Greece nixes Gucci's runway plans for Acropolis

The Acropolis is not for rent: Greece may be indebted, but the message over its ancient heritage is clear after it rejected a request from Gucci to hold a fashion show amid the ruins.


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The decision was reached unanimously by the Central Archaeological Council (KAS), the guardian of Greek heritage, local media reported on Wednesday.

"The Acropolis is a symbol for all mankind, which cannot be the subject of commercial transactions," Maria Andreadakis Vlazakis, general secretary at the culture ministry, was quoted as saying.

The luxury fashion house had reportedly offered two million euros towards the conservation programme for the Acropolis and was pledging to boost Athens' tourism revenues during a time of economic crisis.

"We are always open to financial support" but "the country's difficult economic situation" is not an argument for ceding the monument, said the culture ministry official.

The Greek press was less polite, with a commentary in the daily Kathimerini newspaper describing Gucci's request as a "humiliation" and the site as "shining symbol of democracy".

"The argument that it will benefit from the inflow of cash or the promotion is nothing less than a guise for abject cynicism," said the piece.

Despite some decisions by the culture ministry facilitating it, commercial exploitation of ancient Greek sites remains extremely rare.

Greek-Canadian film director Nia Vardalos and America's Francis Ford Coppola are among the few who have been allowed to shoot at the Acropolis.

Kathimerini also cited US singer Jennifer Lopez who was allowed to pose at the site in 2008 by a former culture minister, who bypassed the KAS.

The most visited heritage site in Greece, the Acropolis is made up of temples including the Parthenon, the Erechtheion and Athena Nike. They date back to the fifth century BC, the golden age of Athenian democracy.

Restoration work has been ongoing for four decades with the help of European support funds.

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