Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis chaired a meeting at Ancient Olympia's Town Hall on Wednesday where he announced that major anti-flooding works are on track at Ancient Olympia.
Focus of the town hall meeting were the problems in the municipality of Ancient Olympia, the damage to crops from the summer's wildfires, support for farmers and the prospects for tourist development after the inauguration of the digital augmented reality app for the archaeological site of Ancient Olympia, which will travel throughout the world.
As the prime minister said, referring to the new state support framework established by the government for areas stricken by natural disasters, "from the first moment we established a new compensation method, we said that the two main axes on which we shall move are transparency and speed".
Earlier Prime Minister Mitsotakis inaugurated Microsoft's Augmented Reality app "Ancient Olympia: Common Grounds", which digitally reconstructs the site of the ancient Olympic Games in antiquity.
"Twenty-one months ago, in January 2020, I met with the president of Microsoft for the first time. We discussed many things then, the possibility of the company investing in our country and creating data centres. The idea of working together on an emblematic project was put on the table. Microsoft agreed at once, embraced this idea and the place we chose is to my mind self-evident. Olympia, as a global symbol of universal human values. A place of worship, collective meeting, overcoming differences," Mitsotakis said.
He stressed that this was a project in which "archaeology meets technology".
"As important as the great capability that technology gives us may be, on the one hand, to create images and augmented realities, equally important is the contribution of archaeologists. Without the cooperation of archaeologists, the culture ministry, their enthusiasm, I believe that this project could not have been implemented in the end," the prime minister added.
"Today we are making a first global step in showing how ancient civilisation can meet technology. What I mostly hold on to is not so much the power of technology as the delight in the eyes of the students of the new high school at Ancient Olympia. I believe we are opening up new horizons as we transmit knowledge to the next generation. Making this experience visual is what makes it so unique. I believe it creates new avenues for the country for showcasing our cultural heritage," Mitsotakis said.
"My vision is to set in motion corresponding experiences for all the important archaeological sites," he noted, adding: "The challenge lies before us. We will embrace it with passion. Olympia and the common grounds are only a start. Technology is a tool to not only make our lives better. It is a major educational tool, which ultimately unites and does not divide. We will continue on this path but always remember that the first step was taken where it should have been. Here in Ancient Olympia we are making a new start."