Athenians go to war over two views of history





It was designed by a friend of Pablo Picasso, adorned with mosaics depicting Oedipus and the Sphinx, and described as Art Deco at its Athenian best. But a row about the building that guidebooks describe as a 'must-see' on the boulevard linking the Greek capital's great classical sites is now threatening to eclipse the opening of Europe's most ambitious museum. All because the 1930s building blocks the view from a restaurant.

Culture Ministry officials say the four-storey architectural gem designed by Vassilis Kouremenos commits the cardinal sin of blocking a visitor's view of the Parthenon from the vantage point of the New Acropolis Museum's dining terrace. Unrivalled vistas have been the biggest selling point of the stunning museum built at the foot of the Periclean masterpiece to promote its golden age wonders - including one day, Greeks hope, the Elgin Marbles, currently housed in the British Museum.


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