Years of Depression-like economic woes and the lack of public money for restoration of archaeological sites have led many Greeks to take a personal role in preserving their country's rich cultural heritage.

Rebuilding ancient theaters. That was the objective Stavros Benos, Greece's culture minister in the late 1990s, had in mind in 2008 when he founded Diazoma.

"I was only a few weeks in the job (of culture minister) when I felt desperation on verifying the limitations of the state and of myself, as minister, to protect Greek monuments," he told Efe.

In five years, Diazoma has carried out the country's first-ever census of surviving ancient theaters and set in motion the reconstruction of 50 of those 125 monuments.

The first step in restoration is finding the money.

Diazoma brings together funds from companies, private citizens and government and takes responsibility for the first four phases of the restoration process: archaeological studies; securing the land in cases where the theater lies on private property; the excavations; and determining the details of the restoration.

At that point, Diazoma presents the project to the Greek Culture Ministry, which then seeks financing from the European Union. EFE