Melina Mercouri

20 years without Melina Mercouri

Every person, who knows the case of Parthenon sculptures, knows definitely Mrs. Melina Mercouri.

The request for the Parthenon sculpture reunification was expressed many times since the 19th century when Greece gained its independence from the Ottoman Empire.

In the General State Archives of Greece, there is a folder entitled: Akropolis Von Athen”. This book contains King Otto’s efforts for the return of the Parthenon sculptures it contains 223 documents from 1834 and 1842.


This was the first official request for the return of the Parthenon marbles.

more…. on Vima newspaper

However, Mrs. Melina Mercouri put this issue on the international scene. She expressed her perspective about the reunification of the Parthenon sculptures with passion and strong arguments. She wanted people to understand that the Parthenon sculptures are parts of a unique monument and they cannot be scattered in different museums around the world. She was the longest Minister of Culture, from October 1981 until 6 March 1994. This position gave her the opportunity to start an official campaign for the return of the Parthenon sculptures.

Melina Mercouri was a Greek actress, singer, and politician. As an actress, she played in Phaedra film, it is a 1962 American-Greek drama film directed by Jules Dassin, after his worldwide hit ‘Never on Sunday’.

She had shot a scene in the Parthenon Gallery in the British museum. She said that the idea to start the campaign for the Parthenon sculptures’ reunification was born then.
When she became the first female Minister of Culture and Sports in 1981, she was able to raise the “Parthenon sculptures reunification” issue at the UNESCO World Conference on Cultural Policies in Mexico. (1982)

She gave an amazing speech.

Merina Mercuri’s speech can be found here

“I was born a Greek, I will die a Greek” Melina Mercouri said when the junta government decided to disqualify her from Greek nationality because she had joined in the struggle against the Military Junta.

Melina Mercouri’s personality symbolizes the passionate attitude of Hellenism.

The international press called her “The last Greek Goddess.”

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