by Alexia Vlachou
ATHENS, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- Italian Professor at the University of Southampton Salvatore Lo Sicco crossed more than 3,200 kilometers across Europe with his bike this summer to raise awareness for the reunification of the Parthenon marbles.
Dr. Lo Sicco began his bike tour campaign on July 1 from the courtyard of the British Museum in London, where the part of the Parthenon marbles are on display for decades, and ended his journey on August 9 at the entrance of the new Acropolis Museum in Athens, where empty spaces await their return to Greece.
As soon as he reached his destination, his first move was to donate his bike to the museum which was inaugurated five years ago, as a gesture of “love for Greece for democracy and Arts.”
Lo Sicco passed through many European countries, like France and Italy, dealing with difficult weather conditions, but after 35 days and 8 hours, he completed his initiative, waving the Greek national flag.
“I believe that the repatriation of the Parthenon Marbles is a moral and historic duty for all of us. We can give a strong shake to Europe”, Lo Sicco said upon his arrival in Athens.
Deputy Minister of Culture Angela Gerekou welcomed him and congratulated him for his effort. “Initiatives like yours fill us with power to continue fighting for a request that is not only Greek, but international”, Gerekou stated.
For his courageous attempt, Ministry of Culture honored him with a pigeon figurine which was a copy of a sculpture from the Hellenistic period, along with an air- ticket back to London.
Lo Sicco’s “London to Athens Bike Tour 2014” was supported by the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles.
In 2005, British doctor and activist Chris Stockdale completed a similar expedition cycling for about 20 days from London to Athens.
Despite international calls to return the Parthenon marbles to Athens, the British Museum officials have rebuffed repeated requests for the return of the 2,500-year-old marbles removed from the Parthenon in 1806 by Lord Elgin, British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire when it ruled Greece.