Greek rules about: Photos with archaeological contents.


This might be unknown to most of the tourists visiting Greece.

It is NOT permitted to publish any picture with archaeological contents without permission from the Greek Ministry of Culture and paying a fee for it. This also includes 'vacation-photos' on your homepage or blog.

As an example: This website should pay more than 8000 € per year just for showing the photos with "archaeological contents". The law ("pricelist") is shown at the bottom of this page.
From 'Samostour' we normally say what we mean about things, but in this case we will just inform about our unforgettable experience (and the judgment is up to you).

The background for our experience:

Torben has for more than a year been working on a project about The Eupalinos tunnel and all the research work has been made in cooperation with Jan. The project covers following theories:

1.    How Eupalinos may have performed the survey.
2.    A detailed description of likely used tools and the calculating methods.
3.    Why the tunnel apparently is placed 3½ meter too high.
4.    Eupalinos’ original plan and the reason for changing it.

The theory is based solely on official physical facts about the tunnel, our common research and what Torben view as logical assumptions. This is to keep the theory free of all non-verifiable statements.
To complete the work we only need a few pictures from the non-public northern part of the tunnel. Then we will show the theory on 'Samostour'.

A request for permission to visit the tunnel became nearly a "project-stopper".

We visited the Archaeological Museum in Pythagorion to ask for permission to visit the northern part of the Eupalinos Tunnel. As soon as we parked, two employees came out and asked what we wanted. We informed them about the project, asked them to assist us to get a permission to visit the non-public part of the tunnel and Torben showed them a work-copy of the project.

Jan would take a picture of Torben (as reportage) but was very effectively stopped – no photography was allowed (on a parking lot!).

The employees looked at the pictures and the illustrations in the work-copy and from that moment, everything was completely turned ‘upside down’. They were more interested in how we had taken the pictures than what we had asked for. We explained that we just had been walking around in the nature and taken the pictures.

The employees asked if we had permission for taking the pictures. Permission was needed because it was an archaeological area. We said that if permission was necessary to take pictures in public areas, then they had to arrange permission for us. We were asked to come back next day after 10 o’clock.

Next day the application was made. 3 days later I (Torben) got a telephone call from the museum. They needed 2 pictures for the permission and I was told that I had to pay for the permission. Price: 100 € or 1000 € depending on if there were none or some people on the pictures. I said that if this was right they could cancel the application at once, because I did not wanted both to pay a fortune and use a lot of time to make free marketing work for Samos and Greece. They told me that it was the law, and if I wanted to cancel the application, I had to do it in writing.

Finally I was informed, that it was only possible to visit the south end of the tunnel, the northern part was closed for visitors and only engineers and workers could visit that part.
The permission to visit the north part of the tunnel (so we could finish the project) was what we have asked for and it was the only reason for contacting the museum.

Next day I had the application cancelled, and during this visit, I asked for further explanation of the rules. To be sure that I fully understood the rather strange logic behind their interpretation of the law, I asked them to answer a few hypothetical examples:

1. “The bus stop in Pythagorion is located in front of a fence enclosing a small archaeological excavation. If my wife was standing in front of the fence waiting for the bus, and I wanted to take a picture of her and show it on the internet together with my other vacation pictures, do I then need a permission, and what do I have to pay?”


Their unambiguous answer was: “Yes, you need the permission, and because there are people on the picture you have to pay 1000 Euro! “
- - - - -
2. “If I see some big carved stones up in the mountains that might be the remains from an aqueduct or something other ancient, do I then have to consider it to be an archaeological area?”


Again a clear answer: “Yes”

I was shocked that the rules were so restrictive, so I just said thank you very much for the unforgettable experience and left the museum.


7 July (2008) we applied The Ministry of Culture for "A general and free permission to take photographs in archaeological areas on Samos, and permission to show the photos on our website" - we have now received a reply dated 17. Sept. 2008. Here it is: The Ministry's reply.(PDF-file).
The reply was (as expected) negative! We now have taken our own precautions so we can use our photos without paying a fortune every year and waiting for permission and approval of the text from the Ministry.
Therefore the pages containing photos with some kind of archaeological contents will have an extra function, and the visitors will have to ask for the possibility to see our private photos!
The alternative would be to remove all the pictures or substitute them with drawings.


Not even fools will pay a fortune and use a lot of time
to make FREE information and marketing work!


Ministerial Decision of the Hellenic Republic: ΦΕΚ: Β 1491 20051027

Translation found on:
Link to full law text (in Greek):

(Part of the text)
For educational, informational, scientific and cultural purposes the relevant fees are significantly lower.

Especially for use on the Internet for one month €20 per picture, six months €60 per picture, for a year €80 per picture, for two years €100 per picture. These fees apply only to pictures of low resolution (72 dpi) and only in one language. There applies a 50% increase for each additional language for each picture. For non-static pictures and higher resolution pictures an additional 60% is charged per picture. Furthermore a specific procedure for acquiring license of use of images of archaeological content is foreseen in the decision. An application should be submitted to the responsible Directorate of the Greek Ministry of Culture (ΥΠ.ΠΟ) (Directorate of Museums, Exhibitions, Educational programmes, Department of non public archaeological museums and collections, handling of antiquities and combating illicit trade in antiquities) or to the responsible regional authorities of the Ministry of Culture (Offices of prehistoric and classic antiquities, offices of Byzantine antiquities).

In addition all the images should be accompanied by short texts (captions) with the consent of the Ministry of Culture with the following information:

a) for the immovable monuments: Name of Monument- Place (optionally Date and Use)

b) for movable antiquities: Name of object and Place (Museum, Collection) number of Index (optionally Date and Use).

In addition it should be written that the Copyright of the pictures belongs to the Greek Ministry of Culture as follows: "The Copyright on the depicted antiquities belongs to the Hellenic Ministry of Culture (law 3028/2002”. The images for which license is given should not be presented in a way that corrupts their content (composition, overlapping etc) without the prior special license of the Ministry of Culture. Non compliance with the aforementioned procedure brings upon sanctions according to law.