Editor’s note: It is not often that PNC publishes a press release, instead of using the press release for background information to write our own article. Press releases are, by their nature, written from a biased point of view. However, we felt the information presented and the point of view represented would be of interest to our readers and are publishing it as a Letter to the Editor.
In an ancient part, of the modern city of Thessaloniki, now a part of the municipality of Thermaikos lays the Square of Antigonidon. Once part of a sacred district of Temples, today if one were to drive by the square you would never realize that under the areas urban sprawl and sandwiched in-between modern buildings lays a treasure of enormous significance, a beautiful 6th century Temple to the Goddess Aphrodite.
First excavated in 1936, the temple, which is 200 years older than the Parthenon was all but forgotten during the Nazi occupation of Greece in World War II. It was not until 2000, that fate of this lost treasure resurfaced due to the demolition of a two story building, which rested above the Temple. This allowed archaeologists once again to excavate the location. This time having the opportunity to uncover one-third of this forgotten piece of Thessaloniki’s history and thanks to the efforts of those involved, a small fraction of the treasures from this site is now on display in the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki.
At present, the Greek Government is attempting to entomb and conceal the Temple, rather than fully excavating the site. Originally upon its discovery, an initial decision was made to continue its excavation; however, this decision was later overturned. Since then the fate of this important part of Hellenic history has been ‘frozen’ and was rescheduled to be discussed in April of 2011, but has since been postponed to be reopened early this year. If the Greek Government and the property owner get their way, the temple will remain buried, and an irreplaceable national treasure will be lost.