Greece Looks to Ancient Writers to Reforest Olympia


Testimony from ancient Greek writers will be used in the reforestation of Ancient Olympia after it was damaged by a swathe of wildfires in August, the Greek culture ministry said on Thursday.

The hills around this small town fn the southern Peloponnese peninsula will be mainly replanted with thousands of bushes and olive trees in line with the writings of Pausanias, a 2nd century AD traveller and geographer. The writings of Theofrastus, a 4th century BCE philosopher who wrote a treatise on botany, will also be employed, the ministry said in a statement.

Crews in Olympia, which gave birth to the ancient Olympics and hosts the biennial ceremony to light the Olympic torch for each Games, are working hard to prepare the city for the 2008 Beijing Olympics ceremony in March.

The 12-day inferno in August burned trees behind the Olympia archaeoiogical museum and grass on the slopes of the ancient stadium where thousands attend the lighting ceremony for the Games every two years.

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis last month pledged that the Beijing Games flame-lighting ceremony, scheduled for March 24, will go ahead "in a setting worthy of the history and symbolism of the site".

(Posting date 4 December 2007)

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