We are indeed privileged to be living in a country where every inch of ground bears witness to its culture and history. Besides the renowned historical sites – Athens, Delphi, Olympia and many others – there are monuments everywhere: ancient sanctuaries, chapels on inaccessible mountain tops and at the bottom of the sea there are sunken ports, ships, works of art, plain amphorae and much more, in abundance. This is a unique privilege, which however creates a serious obligation for us to protect such a heritage.

The protection of cultural goods is not only a moral obligation. Cultural heritage also constitutes an asset in the literal sense of the word.

Moreover the monuments, conveying the richness of our culture, bestow prestige to our country and provide a base upon which arguments concerning the handling of our national affairs can rest. Let us not forget that this prestigious heritage, the philosophy, the political ideas and art, greatly encouraged the development of philhellenism, which in its turn contributed very much to the attainment of our national independence.

Thus beyond any reasons of expediency, our cultural heritage remains a leading force, our inner strength, and our pride.

The power of tradition has sustained Hellenism through the centuries, nourished by the presence of monuments in people’s daily surroundings. Only appropriate institutions, the use of technology, the creation of museums and other related activities can secure this presence,

Naturally, additional manpower, funds and means are required to those available today. Most important of all we need to experience our heritage differently and this will only happen when our inadequate educational system is radically changed. We will provide successful protection of our heritage only when every Greek citizen becomes its sensitive and passionate guardian.

Melina Mercouri