Monday , 23 May 2022


Positive opinion from the Central Archaeological Council for the restoration of Southern Therma in Ancient Olympia

The Central Archaeological Council unanimously gave a positive opinion on the geological and geotechnical study, the architectural preliminary study and the static preliminary study for the restoration of the Southern Thermae of Ancient Olympia, which were carried out by the competent services of the Ministry of Culture and Sports in the context of the project for the protection, restoration and promotion of the Roman Monuments of Ancient Olympia, which is in progress since 2020.
The studies were formulated after an evaluation of the pathology, the degree of danger and the necessity of promoting and integrating the Monument into the experience of touring the archaeological site of Olympia. They provide for the restoration of the architectural remains of the Southern Thermae through direct fixative interventions, the promotion and enhancement of their readability, the formation of visitor routes, in order to allow the tour within the Monuments themselves, as well as measures for the settlement of rainwater.
Following the positive opinions of the Central Archaeological Council, the Minister of Culture and Sports, Lina Mendoni, stated:
"The restoration and maintenance of the Southern Therma complex in Ancient Olympia is part of the works that we have included in our planning for the restoration and promotion of the monuments of the Roman period in the archaeological site. The interventions on these monuments are the starting point of the Cultural Route "The Road to the West. From Homer to Cervantes", which has been included in the projects of the Ministry of Culture and Sports funded by the Recovery Fund. Our goal is to promote the monument and integrate it into the visited core of the archaeological site. With the completion of the works in the Southern Thermes, as well as in the Thermes of Leonidaio and in the Early Christian Basilica, in the workshop of Pheidias, very important monuments which until today had not received the appropriate care, the archaeological site of Olympia to be visited is enlarged by at least 10 acres. In combination with the project "Ancient Olympia: Common Place" that utilizes the technologies of artificial intelligence and augmented reality – a product of cooperation between the Ministry of Culture and Microsoft – the visit to Ancient Olympia acquires new characteristics. Visitors' stay time is lengthened, as the knowledge and experiences offered have multiplied. This is also the purpose of the RRF-funded projects to strengthen local communities developmentally and economically.
The complex of South Therma in the archaeological site of Olympia is located outside the precinct of the Altis. It is an edifice that composes a particularly complex floor plan, difficult to read by the visitor. The choice of the location of the construction of the monument seems to have arisen based on the dynamic diachronic evolution of Ancient Olympia, and its operation served the growing needs of visitors. The largest part of the preserved architectural remains of the Southern Thermae belongs to the time of Diocletian, around 300 AD. The surviving architectural remains constitute three separate building units. The first and most extensive covers 2/3 of the complex to the north, and is identified with the operation of Roman baths structured around a spacious atrium. To the south there are two separate building units: the so-called "House with the mosaics" and the "House with the squared stones". The diachronic use of the monument was influenced by external factors such as earthquakes, floods, urban changes that took place in the area of Olympia and which have caused a rupture of the cohesion of the walls with the risk of collapse of parts of them.
Πηγή – Υπουργείο Πολιτισμού

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