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“Lady in Gold” unearthed on Crete

Archaeologists made an important discovery when they unearthed an ancient female skeleton covered with gold foil in a grave in the ancient city of Eleutherna on the northern foothills of Mount Ida near Rethymno, Crete. The finding dates back to the early Archaic Period.
The findings were inside a 2,700-year-old twin tomb, the only one in ancient Eleutherna, located very close to a necropolis of fallen warriors. The woman, of high social or religious status, was interred with a second skeleton in a large jar placed behind a false wall, to ward off body snatchers.
The tiny gold ornaments, ranging from 1 to 4cm long, in different forms (square, triangle, and diamond-shaped) were found next to the remains of the woman, discovered a few weeks ago by a team led by archaeology professor Nicholas Stampolidis of the University of Crete – head of the Eleutherna excavation.
A unique jewelry piece depicting a bee as a goddess was also found amongst the thousands of gold plaques. Excavators also unearthed perfume bottles, hundreds of amber, rock crystal and faience beads and a gold pendant in the form of a bee goddess.
The findings are so extraordinary that they justify the decision made recently by the Archaeological Institute of America to include the excavations at ancient Eleutherna among the best worldwide.
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

Greece: The Culture Agenda

» VISUAL ARTS

                                     Tribute to Ianis Xenakis

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) The National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST) in association with the Center for Music Composition & Performance (CMCP) is organizing a second series of events in tribute to the composer Ianis Xenakis.
The events are taking place from September 15 to October 11.

“Itinerary to Mount Athos, 1928-1930” Boissonnas_sofia_1

The exhibition “Itinerary to Mount Athos, 1928-1930” features a selection from the 400 photographs taken by Swiss photographer Frédéric Boissonnas during his travels to Mount Athos in 1928 and 1930.
The exhibition is organised by the Hellenic Foundation for Culture, in Sofia and runs from September 16 through October 25.

» MUSIC

                                     Jose Carreras returns to Athens

Legendary tenor Jose Carreras returns to Greece after four years since his last appearance for a concert with the ERT National Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of David Gimenez, on 19 September at the Herod Atticus Odeon (Herodion) in Athens.

Amadou & Mariam in Athens

Amadou & Mariam, the two musicians who manage to overcome all obstacles to become international stars and ambassadors of Mali’s musical tradition throughout the world, will be appearing live in Athens 18 September at the Papagou Garden Theatre.

The Spaghetti Western Orchestra @ Badminton Theatre

Armed with over 100 instruments the Spaghetti Western Orchestra is performing in Athens the stunning music Ennio Morricone wrote for movies such as “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” “For a Few Dollars More” and “Once Upon a Time in the West.” At the Badminton Theatre from September 16 to 25.

Dion: 40 years of Excavations

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Dimitrios Pantermalis, president of the Acropolis Museum, presented on July 11 the book “Ancient Dion-40 Years of Excavations” on the occasion of the 38th Olympus Festival at the archaeological site of Dion.   On the northeastern slopes of Mt Olympus, Dion -an ancient Macedonian city- was the most sacred place for Macedonians, dedicated to Zeus.  The lush environs of Dion are steeped in mythology, including stories that explain the origin of the name Macedonia. Ancient Dion’s numerous temples, theaters, bath complexes, stone-paved streets, tombs and a set of impressive fortifications bear witness to a very prosperous and historic place of political and religious importance. Philip II and Alexander the Great both celebrated military victories at Dion, making lavish sacrifices to Zeus and staging athletic contests.  Today, the site of Dion constitutes the hub of a spacious and well organised archaeological park, while various performances are being staged at its ancient theatre, as part of the annual Olympus Festival.    Athens Plus: Dark Myths and Cool Walks in the Shadow of Mt Olympus (10.07.09) pdf

Olympus Marathon 2009

olympusmarathon2(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Olympus Marathon, a unique trail running event held annually on Mount Olympus, took place on June 29. Participants gathered at the remains of the sacred city of Dion, at sunrise and followed the route itself which revives the pilgrimage that the ancient Greeks made to Mt Olympus in early summer – in June – to honour and to sacrifice to Zeus -the chief deity of the Greek pantheon. Starting from a sea-level altitude, athletes followed 44km of trails and reached the height of 2780m retracing history and myth. The winner of the Olympus Marathon 2009 is Spain’s Hernandez Gispert.

Greece: Valia Calda Brown Bear’s Home

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Valia Calda, or “warm valley” – located in the northwestern Pindos mountain range– is one of Greece’s most beautiful mountain regions. An area of unique ecological and research interest, Valia Calda forms the core of the Pindos National Park.  The wild and rich landscape of the park creates a major wildlife sanctuary, hosting rare reptile species, birds and many varieties of mammals, including the brown bear. In fact, Valia Calda is considered to be the brown bear’s main natural habitat in Greece. The best time of the year to visit this unique region is May-June when there is no snow and most vegetation blossoms, offering a fabulous, colourful panorama.  Athens Plus: Valia Calda, spring fever in the valley (08.05.2009, p.42); Valda Calda Refuge: Mountain Treks

Wine Roads in Northern Greece

 (GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Encompassing Macedonia, Thrace and Epirus, the non-profit “Wine Producers’ Association of the Northern Greece Vineyard” supports the region’s tradition of vine growing and winemaking while offering Greeks and foreigners alike the opportunity to visit vineyards. The online directory “The Wine Roads of Northern Greece” offers detailed maps and travel-destination suggestions, highlighting vineyards and the general landscape of northern Greece. The northern Greece wine network features eight wine routes, leading from Mt Olympus, home of the Gods, and Zitsa in Epirus to Byzantine Thessaloniki. Others run from Amyntaio in the north to the Aegean playground of Halkidiki and the delightful, distant Thrace. Several Greek wineries are opening their gates on May 16 and 17 – part of the “Open Gates Programme” launched on the initiative of the European Network of Wine Cities – offering visitors the opportunity to feel the intoxicating aromas and flavours of Greek vineyards. Its objective is that each participating town create an event around wine so as to acquaint consumers with the production of this alcoholic beverage. More specifically, there will be two-day wine events all over Europe.

Mount Athos Splendor in Paris

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

After the exhibition “Byzantium 330-1453” organised by the Royal Academy of Arts in London, a considerable ensemble of treasures from the monastic community of Mt Athos will go on display in Paris for the first time outside Greece with 60 artefacts on public display for the first time outside the Holy Mountain. The exhibition Mount Athos and the Byzantine Empire: Treasures of the Holy Mount  opens at the Petit Palais on April 10 and runs through July 5.  It is organised jointly by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Holy Community of Mount Athos, in association with the Ministry of Culture.The exhibition “is a particularly important international cultural event […] that aspires to show France and the rest of Europe the traditions of Mount Athos,” stressed FM Dora Bakoyannis at a press conference on April 1, presenting the exhibition. Le Petit Palais: Le Mont Athos et l’Empire byzantin, Trésors de le Sainte Montagne; Church of Greece: Digital Map of the Cultural Treasures of the Church of Greece; Greek News Agenda:Byzantium: a Breathtaking exhibition; Secretariat General of Information: Mount Athos. The monastic state

Exploring Greece: Pieria

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The Pieria prefecture, southwest of Thessaloniki in Macedonia, is the epitome of the Hellenic landscape – a perfect combination of mountain and sea, hosting not only the country’s highest summit, Mytikas (2,917 meters), on legendary Mount of Gods Olympus (or Olympos), but also its longest stretch of beach. The area – besides its irresistible allure for mountain lovers- presents considerable archaeological interest, and is therefore suitable for breaks and vacations throughout the year. The castle of Platamonas in the south and the sprawling archaeological site of the ancient Macedonian town, Dion, carry great historical appeal. The prefecture’s capital, Katerini, is one of Greece’s newest towns. Established at the end of 19th century by repatriated Greeks from the area of the Monastery of St Catherine on Mount Sinai in Egypt, Katerini is today a modern urban centre with exceptional quality of life. Athens Plus (January 23): Pieria, in the shadow of the Gods  (23.01.2009, p.42)  

The Marble Road to the Acropolis

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  The remains of an ancient road – used to transport marbles for the construction of the monuments on the Acropolis from Mount Penteli – was unearthed during excavations in the northern Athenian suburb of Halandri. The existence of the special road was known for some time but this is the first physical evidence of its actual course, which coincides with what Manolis Korres, professor of Architecture at the National Technical University of Athens had already depicted in a set of vivid drawings in his book “From Pentelikon to the Parthenon.” More information: Smithsonian Magazine – Unlocking Mysteries of the Parthenon Other Works by Korres: “The Stones of the Parthenon,” “From the Quarry to the Parthenon” 

Enjoy Winter Travel in Greece

zagori(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Greece may be famous for its beaches, but it is also covered by mountains, many of which reach over 2000 meters. A little known fact is that there are 18 ski resorts in the country, usually operating from the end of December until mid-April. The biggest ski center in the country is Mount Parnassos, which is attractive to Athenians because of its proximity to the city. But there are many others worth visiting, such as Mount Falakro in the prefecture of Drama, Agriolefkes ski centre in the Pelion mountain, and the Pertouli ski center in Trikala. For those interesting in discovering a lesser-known area in Greece, one can visit Tzoumerka or Zagori in Pindos, where beautiful villages and traditional settlements are surrounded by gorges, caves and steep mountains. More Info: A ski portal of GreeceTravelling Around Greece (in Greek); Agrotravel.gr – Mountain Areas

Vote for Greek Natural Wonders

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)    The Petrified Forest of Lesvos, the Meteora Rocks, Mount Olympus, and Santorini, Archipelago are candidates for the list of the New Seven Wonders of Nature, to be compiled next summer in an online poll. The voting procedure of all candidates will be completed on July 7, 2009, when the 77 partaking sites will be chosen. Afterwards, 21 of them will be elected and the vote will be repeated. The final declaration of the New7Wonders of Nature will be in 2010. The New Seven Wonders of Nature: Vote for your nominee; Live Ranking: see the Top 77 of today; New7Wonders of Nature Nominees Europe

Greece: Affordable Destination

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Greece and Italy have topped this year’s list published by the UK Post Office as Europe’s most affordable destinations for families. In a recent report about ’sightseeing on a shoestring,’ the UK Post Office highlighted countries offering benefits for families travelling with younger children. Attractions in Greece offering special deals for families include the Acropolis, Knossos and Mount Olympus.  Xpatathens.com: Greece and Italy most affordable European travel destinations

The Bible Enters Cyberspace

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Seventeen centuries after it was written, the Codex Sinaiticus, one of the world’s oldest copies of the Bible, catches up with the digital age this week. Written in the fourth century and discovered in Egypt – at the Greek Orthodox Monastery of St. Catherine’s of Mount Sinai – in the 19th, it will enter cyberpsace today, July24, courtesy of the Leipzig University library in Germany. The Codex Sinaiticus Project is an international collaboration to reunite the entire manuscript in digital form and make it accessible to a global audience for the first time. Drawing on the expertise of leading scholars, conservators and curators, the Project gives everyone the opportunity to connect directly with this famous manuscript.  Codex Sinaiticus Project: www.codex-sinaiticus.net; Telegraph.co.uk: Codex Sinaiticus, the world’s oldest Bible, goes online; Secretariat General of Information: Hellenic Culture Abroad – History, Literature & Music

Greece: International Natural Cosmetics

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Spurred by a trend towards natural products, Greek cosmetics companies are breaking out of their niches and entering the mainstream international market through high-end department stores or their own outlets. Two such firms are Korres (www.korres.com) and Apivita (www.apivita.gr). The Korres homeopathic pharmacy in Athens has blossomed into a large-scale, high-tech company producing safe, effective and affordable body and face potions. Apivita’s cosmetic and healthcare products are based on Greece’s natural foods, flowers, philosophy and traditions, while it has gained reputation as a socially responsible company for its alliance with the World Wildlife Fund and its restoration of the ancient pharmacy at Greece’s Mount Athos Holy Mountain.

Take to the Greek Montains

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Picturesque and culturally fascinating, the mountainous areas offer a wealth of exceptional trekking amongst impressive peaks. Mount Olympus is the highest mountain in Greece, at 2919 meters high, located 100 km southwest of the city of Thessaloniki in northern Greece. In Greek mythology, Mt Olympus was the abode of the Twelve Olympians. From its steep rocky summit, the site of his throne, Zeus supposedly hurled his thunderbolts against humankind. Greece’s oldest and most carefully protected national park, Mt Olympus also boasts the greatest concentration of flora and fauna, huge expanses of forest, and the crystal clear waters of the Enippeas river. The Pindos Mountains, situated in the northwest corner of Greece, are a rugged and remote region of peaks, high limestone cliffs, spectacular gorges, and rushing rivers. Visit Zagorochoria, a world of walled villages perched atop and within the thousand-foot gorge of the Vikos River, the deepest one in the world after the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

Must See in Greece

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The island of Samothraki in the North Aegean lies some 29 nautical miles southwest of the Thracian city of Alexandroupolis. Far from being a typical Greek island, it ressembles a mountain surrounded by sea. Its highest peak, Mount Fengari, rises to almost 1,700 metres. Samothraki is one of the truly virgin islands, where one can bathe in the shade of sycamore trees. Its singular mountain terrain, its abundance of crystal clear water, its archaeological finds along with an intangible mysticism that hovers in the air, offer the visitor an exotic holiday. To the north of the main town, Hora, is Paleopolis, the archaic and Hellenistic centre of the island, where there are still ruins of the Ancient City and the Sanctuary of the Great Gods. This is where the Cabeiri Rites took place, mystical ceremonies of equal importance to the Eleusinian, probably aiming to secure life after death. The island’s most famous artistic treasure is the 2.5-metre marble statue of Nike, now known as the Winged Victory of Samothrace, dating from about 190 BC. It was discovered in pieces on the island in 1863 and is now displayed in the Louvre museum in Paris.