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Greece readies museum opening

February 14, 2009|Bloomberg News

Greece will formally inaugurate the New Acropolis Museum, showcasing sculptures from the 2,500-year-old Parthenon temple, on June 20, Culture Minister Antonis Samaras said Friday in Athens.

Designed by Swiss-born architect Bernard Tschumi and Greece's Michael Photiades, the glass-and-concrete museum at the foot of the temple has been built to press Greece's case for a return of the Elgin Marbles, the 5th century BC sculptures taken from the Parthenon and now housed in the British Museum.

Although an international competition to design the museum was called in 1989, court challenges by residents, the discovery of more ruins on the site and political disputes have hampered completion of the building. Greece missed the opportunity to press its case for the return of the marbles in 2004, when the world's attention was focused on Athens for the Olympic Games.

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