Mr. Christos Tsitouras, Chairman and Managing Director of ATTIKO METRO S.A., said there is no safe technical solution for the maintenance of the archaeological finds at the Venizelos metro station in Thessaloniki, during a Press Conference he gave yesterday, along with Mr. Stratos Simopoulos, General Secretary of Public Works.
The Press Conference was held in order to answer to the appeals made by the Association of Greek Archaeologists and many members of the scientific community regarding the antiquities found during the construction of Thessaloniki’s underground railway station. The Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, Culture and Sports has decided to have the antiquities detached and moved to the Pavlos Melas barracks, while archaeologists requested that the decision should be re-examined and that “every effort be made to find a technical solution which would allow the antiquities to be preserved in situ as a visitable archaeological site inside Venizelos Metro station”.
Mr. Simopoulos stated that this “obstacle” should be surmounted, in order for the project to proceed. “I fully respect the value of the finds, the history of the city and the significance of the historical memory. In order to have a future, people should have a memory.” Nevertheless, he said, there is no technical solution for incorporating the finds within the station. At the same time, the station cannot be removed from the metro map, according to Mr. Simopoulos, as a redesigning of the metro map would mean years behind schedule.
The Venizelos station is estimated to become the fourth most busy station of the Thessaloniki underground railway. As Mr. Tsitouras declared, for the construction and the archaeological investigations of this particular station 20 million euros have already been spent. The abolishment of the station, due to the preservation of the antiquities in situ, would cause many unpleasant traffic, environmental, social and economic consequences, as it would deprive 76,000 citizens a day from the fast, reliable and safe transportation the metro offers.