Athens - The Acropolis is not up for sale or rent. This is the message that Greece sent to Maison Gucci, which planned to organise a fashion show in June in one of the world's most famous archeological sites. The General Archeology Council, a watchful guardian of the historic heritage of the country, deliberated unanimously to reject Gucci's request. "The Acropolis is a symbol for all mankind and cannot be the object of business negotiations," said the Secretary-General of the Greek Minister of Culture, Maria Andreadkis-Vlazakis.
Gucci, a firm owned by Kering, a French luxury group, had offered a contribution of 2 million euros for the restoration of the site and had hinted that the event could produce a large amount of revenue from tourist activities for a country experiencing a severe economic crisis." "We are open to forms of patronage, but the difficult economic condition of the country is not a good excuse for using the site," insisted Andreadakis-Vlazakis. The local newspaper Kathimerini was even harsher in expressing its opinion and branded Gucci's request 'humiliating' and the economic arguments 'despicably cynical'. The Parthenon, which was to be the backdrop to the fashion show, "is a world cultural heritage site, not only for its beauty but because it is also a symbol of democracy," reported Kethimerini's editorial. Opening Greek archeological sites to business opportunities is quite an unusual occurence, also for cinema shootings. In recent years, only the French-Canadian director Nia Vardalos and the American Francis Ford Coppola filmed scenes on the Acropolis. Moreover, Kathimerini reported as a rare example the photos taken by singer Jennifer Lopez in 2008.
The Acropolis is the site with the highest number of visitors in Greece. Its compound includes the Parthenon, the temple to Athena Nike and the Ionic temple of Erechtheion. Its current structure dates back to the 5th century BC, during the Golden Age of Athenian democracy, whose construction was promoted by the great politician and ruler Pericles. (AGI).