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Olympia Under Threat !


Poliochni

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well, look at its this way: they can now systematically lay out the new fire-proof trees and vegetation and lay out an irrigation system to prevent this; and in a few years, all will be new and green again -- and perhaps in a more ordered way. Just in time for 2036.

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I can not discribe my feelings those days... it all feels so surreal.. all those people in pain, the news on the tv, our wonderful forests of peloponisos gone, politicians that speak lies,... i cant take it anymore.. it just feels like...

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Savas, do you have additional pictures of Olympia and its surroundings? What is the condition in Olympia right now? -- The reports here in Germany are very contradictory: Some say that the ancient complex wasn't harmed at all, others say that at least the vegetation all around the complex was severely harmed. Is it already possible to say that Olympia is out of danger?

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Here some pictures i find... from spiegel magazin:

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By now the information is:

The "Kronios Hill" is burned down. This is the site were the Ceremony of the Lighting takes place......

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The old Museum of Ancient Olympia is ok. Nothing has been damaged. The trees around the Ancient Stadium burned and the surface of the grass ground at the east side of the stadium burned...

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Savas, what is the vegetation in the Peloponesus that burned down? Olive trees? Did that part of Greece have a very dry winter and spring in that the trees became very dry and burned easily? Over the centuries (since weather is cyclical), hasn't this happened before? Have the Greeks spoken of hubris?

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Also the Memorial of Pierre de Coubertin has been burned...

http://www.ert.gr/site/news/photos/img70x7...katastrofes.jpg

I just read on ERT (National Broadcaster) that work has beginn on Ancient Olympia to recover the place from the damages:

As i said, the "Kronios Hill" that surrenders the "Holy Alte" burned down. The small forest of the International Olympic Academy burned. The Ministry of Culture and the Hellenic Olympic Academy already send today scientists, botanologic and forest experts and an architecz team to analyze the damages and to start with the recovery works. At the first phase all trees that burned wil be cut down . The Departement of Culture Heritage and Reconstruction of Museums and Ancient Sites set a team to analyze if the Statues and other treasures has been damaged by the smoke. It has been set a team of experts by the Institute of Agronomic Sciences who will controll the works of reforest of the site....

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Savas, what is the vegetation in the Peloponesus that burned down? Olive trees? Did that part of Greece have a very dry winter and spring in that the trees became very dry and burned easily? Over the centuries (since weather is cyclical), hasn't this happened before? Have the Greeks spoken of hubris?

The vegetation of Peloponisos is.. was.. the richest in greece and the most beautiful... Forests of Firs, Pines, Platanes, Cypresses and so many other domestic trees.. Also plantages of olives, orangetrees, lemontrees which are parts of agriculture... The weather in Greece has been very hot and extremely dry the last 2 months... Since the wildfires we had 38-42° and very strong winds... So even the deepest forests were very dry and perfectly prepared to burn....

This is a real katastrophy. Some of the forests were over 1000 years old... Not to talk about the villages which burned down,....

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Also the Memorial of Pierre de Coubertin has been burned...

http://www.ert.gr/site/news/photos/img70x7...katastrofes.jpg

Holy Zeus, for a moment there I thought I would have to fly to Olympia to identify the heart of Great-grandpappy!! :blink: You almost gave me a similar heart attack, Savas.

But thankfully, the stone memorial really didn't burn. Just the trees around it. Yes, we deCoubertins have strong hearts!

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Actually the fire did reached the Memorial. Thankfully there is an automatic hydrosystem that extinguishes fire which rescued the memorial.

As for the rest of Ancient Olympia

- Kronios Hill (were the Lighting Ceremony takes place)

The trees of the upper hill burned. They will be replaced and they will be already next year green because they grow up very fast (chalepion pins)

By the rest of the trees the upper part of them has been burned so after some minor works they will recover by themselfes.

The Hill will be also planted with Kermie's, Myrte and Daphnes as Pafsanias described in ancient times. Those works will take 4 months-

The Ancient Stadium

The Stadium and the ground are in a very good condition. Only the surface of the grass has benn damaged not the roots. In less then 2 weeks the ground will be in the previous condition

Memorial of Pierre de Coubertin

The Memorial itself is ok. Only some cleaning works are necessary. The burned Cypresses of the memorial will all be replaced by new ones that are already 4 meter high.

That means that till spring 2008 when the Ceremony for Beijing will take place, Ancient Olympia will be as we now it.

Very good news...

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Good to hear that. But I am sorry for all those lives lost as seen in the TV news. The US always deals with a lot of forest fires EVERY year. And many homes are also lost.

R they sure it's developers who set the other fires? Maybe it's landscapers and nurseries too, so that the gov't will be forced to buy baby trees to replace the burnt ones? I think with the house developers, it would be too obvious.

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Well that is the big question. Normally there are fires around athens or other populous places were building contractors or others have big interest on the ground. But those forests and villages which burned down are not financial interesting.. at least not obvious. The most villages are little sweet villages with stone houses were old people live... Some fires were made from careless actions. For example an 77 old woman made a small fire in her garden to burn old branches... Unbelievable but this was the reason for one big fire. But wildfires made out of careless actions make only 10%. The rest arsons... 17 men are already in custody. Today one romanian did get caught while he tried to set fire in the middle of a forest in Ilia, Peloponnisos... Perhaps he was angry about bad payment maybe for fun.... no idea..!!! Some people talk about political reasons (to destabilize the current government)...

The biggest problem in my opinion is the law and the fact that there is no forest-cadaster. That means that it isnt clear where a forest ends. And the law for land use allows to change the use of land!!! You do not have to be a genius to understand why we have so many fires... Until now we never had to evacuate villages, almost no people died because of the fire (except 3 firefighters in 2000). But this year the situation is extremly unusual... Time will show why and who...

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I heard that experts have already examined the damage to the area's surrounds and the site has been reopened to visitors.

I looked at the IOC site today and there hasn't even been a small press release regarding the issue or about any assistance to repair the damage to the site. It seems the IOC is keen to use the site for the flame lighting ceremony every two years and benefit billions using the Olympic name and promote evoke its ancient ideals, but has not shown much interest in the site. At least the god's spared the site and the archaelogical museum and its amazing sculptures.

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All of this is a real tragedy... my sympathies to the Greek people.

But it reminds me when some years ago, a Czech tourist made a bonfire in the Paine Towers National Park. The fire went out of control and it destroyed more than 70% of the third largest National Park in the country and one of the most visited. After all the irreparable damage, he just had to pay less than 100 dollars... <_<

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Today the mayor of Munich sent a letter to the President of the Hellenic Republic, saying that the municipality of Munich, as an Olympic city, will pay all expenses for making the Kronios Hill (the trees around the Coubertin memorial) as it was before fires. Also they will help with the training of firefighters.

I wonder why IOC hasn't react yet about the fires in Ancient Olympia. Does anyone have an e-mail address I can send them a mail. I searched www.olympic.org, but I didn't find any e-mail anywhere.

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Seriously guys, I can't belive the IOC does not even mention anything on its website, even a goodwill gesture of compassion. It is indeed astonishing. Olympia is a world treasure, not just for Greece. I am astounded by the deafening silence from the IOC. It is obvious that it is an organisation that has indeed strayed from its initial roots as forseen by Baron De Coubertin.

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I actually think that it's wise for the IOC to keep a low profile at the moment. As an Olympic geek myself I am of course deeply concerned by what happened at Olympia. This being said, I think the real tragedy happened somewhere else in Greece where more than 60 people were killed during the fire. There is a controversy in Greece at the moment about how much energy was spent to save Olympia while people were trapped in their villages surrounded by flames.

There will be plenty of time to take care of Olympia when the political situation has cooled down in Greece and I am sure the IOC will be involved then.

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Help from Munich for Ancient Olympia

"The major of the city of Munich Christian Ude send a letter to the President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias to express the wish of Munich as an olympic city to undertake the task of regeneration of the Kronios Hill. For the start of this effort Munich provides 100.000 euros. In Munich lives the biggest hellenic community in Europe. The initiative will present the president of the Hellenic-German enterprises, Sigrid Skarpelis Sperk."

News in Greek:

www.naftemporiki.gr

News in German:

www.welt.de

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I actually think that it's wise for the IOC to keep a low profile at the moment. As an Olympic geek myself I am of course deeply concerned by what happened at Olympia. This being said, I think the real tragedy happened somewhere else in Greece where more than 60 people were killed during the fire. There is a controversy in Greece at the moment about how much energy was spent to save Olympia while people were trapped in their villages surrounded by flames.

That's true. It's great that so many people from around the world want to help to refurbish Olympia -- but it leaves a very bitter taste to hear that the people in the surrounding towns and villages had to wait for the firefighters. It's certainly not an easy decision, but I'd have accepted if more of the grove of Olympia had burned down if only that could have saved some more lives in Olympia's surroundings. You can replace trees, but you can't replace human lives.

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I don't think you guys are getting the point. The assistance that would be given would not just be for the ancient site as a lot of people have been affected by the fires, and yes lives were lost. This is exactly why the IOC should not only at the very least express its condolences to these people as caretakers of the site as well as offer some help. Don't forget a lot of people in the valley rely on the tourism to the region. So what are you saying.. don't help them. I am astounded by the IOC's inaction. There were people who fought so hard to save the site and sacrificed their own homes to ensure this site was not lost forever.

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I don't think you guys are getting the point. The assistance that would be given would not just be for the ancient site as a lot of people have been affected by the fires, and yes lives were lost. This is exactly why the IOC should not only at the very least express its condolences to these people as caretakers of the site as well as offer some help. Don't forget a lot of people in the valley rely on the tourism to the region. So what are you saying.. don't help them. I am astounded by the IOC's inaction. There were people who fought so hard to save the site and sacrificed their own homes to ensure this site was not lost forever.

Huh? :blink: You're comparing ancient stone to present day flesh-&-blood? Where r your priorities?

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baron-pierreIV, where am I comparing "ancient stone to present day flesh-&-blood?" Of course not. I am saying that the IOC has not expressed its condolensces to the people of the region and I believe it should as it does have some connection to the region. One of the worst affected areas was indeed the municipality of ancient Olympia. Does the IOC only care for the place every two years. I would have thought there was greater sensitivity to the area. I am not saying that lives are less important. I am saying the site was at the centre of the fires and the IOC has not expressed any concern at all.

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