This Europe: Greek myths theme park hits legal buffers

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The Independent Online

Controversial plans for a mythology theme park on the outskirts of Athens could be ruled out on a technicality, after a Greek high court decision.

Controversial plans for a mythology theme park on the outskirts of Athens could be ruled out on a technicality, after a Greek high court decision.

The €200m Mythos Park development is intended to give Greek mythology the Disney treatment, with hi-tech Hercules adventure rides and Poseidon water features. The government has ignored opposition from residents, artists and environmentalists, but could now fall victim to its own slow progress.

The land on which developers want to build was appropriated by the national tourism organisation in 1971. But the developers took three decades to announce what they intended to do with it. A preliminary ruling from the council of state last week said the delay constituted a breach of the compulsory purchase order and could lead to the land being returned to a collective of the original owners.

The move was welcomed by critics who have attacked artists' impressions of the park prepared by the British consultants Scott Brownrigg and Turner as "Las Vegas kitsch". The drawings show enormous statues of Greek gods doing battle with monsters while tourists in rollercoaster cars weave between the prongs of a giant trident in "a world of visionary scientists and philosophers".

Supporters of the park, such as the Greek-Cypriot architect Xanthos Menelaou, insist the development will boost the tourist industry. "They know archaeological places don't attract tourists. If you want a financially healthy industry, you have to give tourists what they want."

Critics are joined by local residents, who fear the impact of the 400-acre development on one of the few stretches of wild coastline left in Attica. A final decision is expected next month.

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