The galleries of the new Acropolis Museum will be officially unveiled on June 20, Greek Culture Minister Antonis Samaras announced here on Wednesday.
Unveiling the events program and announcing the composition of the new museum's board, Samaras said that the inauguration ceremony will be accompanied by a week of events in the city of Athens. In keeping with the importance of the antiquities in the museum, heads of state and government, noted international figures and broadcast on television throughout the world are invited to attend the opening ceremony.
Samaras also stressed that the unveiling of the exhibits will use "unexpected" methods, with new technologies used to showcase the antiquities acting as the "artistic event" of the evening.
Security during the five days of events is being covered by Greece's Interior Ministry, while a cruise of the Saronic Gulf has been organized for the day after the inauguration ceremony for the heads of state and government attending.
According to the minister, the cost of the inauguration is expected to be roughly half the six million euros originally announced. The Greek Cultural Ministry has set the admission price for the museum at one euro throughout 2009, in view of the crisis and in consideration for Greek taxpayers that funded its construction, while from 2010 the admission price will rise to 5 euros. From 2011 onwards, the price of the ticket will be adjusted, with special discounts for pensioners, children, students and the disabled.
The new Acropolis Museum is built below the well-known Parthenon temple of the Acropolis. Greece has campaigned for decades to retrieve the Parthenon sculptures from the British Museum, which was removed some 200 years ago by Lord Elgin, then British ambassador the Ottoman Empire which ruled Greece at the time.
Greece holds that those marbles are an integral part of one the world's most important monuments, but the British Museum has refused to return the treasures.