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Greece's Historical Landmarks at a Low, Low Price

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Yesterday, a British court ruled to evict Occupy London protesters from historic St. Paul’s Cathedral, where they have been camped out since October. Along with hygiene and public safety concerns, the judge in the case stated that the Cathedral area should be cleared to allow better access to worshippers.

Too bad the protestors don’t live in Greece where, Tuesday, the culture ministry announced that it would begin renting historical landmarks and archaeological sites. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the ministry believes rentals will be a good way to “facilitate access to the country’s ancient Greek ruins” and will help “fund the upkeep and monitoring of sites.”

Understandably, history and architecture buffs, archaeologists and anyone capable of being embarrassed for Greece are predicted to be upset by the decision.

Greece received a bailout from the EU in May 2010 but their economy has continued to struggle. They are currently working on a second bailout deal.

Trouble is looming though, as the country owes 14.5 billion euros on March 20 of this year, and has no available funds to pay it. Today, the AP quoted Greece’s finance minister who warned that a default on this debt would lead to the country’s departure from the EU.

The first site due to be rented out is the Acropolis, which was, at one point, named the top European cultural heritage location—at least according to the Greek embassy. Renters will be forced to meet very strict conditions.

They won’t, however, have to spend a lot of money. A December ministry briefing lists prices for a single day photo shoot at as low as 1,600 euros, or slightly more than $2,000.

Previously, use of the monument had been tightly monitored and only opened up for commercial use on a few occasions. It remains to be seen whether or not advertisers and filmmakers who rent the space will honor its sacred history.

Meanwhile, in cash-strapped California, many beach towns have started selling ad space on the beach -- anything to avoid default.
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