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Crete, the island of miracles

Crete, land of Daidalos and Ikaros, is the largest island of Greece, separating the Aegean from the Libyan Sea and marking the boundary between Europe and Africa. On Crete, the scenery is constantly changing.
Majestic mountains rise in its centre –the Lefka Ori, Psiloritis, Dikti– full of legends and history, while its plateaus are split by deep gorges, ending up in lush valleys.
This island’s fertile soil and towering peaks witnessed the development of one of the most important civilizations on earth, the Minoan (2800-1150 B.C.).
With its clear, warm sea, boundless beaches lined with tamarisks and mild starry nights, Crete is an idyllic place for vacation but for living as well, in bustling Iraklio, cosmopolitan Aghios Nikolaos, picturesque Rethymno or enchanting Chania.

“You in Greece” campaign – Facts about Greece

  Facts about Greece

· Greece is a safe country

Supportive data: According to Legatum Prosperity Index, Greece faces comparatively few security challenges. Domestic security is favorable. Moreover, according to Eurostat, Greece is a country with a relatively low rate of criminality. The feeling of security is well established in society.
· Greece is an attractive destination.
This comes not only due to its physical beauty but mostly due to the “value for money” relationship in the provided services.
Supportive data: According to a poll, conducted in a population of 1200 people,52% of the sample believes that the quality of travel services offered in Greece are of very good standard and 42% believes that the travel services offered in Greece rival those offered in other touristdeveloped tourist markets.

· Greece is a western democracy and the majority of Greek society supports government policy.
Supportive data: A recent research conducted by Kapa Focus research company on behalf of the weekly Newspaper ‘To Vima’, shows that 55,2% of Greeks support the austerity measures imposed by the Greek Government.
·  Demonstrations are strictly local and limited events/occurrences. They take place mostly in the center of Athens, in a specific and controlled area. The mainland regions and the islands of the Greek Archipelago, where the vast majority of tourists go, are not affected at all.
Supportive data: According to Eurostat, Greece is a favourite destination. Especially, in South Aegean and Ionian Islands, it appears that 48.168 stays and 33.304 per 1000 citizens took place, a proof of satisfaction for the Greek touristic product.
· Greece is a tourist country and Greeks know the importance of hospitality.
Supportive data: Zeus, the King of the Greek Gods, according to the Greek Mythology, named as Xenios (the one who offers hospitality) Zeus.
·  The overall number of demonstrations in Greece is lower than the E.U average.
Supportive data:All demonstrations occurred in Athens, in specific and isolated areas. In their vast majority they were peaceful.

· The picture that global media paint is, to say the least, in many cases exaggerating. In many occasions, library images were re-broadcasted as live feeds.
Supportive data: Greece is a pluralist, democratic western European country. Media freedom is protected and encouraged. During the last two weeks Greece hosted more than 300 foreign journalists.
(Greek National Tourism Organisation)

New impetus for Greek-Turkish relations

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) A new impetus for Greek-Turkish relations was given yesterday following a letter by Prime Minister George Papandreou addressed to his Turkish counterpart, responding to prior correspondence between the two leaders.

The Greek side proposes the launch of a series of talks on the issue of the continental shelf, within a specific time limit and the option for both sides to resort to the International Court of Justice in The Hague in case of a dead-end.
Papandreou deems the Turkish proposal of establishing a High-level Council of Cooperation important and invites Recep Tayyip Erdogan to pay an official visit to Greece, sometime before summer, in order to set a time framework.
Moreover, the Greek Premier highlights the need for de-escalating tension over the Aegean Sea and stresses that military activity in the area must be avoided since it jeopardizes security and fuels tension. Referring to the pressure exercised on bilateral relations due to immigration flows’ movement, Papandreou reiterates the necessity for Turkey to abide by the Greek-Turkish Readmission Protocol (2001).
The premier concludes by expressing Greece’s support for Turkey’s European perspective, provided that the latter honours its obligations towards the Greek minority in Turkey and the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Greece-Turkey Bilateral Relations & Greek-Turkish Rapprochement
[Photo from Papandreou’s visit to Istanbul, Turkey, October, 2009]

French Minister Visits Samos

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) During his visit to the Aegean island of Samos, on Friday Sept 18th, French Immigration Minister Eric Besson, accompanied by Greek Caretaker Interior Minister Spyros Flogaitis, visited the Italian vessel of Frontex and the immigrants’ reception centre, pointed out that Greece is confirming its good name regarding hospitality issues.  Besson was in Samos for a briefing on the situation prevailing in this eastern part of Europe, in light of the meeting today, among European Union Interior Ministers on justice and domestic issues, to discuss the increasing illegal entry of foreigners from the Turkish coast.

Culture & Relaxation on Cyclades Islandes

♦ International Festival of the Aegean @ Syros 
For the fifth successive year, Syros in the Cyclades island complex is organising the International Festival of the Aegean at the Apollo Theatre in Hermoupolis.  The festival opens with Puccini’s Tosca on July 1 and runs until July 11.   The Apollo Municipal Theatre (also known as La Piccola Scala) in Hermoupolis is an important landmark and symbol of its financial and cultural prosperity circa mid-19th century. Constructed in1862-1864, it remains to this date one of the oldest indoor theatres of modern times as well as an architectural jewel of Syros.  Hermoupolis, the “Queen of the Cyclades,” is the capital of the island of Syros, the centre of the Aegean Sea and a city of unique history and architecture with countless neoclassical public buildings in marble, mansions with full marble facades and rich decorations.  Prominent amongst these is Hermoupolis’s Town Hall which also houses the town’s Cultural Centre and was designed in the 19th century by Ernst Ziller. The magnificent buildings, mansions and church throughout Syros attests to the island’s former glory, when in the first half of the 19th century it became known as an international commercial centre linking Western Europe and the Mediterranean sea to the East. See also: The Spectator (27.5.09) – Grecian jewel 
♦  Dancing @ Naxos 
An eleven-day seminar on Greek Cycladic dances will be hosted on the island of Naxos from July 21-31 (Nisos Naxos 2009).  The seminar is not all about mastering the folklore dances of the Cycladic islands but mostly a journey through the Aegean Sea’s traditions, music, arts and history.   The island of Naxos is the largest and the most fertile in the Cyclades group of islands and an ideal place for vacation. More than 64 villages, most of which are mountainous, cover its slopes. They are well known for their cool climate and their delicious local cuisine.  Nisos Naxos 2009: Programme & Registration
♦ Painting exhibition @ Andros

The Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation Museum of Contemporary Art on Andros Island is presenting -for the first time in Greece- an exhibition featuring the work of Belgian painter Paul Delvaux, highlighting his relationship with Greece through myth.  The exhibition “Paul Delvaux and the Antiquity” will open to the public on June 28 and will run until September 27. Andros is the second largest after Naxos island in the Cyclades cluster with rich natural beauties and vegetation, natural springs, torrents and a lot of rivers. For those who love hiking Andros is full of beautiful paths, with streams, small waterfalls and traditional cobble-stone pavements in the villages bringing the visitors in contact with nature.In modern times, the island developed its merchant marine sector with its shipping registry ranking second, after Piraeus in 1939.

Greece: Cultural Heritage Awards

♦ Sustainable Aegean

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The Sustainable Aegean project of the Society for the Protection of the Environment and Cultural Heritage was one of the seven European projects that was awarded a Grand Prize  on June 5 by the European Commission and Europa Nostra – The Voice of Cultural Heritage in Europe (education-training and awareness raising category).  This year, a total of 138 applications and nominations from 24 countries were received in the various categories and assessed in situ by independent experts. The best of these were selected by one of four Heritage Awards Juries in a series of recent meetings. 28 were short-listed to receive an Award, and from these, seven were selected to receive a Grand Prize. Its website offers consultation on legal, administrative and technical matters which concern sustainable growth initiatives to be pursued by the local communities in the Aegean. Athens Plus: Greek NGO candidate for European Heritage Award  (June 5, p. 15)  

♦ Nicopolis

Moreover, the extensive ruins of the city of Nicopolis, spread today across a picturesque, rural area in Epirus, northwest Greece, are some of the best preserved in the Eastern Mediterranean region. The archaeological park of the city of Nicopolis won another Europa Nostra award at this year’s competition in the “Conservation” category.  Greek News Agenda: Nikopolis- The City of Victory 

Aegean Archipelago Portal

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  The Foundation of the Hellenic World (IME) has announced the launch of a “Cultural Portal of the Aegean Archipelago” at www.egeonet.gr, which presents the history, culture and natural environment of the islands of the Aegean, from the prehistoric times to date. The site contains information on both the history and culture of each island as well as historic and socio-cultural issues pertaining to the wider area such as shipping, piracy, Aegean archaeology, popular culture and demography.