Gloomy Greece

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Greece Parliament building, in front of which is Syntagma square where demonstrations happen

Greeks don’t come across as being lazy people. Quite the opposite, those whom i have met were diligent and enterprising. I wonder what has gotten them into the hot soup they are in now. In fact, i wonder if those people who demonstrated against the austerity measures, recently approved by their parliament in exchange for further bailout, know exactly how those measures, or failure to obtain the bailout, were going to affect them.

On the streets of Athens, i’ve seen many people who just stand around and do nothing. Thankfully, there are as many policemen standing around to keep watch, which is critical to safeguarding the tourism industry, an important source of income they cannot afford to jeopardize.

The free copy of tourist map i obtained from the hotel bears a print that says it is funded by the EU. A little embarrassing, if you ask me, that Athens would take up sponsorship for printing its tourist map. In fact, many of the restoration work at historical sites are also supported by EU funding. I guess the EU must support them so they can at least generate some income (and not ask for more money).

 DSC_0092 The Acropolis

The Parthenon was one of the monuments restored with EU funding support. Marble blocks are placed back in their original position, and the particularly fragile and important sculptures are transferred to the nearby Acropolis Museum as explained in the wikipedia entry. Unfortunately, some of these sculptures were taken by the Earl of Elgin in 1801 (thus they are called the Elgin Marbles) and have been put on display in the British Museum. Or perhaps fortunately, this may have saved the sculptures from further damage. A replica or simply an empty slab is put on display for these missing pieces in the Acropolis Museum and they are captioned prominently with the acronym “BM”, meaning British Museum. This is of course deliberate action to inform visitors to the museum of their intention to bring these pieces back to where they belong. There will probably be no end to the on-going battle over the marbles.

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The Elgin Marbles in the British Museum

The Parthenon was such an inspiration that other monuments were modelled after it, including the National Monument in Edinburgh, the construction of which failed due to lack of funds.

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The National Monument, Edinburgh

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Plaque introducing the National Monument

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