -- six classical maidens. They have been among the statues eaten away by a combination of caustic substances contained in modern pollution.
But archaeologists believed they have arrested the damage and decided to remove the original maidens to an air-conditioned environment in the Acropolis museum. The delicate operation was planned with the help of engineers and carried out carefully in order not to further damage the statues. The feet of the works were surrounded with cement and the upper part with a layer of gypsum of protect them from the workman's blows.
To the average eye the Erechtheum Temple -- the ancient Greek shrine to the gods of agriculture, will look the same. Exact marble replicas will replace the original nymphs. And for those who want to see the originals, it will be a short walk to an air-conditioned museum where the six maidens will be carefully housed. The Greeks choose hilltop sites to build their temples because they denoted the presence of gods and both the Greek government and UNESCO are making every effort to protect the Athens Acropolis as a reminder of a culture that significantly influenced western civilisation.