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11 February, 2000
Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Thursday visited the site of an ambitious project to link major archaeological sites around the Acropolis by a system of walkways, saying that the project would make the Greek capital a better place to live in.
"A walk around the historic center will allow ease of access to archaeological sites and citizens will be able to use these for recreation...in a more livable city," he said.
He noted that similar projects were under way in other parts of Greece, such as Dion and Thessaloniki, and said that such projects were changing the face of Greece. "We are realizing the desires of citizens and innovators," he said.
Simitis was accompanied on his tour by Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis and Culture Minister Elizabeth Papazoi
Work began on the paving of the major avenue at the foot of the Acropolis, Dionysiou Aeropagitou Street, earlier this year. It is the first substantial step towards realizing the project to create a so-called 'archaeological park', first articulated by late Athens Mayor Antonis Tritsis and late Culture Minister Melina Mercouri.
On its completion, the park will be comprised of the ancient sites of the Parthenon, the Thisseion, the yet-to-be-built Acropolis Museum at Makriyanni and Hadrian's Arch.
This phase of the project is budgeted at 600 million drachmas and is expected to be completed in August, 2001. In all, the entire project to unite archaeological sites from Keramikos to Vassilisis Amalias Avenue is expected to cost 4.6 billion drachmas, funded by the Third Community Support Framework.
Source: Athens News Agency