Greece’s Ministry of Culture has written a letter to various government agencies, stating that it plans to list the vast majority of land at the old Athens airport as an archaeological site, threatening a massive multi-billion dollar development that is estimated to create 80,000 jobs.
Despite being used as an airport, as well as the site for numerous Olympics venues during the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, and now as a camp for thousands of refugees, the Culture Ministry’s General Directorate for Antiquities and Cultural Heritage plans to declare the site sacred— which will complicate efforts to develop the land.
Greeks turned to Twitter to voice their outrage and sarcasm. One user noted that soon, we’ll learn that Alexander the Great’s tomb was found at Hellenikon.
Σημερα θα μαθουμε οτι στο Ελληνικο βρισκεται ο ταφος του Μ.Αλεξανδρου
— megalosgazmas (@megalosgazmas) August 6, 2016
Poking more fun, other users shared images of the archaeological “ruins” at the Hellinikon site.
— Σπύρος Ζ. (@spyros1000) August 6, 2016
Αρχαιολογικός χωρίς λέει το Υπ. Πολιτισμού ολόκληρο το Ελληνικό. Μάλλον βρέθηκε ο τάφος της Ολυμπιαδας του 2004… pic.twitter.com/0WrsG4PbGk
— Jo Di (@jodigraphics15) August 6, 2016
The Greek government’s privatization agency signed a deal with Lambda Development, which had planned to create a massive development with parks, commercial and residential real estate, sports and cultural infrastructure.
Kathimerini, Greece’s largest daily newspaper reported on the matter, noting that the Culture Ministry’s plans could further complicate the proposed project.
“If the ministry goes ahead with its plan, the Greek government not only faces the prospect of the much-delayed privatization project, which was first agreed in 2014, being beset by more complications, but also the possibility that Lamda Development could seek damages from the Greek state,” Kathimerini stated in its Greek, and English editions.