Greek Archaeologists Won’t Rule On Parthenon View-Blocking Hotel

FILE - The 5th Century B.C. Parthenon temple stands the ancient Acropolis hill after a rainstorm in Athens, on Wednesday, April 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

ATHENS – With high-rise buildings popping up around the famed Acropolis, blocking views for residents in the neighborhood, Greece’s Central Archaeological Council (KAS) said it won’t take a stand on a hotel that’s already been built.

The country’s top advisory body on the protection of antiquities postponed a ruling on the legality of a recently-constructed 10-floor hotel in the central Athens district of Makriyianni which local residents say obstructs their view of the Parthenon.

The board said it would wait until after a decision has been issued by the Council of State, the country’s highest administrative court, which is set to take up the case on May 10, which means the hotel can operate for now as it’s been connected to public utilities.

In February, the Environment Ministry suspended all building licenses in the area around the Acropolis following a public protest campaign by local residents.

In March, reversing itself, KAS blocked construction of a nine-story building near the Acropolis because it would blow the view, the move coming after residents were able to get a moratorium on high-rises.

There was no explanation why the council, charged with making sure as well there aren’t key archaeological reasons for barring or stopping construction or renovation, didn’t know the building would block the view because it was so tall.

KAS had approved the construction on September 25, 2018 before growing protests led to the cessation of view-blocking buildings in an area which has become predominantly taken over by short-term rentals like Airbnb. There was no explanation whether the new buildings were designed for that use or residential rentals or sales.

The same residents also protested the 10-story hotel but didn’t say what could be done about it other than having it taken down. In February, the Environment Ministry suspended all building licenses in the area around the Acropolis.

Hearing cries from residents around the Acropolis who said new buildings were getting so high they blocked the ancient view, new construction licenses are being suspended for a year for new works and additions that would be more than 17.5 meters (57.4 feet high).