The permanent exhibition highlighting the water supply system of the ancient city of Piraeus at the new "Municipal Theatre" station was opened on Monday at the inauguration of the three new metros stations in Piraeus.
The Minister of Culture and Sports Lina Mendoni spoke about the harmonious coexistence of archeology and the Metro, principlally the respect for archaeological finds without them being a brake on large-scale infrastructure projects.
During the excavation research, the largest ever carried out in the city of Piraeus, 150 structures related to ancient water systems, were uncovered. These come in addition to the more than 345 wells and 388 tanks already found in earlier excavations in the city.
In her speech, the Minister of Culture and Sports, Lina Mendoni, said: "Expressing all my colleagues at the Ministry of Culture, I would like to thank Kostas Karamanlis, Giorgos Karagiannis, Nikos Tachiaos, Nikos Kouretas and their colleagues for their excellent cooperation.
"The long historical duration of the Greek civilization - in time and space - has as a consequence, the activities of the modern era intersecting with the material testimonies of the past preserved underground.
"The term 'archaeological palimpsest' is used to denote the overlapping layers of material remains of human activity, which continues for centuries in the same areas, especially in the urban fabric of our cities. Especially in the case of a large area or the wide geographical distribution of public utility infrastructures, this meeting, between the works of today and the tangible evidence of history, becomes almost unavoidable.
Our constitutional obligation and institutional duty is to ensure the conditions and take the appropriate measures, so that serving the needs of living, development and progress of modern man coexists with the valuable - for the development and well-being of society - capital of the cultural heritage. Cultural heritage is the most vivid illustration of the evolutionary path of a people and a place. It creates high added values. It does not tarnish the development perspective of our country. It is a comparative advantage and a multiplier of our economic and social progress."
She continued by saying: "A technical project, the Metro in this case, is the cause of the largest excavation research - and indeed in a model way and with innovative methods - that has ever been done in the city of Piraeus.
"The total area, which was archaeologically checked by the Ephorate of Antiquities of Piraeus and Islands in 5 Stations and 7 Ventilation Shafts, approaches 30,000 sq.m., while rescue excavations were carried out on a total surface of 7,500 sq.m. All were carried out under permanent archaeological monitoring the excavation works, but also the opening of the 7.6 km of the train passage tunnel.
"During these excavations, 150 structures related to ancient water systems, characteristic of the ancient city of Piraeus, were uncovered. These come to be added to the more than 345 wells and 388 tanks, which have been found in earlier excavations in the city.
"In accordance with the provisions of the archaeological law, the Ministry of Culture asked the Attica Metro to implement a permanent exhibition on the Water Supply System of the ancient city of Piraeus at the "Municipal Theater" station. The challenge was particular for the Ephorate of Antiquities, as the museum exhibition had to be integrated into a crowded and bustling space.
"The central idea was also the starting point for the composition of the museological concept: 'The connection of water management with the historical and social development of the city of Piraeus from the Classical period to Late Antiquity'.
"The station, but also the centre of the city of Piraeus, are decorated with an archaeological exhibition, which can act as a starting point for the interconnection - through cultural routes - of the residential and fortified remains, visible in the open archaeological sites of the modern city, of the Neosoics and the Theatre of Zea with the Archaeological Museum, creating a dynamic nexus of culture.
"The exhibition, which together with the Metro is attributed to the city, contributes to the upgrading of the quality of life of its inhabitants, especially today, when the economic, touristic and social success of cities is increasingly based on the ability to develop new points of cultural interest, which highlight their potential."
In her speech, she spoke directly to Mitsotakis, saying: "Mr. Prime Minister,
"At the beginning of our millennium, the way of managing antiquities in the context of the construction of the Metropolitan Railway of Athens created an international School, which has been accepted in the international scientific literature.
"Today, faithful to the programmatic statements of your Government, we can unreservedly support that the cooperation of the services of the Ministry of Culture with the Ministry of Infrastructure - and in this case with the Attica Metro - in all areas of work has proven that a properly designed policy can pay off tangible results on many levels.
"The Metro project in Piraeus proves that the presence of antiquities and the research of the Archaeological Service, in the context of a large public utility project, constitutes an important advantage for the city, rather than an obstacle to the smooth development of the project.
"Archaeological research tells stories from the eternal life of the city, which can be creatively combined with the development perspective of any modern city.
"This last one is proven in the case of the Metropolitan Railway in Thessaloniki. The historical benefit from the archaeological research throughout the project, especially at the "Agia Sophia" and "Venizelos" stations with the revelation - apart from the other very important Roman and Byzantine remains of residential evidence of Cassander's Thessaloniki, is enormous.
"At the end of 2023, you, Mr. Prime Minister, you will be the one who will deliver to Thessaloniki, not only the Metropolitan Railway with five station-museums, but also the largest international archaeological site included in a major technical project, in the everyday life of the city and Metro passengers".
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