Greece urges Britain to return sculptures

June 22, 2009 at 10:27 AM

ATHENS, Greece, June 22 (UPI) -- Greece used the opening of an Acropolis museum to renew its call to Britain to return sculptures taken from Athens' Parthenon 200 years ago, authorities said.

Dimitris Pandermalis, director of the New Acropolis Museum, at an opening ceremony Saturday told Greek and world dignitaries now the time to rectify what he called an act of barbarism in the sculptures' removal, the Athens News Agency reported Monday.

The $182 million, three-level modern glass and concrete building at the bottom of the Acropolis houses about 350 sculptures and works of art that had been held in a small museum on the peak of the Acropolis.

Greek President Karolos Papoulias told the officials attending the nationwide-televised ceremony the whole world can see the most significant sculptures of the Parthenontemple.

"Some are missing. Now is the time to heal the monument's wounds with the return of the marbles to where they belong," Papoulias said.

Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said the new museum is part of the world's cultural heritage that belongs to all of humanity.

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