The “petrified Mermaid,” a statue created by Greek artist Dionysis Karipidis, no longer adorns Portokali beach in Chalkidiki, northern Greece.
The artist destroyed his own work with a sledgehammer when he was asked to pay a fine for “destroying the natural landscape.” The mermaid had been an interesting attraction for thousands of tourists that visited the beach each summer since 1997, when Karipidis carved the mermaid on the beach rocks.
The local municipality sent a letter to the artist requesting that he pays a 533.61-euro fine since his work had destroyed the natural landscape. Karipidis responded with a letter of his own in March 2014, in which he stated that if he was forced to pay the fine, he would then destroy his creation.
According to the mayor Yiannis Tzitzios, the fine was imposed on Karipidis by the area’s tourist authorities and the municipality did not wish to have the famous sculpture destroyed.
“The fine has not been attested by the municipality, but since the offense took place in our area, we were forced to collect it. Once we received Karipidis’ letter we sought every legal way to delete the fine or pay it with municipality expenses. However, we found this to be illegal. Therefore, the city council chairman proposed that we pay the fine ourselves, as individuals, and not with the municipality’s money. Unfortunately, due to a misunderstanding, we did not have enough time to sort out the issue,” said the mayor.
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