The Greek government has decided to remove more than 2,000 ancient sites, monuments and museums from a state assets fund after archaeologists protested, fearing the country’s heritage might be sold off.
Among the sites included was the Palace of Knossos in Crete, the archaeological site of Aigai (Vergina), Thessaloniki’s emblematic White Tower and Spinalonga, a small island which was a leper colony until 1957 and was featured in Victoria Hislop’s best-selling book “The Island”.
Hundreds of Byzantine and Ottoman-era monuments were also put into the fund, which is a holding company owned by the Greek state, to satisfy Greece’s foreign creditors under terms of the last financial bailout in 2015.
“The cultural assets are exempted,” Culture Minister Myrsini Zorba announced to reporters on Tuesday, saying there was a formal ministerial decree on the matter. She added that “We have 2,330 assets which are protected through a legal act, and we can now rest.”
Zorba said that a full list of all the archaeological sites and assets would be published at a later date.