Mykonos, its festivals and… its archaeologists

Mykonos expects dozens of police to visit this week…

Police officers, financial crime specialists, environmental and building compliance inspectors… In short, absolutely not the type of people that the Greek island of partygoers and its 2 million people are used to welcoming. annual tourists.

The initiative comes from the Greek Prime Minister himself. Last Wednesday, Kiriakos Mitsotakis convened a crisis council: two decisions were taken: send civil servants as reinforcements and suspend all building permits.

Why such a display of force?

Because on March 8, on leaving the Ministry of Culture in Athens, archaeologist Manolis Psarros was violently attacked. The doctors, like the police, in view of the injuries, speak of a work of professionals.

It didn’t take long to figure out where the order came from: the archaeologist oversees all the building permits granted on Mykonos.

When you say “supervise”… Is he the one who distributes building permits?

In Greece, archaeologists are among those who give their consent for new constructions, especially near sensitive archaeological sites. However, before being a permanent festival, Mikonos was an island of pilgrimage throughout antiquity:

And this thanks to its sister island, Delos which was a sacred island, with inviolable and wealthy temples and thousands of inhabitants. Hence the luxury of precautions taken by these state officials who are therefore impediments to getting rich in circles.

Other officials/archaeologists were thereby intimidated

The local office where the archaeological services work is used to being intimidated, receiving insulting letters or being taken to task on the construction sites. But a mafia contract on an Athenian civil servant is still a notch above.

A notch that the Prime Minister summed up in one sentence: “Mykonos is out of control”. It must be said that building a hotel or a villa on this island brings in so much money that some promoters go crazy when they get a permit.

In Greece, tourism represents a quarter of GDP and Athens emerged from the pandemic with a bang: the growth of the sector has been spectacular and Greece is now approaching 30 million annual tourists.

But what are these crooked promoters hoping for?

What their predecessors have always been able to obtain from successive governments: a general amnesty for all illegally constructed buildings.

Since 1974, the Greek authorities have granted amnesty to these illegal constructions nine times. It is still necessary to build and quickly to create a fait accompli… Between two amnesties, the promoters pay the fines.

However, archaeologists prevent these rapid calculations of millionaires in euros and these attacks on heritage by their control of building permits and by their preventive excavations on construction sites with a small trowel and a delicate brush.

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