ATHENS – The Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce (HACC) and the Acropolis Museum organized Φώς / Fos The First Virtual Tour of the Acropolis Museum with President Dimitrios Pandermalis on April 10. The impressive tour with a moving Opening Event hosted by Chryssa Avrami included distinguished guests offering their insights and thoughts on the Acropolis and its meaning.
Avrami welcomed everyone to the event and introduced HACC President Markos L. Drakotos, Esq. who noted that “the Acropolis is the heart that breathes life into the Eternal Harmony of this world balancing our existence within time and space. She has endured centuries absorbing energy, refracting it out over this world and the cosmos as a guide leading us to wisdom. She reveals the truths which humankind can stride over on a path to self-awareness and healing. Her architectural marvel stands idle in constant transition. The light, the wind, the dark, the irreverent human hand striking at her yet revealing an even truer, majestic inner beauty. She cannot die, as what she represents transcends us all. Never doubt what she represents as she echoes the learned centuries in her quiet stance. Civilization, democracy, free speech, free thought, and freedom collide against tyranny. She will continue to represent the symmetry of this world as we fill her missing pieces.”
Avrami then introduced His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America who gave his remarks from the Nashville Acropolis replica. Archbishop Elpidophoros congratulated the organizers and called for the return of the Parthenon Marbles which remain in the British Museum since they were illegally removed from their rightful home. “They deserve to be read in their native context,” His Eminence said.
Consul General of Greece in New York Konstantinos Koutras in his remarks noted that he first visited the Acropolis at a young age and shared the sense of pride he feels when foreign dignitaries visit the site and are awe-struck.
Mareva Grabowski Mitsotakis, the wife of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, spoke about the miracle of the Parthenon which saw the birth of democracy and all the gifts of civilization.
Nikos Aliagas, journalist, host, and photographer, based in France, also shared his thoughts on the Acropolis, observing that “it is the DNA of our culture.”
Academic Byzantinologist Helen Glykatzi-Ahrweiler, Paramount Pictures CEO Jim Gianopulos, and Olympic gold medalist Yiannis Melissanidis, also shared memories and insights, as did actress, producer and musician Rita Wilson who noted the memory of her first trip to the Acropolis with her parents and brother.
Dr. Albert Bourla, Chairman and CEO of Pfizer, also visited as a youngster while on a family trip from his native Thessaloniki to visit relatives in Athens. He noted that the Acropolis is a reflection of Athenian civilization.
Marianna Vardinogiannis, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, Foundation for the Child & Family, noted that the Acropolis reminds us to rise above human nature and create a better world. She also called for the return of the Parthenon Marbles and mentioned her dear friend, the late Melina Mercouri who famously said in a speech at the Oxford Union debating society, “You must understand what the Parthenon Marbles mean to us. They are our pride. They are our sacrifices. They are our noblest symbol of excellence. They are a tribute to the democratic philosophy. They are our aspirations and our name. They are the essence of Greekness.”
Businessman John Coumantaros said that the earth wears the Acropolis as its finest jewel and the Acropolis is Hellenism recognized.
Phedon Papamichael, Oscar-nominated cinematographer, said that for him, the Acropolis is home.
Photographer Robert McCabe noted that the Acropolis changes in the light and weather conditions and is a never-ending kaleidoscope for a photographer. When asked to summarize the Acropolis in one word, McCabe said “continuity” as the Acropolis connects the present with 2,000 years of Greek civilization and language.
Musician George Dalaras, Fashion Designer Mary Katrantzou, Managing Partner IRI/Marshall Islands Registry Clay Maitland, composer Evanthia Reboutsika, Computer Scientist and 2007 Turing Award-winner Joseph Sifakis, Town & Country Magazine Editor in Chief Stellene Volandes, and composer Stavros Xarhakos also shared moving insights and impressions of the Acropolis.
Acropolis Museum President Dimitrios Pandermalis then led the fascinating virtual tour which showcased the impressive Museum and many of its remarkable treasures. From the 4th century BC artifacts from the Theatre of Dionysus to the world's top collection of 6th century BC Archaic period sculptures, the collection is a powerful testament to the enduring nature of Greek culture from ancient times to the present day. The award-winning Acropolis Museum opened in 2009 and is a must see for all those visiting Athens.
A Q&A session with Pandermalis, moderated by Sylvia Papapostolou-Kienzl, followed the tour and further highlighted the enthusiasm and interest for the Museum among all those who participated in the virtual event. Many expressed the wish to visit in person as soon as possible.
The event concluded with Avrami thanking Pandermalis for opening the Museum for the special tour.
More information about the Acropolis Museum is available online: https://www.theacropolismuseum.gr/en.