Huge Aquarium Set for Athens

The Development Ministry has given the green light for the construction of a new aquarium, described as being the biggest in the Mediterranean area, to be built in Palaio Faliron, in southern Athens.

The president of the Hellenic Center for Marine Research (HCMR), Giorgos Chronis, told Kathimerini yesterday that the marine park will be built along the beachside district that accommodates Olympic Games venues.

“We are aiming at informing and making people more aware of the importance of the world of water, the dangers that it faces and the possibilities of protecting it. There will not only be sea organisms but we will also reproduce ecosystems from rivers and lakes,” Chronis said.

The aquarium park will cover 6,500 square meters and will include 100 tanks that will contain 4 million liters of water, three times more water than that contained in HCMR’s other aquarium in Crete, east of Iraklion, called Thalassocosmos.

Funds from the European Union’s Fourth Community Framework will pay for the Athens project, estimated to cost 27 million euros.

It was not clear when construction of the aquarium will be completed.

Based on approved plans, there will also be a 4,000-square-meter park which will recreate offshore, river and sea ecosystems.

Officials are optimistic about the success of the water park given the number of visitors that have attended Thalassocosmos.

Figures showed that 350,000 people have visited the aquarium in Crete since it opened in December last year.

The Cretan aquarium will get a boost with the arrival in of two bull sharks, considered to be one of the most dangerous types of shark in the world.

(Posting date 11 January 2007)

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