The Piraeus Port Authority (PPA) has handed over under a concession deal a 1934 silo on the port of Piraeus and the surrounding space to the Greek Culture Ministry so that it may be converted into a Museum of Underwater Antiquities as part of the Piraeus Cultural Coast project.
The handing-over ceremony took place this week in the presence of PPA Chairman Yu Zenggang, China’s Ambassador to Greece, Xiao Junzheng, and Culture Minister Lina Mendoni.
The project, budgeted 77.5 million euros, will be financed through RRF funds secured by the culture ministry and is set to be completed by the end of 2025.
OLP Authorities expect the Museum of Underwater Antiquities to contribute to the increase in revenues as the public and travelers will show interest in visiting the attractions.
The concession goes into effect after the finalization of the agreement and is valid through to February 12, 2052 with a nominal consideration.
“Today is a very important day,” said Mendoni. “It marks the beginning of the creation of the Museum of Underwater Antiquities in Piraeus. The establishment of the museum in the port area strengthens the cultural and changing image of Piraeus, and at the same time provides added value to PPA SA’s investment. The silo building, reborn as a Museum of Underwater Antiquities – one of the few international museums of its kind – will highlight the archaeological wealth of the Greek seas, while at the same time functioning as a tourist attraction and a source of wealth for the city of Piraeus,” she added.
On his part, Yu Zenggang expressed his satisfaction with the concession, adding that the PPA “chooses to grasp every opportunity that arises and entails benefit for the Greek society. The redevelopment of an old and historic building in the port into an exhibition space for underwater antiquities is the most suitable choice.
“We are looking forward to seeing the museum and the cultural coast come to life. We are sure that they will become key attractions in the port, open to all, attracting visitors from all over the world, while further advancing Greece role as a global cultural destination,” he added.
In this direction, last January, the culture ministry’s Council of Museums approved a series of studies financed by the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation. Under the plans, the 13,000m2 museum will be divided into galleries hosting permanent and temporary exhibitions and will include educational program facilities, an amphitheater, library, and multimedia room, preservation and restoration workshops, visitor areas, shops, café and restaurants, and offices.
It will also be one of four – including the Thematic Archaeological, Immigration and Ancient Greek Technology museums – operating as part of the ambitious Cultural Coast of Piraeus redevelopment project, which also involves the creation of a 180,000m2 open space to host leisure and theme parks. The committee had also approved the master plan for the upgrade of Piraeus port in 2019.
The Piraeus Museum of Underwater Antiquities will host findings from Greece’s seas including statues, sculptures, ship hulls and ship equipment, weapons, tools, and pottery among other things, found during underwater explorations and excavations, but also items offered by private collectors.