Lina Mendoni, Greece’s Minister of Culture and Sports, issued a statement on Wednesday morning regarding the condition of the British Museum gallery which houses the Parthenon sculptures.
“The situation, as presented in photographs published in the press today, is very frustrating for the British Museum, and extremely offensive to the exhibits themselves, especially when these exhibits are no other than the Parthenon Sculptures”, Mendoni declared.
The Greek Minister of Culture was referring to a series of photographs taken by Greek tourists who visited the Museum recently and found out that the ceiling of the gallery is visibly stained and has been partially destroyed by water leaking into the London building..
It is noted that in the winter of 2018, during a day with very heavy rain, rainwater entered the room itself, after penetrating the already-damaged roof. The water kept falling next to the precious exhibits for days on end, raising concerns over the Museum’s desire, or its ability, to safeguard these global archaeological treasures.
”The abandonment shown in the pictures from the British Museum reinforces Greece’s rightful demand for the Sculptures’ permanent return to Athens and their reunification with the Parthenon,” Mendoni concluded.
Issuing a statement following last year’s damage, the British Museum claimed that ”a small incident occurred, during heavy rainfall, when a small amount of water entered the gallery. None of the sculptures were damaged and the issue has been addressed.”
However, the recent photographs prove that the ceiling has indeed not been fixed, posing a clear threat to the condition of the Sculptures in the extremely likely event of another heavy rainfall in the future.
The open row over the Parthenon sculptures between the Greek authorities and the British Museum has lasted for more than three decades now.
Greece does not recognize the Museum’s right to hold the sculptures and demands their return to Athens, while the Museum claims that it is the rightful owner of the exhibits.
The sculptures were chipped off the facade of the Parthenon and transported to England in the early 1800s, when Greece was under Ottoman Turkish occupation.