Greece’s Central Archaeological Council on Sunday gave the go-ahead to a project to help restore some of the most important monuments on the island of Delos, using a grant donated by the Paul and Alexandra Canellopoulos Foundation.
The project will launch a new era for the ‘sacred isle’ of Delos, which was considered the most important sanctuary of antiquity and the birthplace of the gods Apollo and Artemis. The project will be begin with the Stoa of Philip V, which is one of the first monuments that a visitor comes across but also the hardest to understand, since it is missing its ‘3rd dimension’.
The Cyclades Antiquities Ephorate, using the 550,000-euro donation from the Kanellopoulos Foundation, will now take action to restore the damage and the result of wear caused by salt water to the various architectural elements on the ground.
According to the head of the Cyclades Antiquities Ephorate Dimitris Athanasoulis, the restoration work on Delos – as in the case of the Philip V Stoa – was essential for the protection of the monuments, not just to help visitors understand them.
“Delos is a small island, where the salt corrodes everything. Architectural elements in such a hostile environment degenerate rapidly. Their restoration on the monument will greatly reduce the wear,” he said.
While the urban neighbourhoods on Delos were well-preserved, Athanasoulis said, the same was not true of the sanctuary. He said the Ephorate’s strategy was to use EU and state funds on the “emergency” projects and try to find sponsors and grants for the rest. He pointed out that the needs on Delos, due to the special conditions prevailing on the island, were similar to those in Pompeii where millions of euros in European funds were given each year.