ICOMOS calls for Protection of antiquities at Thessaloniki metro station

December 14, 2020

The International Council on Monuments and Sites, a technical advisor to UNESCO is calling for the Protection of the Antiquities in situ at the Venizelos Metro station in Thessaloniki, northern Greece. The resolution comes following the decision of local authorities and the Greek Central Archeological Council to remove the antiquities and relocate them to another place.

The relocation decision triggered outrage last year.

Construction works at the metro station <Venizelos> and the archaeological excavations have brought to light a whole city from the ancient Greece and Rome and stunning findings.

More than 5000 tombs and graves were uncovered, some of them containing exquisite golden wreaths. This one dates from the late 4th to early 3rd century BC.

On resolution “Protect the antiquities in situ at the Venizelos Metro Station in Thessaloniki, Greece
Submitted by ICOMOS Hellenic National Committee and ICOMOS Europe Group
“, ICOMOS was explicit (out of 691 votes, 621 in favour, 58 abstentions, 4 against) regarding the matter of the antiquities in the under construction metro station.

The full resolution:

Agenda item 6-4-1     Resolution 20GA/14 – Protect the antiquities in situ at the Venizelos Metro Station in Thessaloniki, Greece

Submitted by ICOMOS Hellenic National Committee and ICOMOS Europe Group 

The 20th General Assembly of ICOMOS, 

Taking into account the concern expressed by ICOMOS Hellenic, as well as several other statements of concern that have been issued by national and international official, scientific and professional institutions and bodies, and by several NGOs; 

Affirming the outstanding significance of the Venizelos Metro station antiquities, a cultural ensemble that dates from late antiquity up to the transitional period and the beginning of the Middle Byzantine times (4th – 9th century CE) and comprises the main Roman marble paved road, Decumanus Maximus, and the commercial centre of Roman and Byzantine Thessaloniki; 

Noting with concern that the current development proposals threaten the integrity and authenticity of the antiquities of the Thessaloniki Metro Station, and substantially change and undermine their cultural heritage value; 

Also taking into account the ICOMOS Hellenic Heritage Alerts; 

Calls upon the Hellenic Government not to proceed with the implementation of the current plan that involves the detachment of the antiquities, given the fact that this is a monumental ensemble which constitutes an integral part of the history of the city of Thessaloniki and of the world cultural heritage; 

Invites the Hellenic authorities in charge of the management, protection and conservation of cultural heritage to revise the action plan and to implement policies and best practices, in accordance with the provisions of all relevant international charters, including the relevant ICOMOS Charter on Archaeological Heritage Management, and international conventions adopted by the Hellenic Republic.

The “INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL ON MONUMENTS AND SITES” is the technical advisor of UNESCO concerning preservation of monuments of significant cultural heritage. It consists of scientists specializing on antiquities and it is active in 104 countries.

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Published at www.keeptalkinggreece.com