Wed, Jul 21, 2004 - Page 19 News List

Greeks light up Acropolis

AP , ATHENS, GREECE

The Parthenon and other ancient monuments on the Acropolis Hill were bathed in honeycomb-colored light on Monday as part of project to highlight the city's monuments before the Aug. 13-29 Olympics.

Illumination around other high points of the city was dimmed as hundreds of spotlights around the Acropolis -- known to Greeks as the "sacred rock" -- were switched on.

French engineer Pierre Bideau, who designed the millennium lights-and-fireworks spectacle at the Eiffel Tower, is heading the Athens venture. It will eventually include nearby ancient sites which are linked by a pedestrian walkway, as well as the city's Lycabettus Hill.

Athens is keen to show off its ancient heritage during the games, and has also launched a barrage of schemes to tidy up this crowded city of 4 million residents -- granting cash incentives to paint building facades while covering others with giant colorful banners.

But work on monuments will not be finished by mid-August and scaffolding propping up parts of the 2,500-year-old Parthenon will still be there during the Olympics.

Bideau teamed up on the lighting project with Michael Cacoyannis, director of the 1964 film Zorba the Greek. The project received backing from the culture ministry, the City of Athens and private donors.

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