Διάλεξη προϊσταμένης Γραφείου Τύπου Μαρίας Μονδέλου για την βενετοκρατούμενη Κρήτη (Πανεπιστήμιο Βαρσοβίας, 29/3/2011)

Διάλεξη με θέμα «Η περίοδος της βενετοκρατίας στην Κρήτη» έδωσε η προϊσταμένη του Γραφείου Τύπου, Μαρία Μονδέλου, στις 29 Μαρτίου στο Πανεπιστήμιο Βαρσοβίας.
Πραγματοποιήθηκε ύστερα από πρόσκληση του Ινστιτούτου Διεπιστημονικών Σπουδών (Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies) “Artes Liberales” του Πανεπιστημίου της Βαρσοβίας, με πρωτοβουλία της καθηγήτριας Malgorzata Borowska, διευθύντριας του Τμήματος Νεοελληνικής Φιλολογίας, και αποτελεί συνέχεια διαλέξεων που δόθηκαν το 2009 και το 2010.
Η διάλεξη απευθυνόταν στους φοιτητές του Β΄ έτους της Νεοελληνικής Φιλολογίας, στο πλαίσιο του μαθήματος «Κρητικά αριστουργήματα της περιόδου της Αναγέννησης».
Στο πρώτο μέρος παρουσιάστηκαν τα σημαντικότερα ορόσημα της βενετικής ιστορίας και των μακραίωνων ελληνο-βενετικών σχέσεων, με έμφαση στις σχέσεις Βενετίας και Βυζαντίου. Έγινε αναφορά σε όψεις της ιστορίας της Βενετοκρατίας στον ελληνικό χώρο και στα χαρακτηριστικά της βενετικής κυριαρχίας και επισημάνθηκαν ορισμένα από τα συμπεράσματα των σύγχρονων ερευνών, οι οποίες αποδεικνύουν την ύπαρξη ενός κοινού ελληνο-βενετικού πολιτισμού, καρπού της δυτικής και της βυζαντινής παράδοσης.
Αναλύθηκαν τα κύρια γνωρίσματα της ιστορίας μίας από τις σημαντικότερες βενετικές κτήσεις, της Κρήτης, καθώς και τα χαρακτηριστικά των τεσσάρων μεγαλύτερων πόλεων  (Χάνδακας, Χανιά, Ρέθυμνο, Σητεία). Ιδιαίτερη αναφορά έγινε στη λεγόμενη «Κρητική Αναγέννηση» και σε επιτεύγματα του βενετο-κρητικού πολιτισμού της ύστερης περιόδου (με ενδεικτικά παραδείγματα  από την λογοτεχνία, την ποίηση, την ζωγραφική).
Στη συνέχεια, παρουσιάστηκαν συνοπτικά τα κυριότερα χαρακτηριστικά της βενετικής κυριαρχίας στη Σητεία (πόλη και ύπαιθρος), κυρίως κατά την ύστερη περίοδο της Βενετοκρατίας (16ος και 17ος αι.), οι θεσμοί που εισήγαγε η Βενετία στην πόλη, η κοινωνική διαστρωμάτωση της πόλης και της υπαίθρου, οι κοινωνικές σχέσεις, τα χαρακτηριστικά της οικονομίας, η μορφή της πόλης και ο τρόπος ζωής των κατοίκων. Ειδική μνεία έγινε σε ιστορικά στοιχεία για τον καταγόμενο από την Σητεία Βιτσέντζο Κορνάρο, ποιητή του Ερωτόκριτου, έργο το οποίο αποτελεί αντικείμενο σπουδών των φοιτητών του Β΄ έτους.
Τέλος, παρουσιάστηκαν στους φοιτητές αντίγραφα ανέκδοτων χειρογράφων της εποχής και αναγνώστηκε τμήμα του περιεχομένου τους.

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PM George Papandreou: A Year of Consolidation and Reform

Greece’s image at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos was “positive”, Prime Minister George Papandreou said on January 28, on the sidelines of the forum. As Papandreou said, there was across-the-board acknowledgement of Greece’s efforts and of the Greek people’s and government’s determination to carry on with the reforms.
Meanwhile, in an interview with the Austrian newspaper Die Presse, Papandreou reiterated that debt restructuring is not an option for Greece stressing the efforts to achieve an extension of the repayment period of the EU-IMF loans.
See also: A year of consolidation and reform – Greece meets ambitious targets in 2010
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

Christmas in Greece

Traditionally, the Christmas holiday period in Greece lasts 12 days, until January 6, which marks the celebration of the Feast of the Holy Theophany (Epiphany).
There are many customs associated with the Christmas holidays, some of which are relatively recent, “imported” from other parts of the world (like eating turkey on Christmas day and decorating the Christmas tree).
The modern Christmas tree entered Greece in the luggage of the country’s first king, Otto of Greece, who ascended to the throne in 1833 – yet, the tree did not become popular until the 1940s.
In the past, Greeks decorated small Christmas boats in honour of St. Nicholas. Today, they are increasingly choosing to decorate boats, instead of trees, reviving this age-old Christmas tradition. Undoubtedly, celebrating Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Greece is a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
Xmas: A Word of Greek Origin
Where did “Xmas” come from? Some transliterations of Greek spell Christos as “Xristos.” The “X” stood in for the first letter of the word Christ (ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ).
“Xmas” has been used for hundreds of years in religious writing, where the X represents the Greek letter X (chi). While in modern times Xmas is regarded as a kind of slang, it was originally considered to be a perfectly respectful.
Christmas (“Χριστούγεννα”), the Feast of the Nativity of Jesus is one of the most joyful days of the Greek Orthodox Church.
Christmas Elves
Greece’s hobgoblins are called “kallikántzari,” friendly but troublesome little creatures which look like elves. Kallikantzari live deep down inside the earth and come to surface only during the 12-day period from Christmas until Epiphany. While on the earth’s surface, they love to hide in houses, slipping down chimneys and frightening people in various ways.
Throughout Greece, there are customs and numerous rituals performed to keep these hobgoblins away. In Epirus, residents place twelve spindles in front of the fireplace to prevent the kalikantzari from climbing down the chimney.
On Christmas Eve, in the town of Grevena, people place a large log in the corner of the house and set it alight. As the fire burns, lasting until the Feast of the Epiphany, it protects the family from the naughty kalikantzari. On the island of Cephalonia, women burn incense at the front door of their houses making the sign of the cross in order to repel these undesirable “guests.”
The “kallikántzari” disappear on the day of Epiphany when all the waters are blessed, and they return to the earth’s core.
Sweets & Treats
Traditional culinary delights symbolise good luck in the New Year and adorn the white-clothed tables. “Melomakarona” (honey cookies) and “kourabiedes” (sugar cookies with almonds) are the most characteristic. In the past, melomakarona were made exclusively for Christmas, while kourabiedes were prepared for the New Year.
Today, this distinction is not observed anymore and both melomakarona and kourabiedes are prepared and consumed throughout the festive season.
Another traditional custom that dates back to the Byzantine times is the slicing of the Vassilopita (St.Basil’s pie or New Year Cake). The person who finds the hidden coin in his/her slice of the cake, is considered to be lucky for the rest of the year.
At the meal table there is also a special decorated round loaf called “Vasilopsomo” or St. Basil’s bread -which is really identical in form to the “Christopsomo” or “Christ bread” eaten on Christmas Day – and the “Photitsa” or “Lights’ bread” that is eaten on Epiphany.
“Kalanda” or Carols
The singing of Christmas carols (or kalanda, in Greek) is a custom which is preserved in its entirety to this day. On Christmas and New Year Eve, children go from house to house in groups of two or more singing the carols, accompanied usually by the sounds of the musical instrument “triangle,” but also guitars, accordions, lyres and harmonicas.
Until some time ago, carollers were rewarded with pastries but nowadays they are usually given money. Listen to some sound extracts with Greek Christmas carols (Kalanda) from Ikaria Island. Things to Do, Places to Go…. 
A Christmas spirit is taking over the squares and streets of the country’s major cities, as local authorities organise a variety of events and festivities, culminating with New Year’s Eve countdown parties in central squares.
Festivities in Athens revolve around Syntagma Square and its Christmas tree, with daily concerts throughout the season, while the National Garden turns into storybook Magical Forest for children.
Thessaloniki runs the country’s biggest Christmas village: the Helexpo pavilions are hosting Christmas Magic City, featuring shows, workshops and a big Christmas market.
The north-western city of Kastoria celebrates with “ragoutsaria,” the local carnival that starts on New Year’s Day, with every neighbourhood forming a carnival group, complete with brass band. In Agios Nikolaos, Crete, the New Year will come from the sea, with the New Year’s Eve party at the port, and Santa arriving on a boat.
And Holiday Performances
Venues and clubs participate in the Christmas spirit with special holiday performances.
The National Opera’s Christmas rich programme includes the Snow Queen ballet and Hansel and Gretel opera for children.
The Athens Concert Hall hosts the Bolshoi Theatre Academy on December 22-29, in a much-awaited performance of the Nutcracker, and the London Community Gospel Choir on December 27-28.
The recently inaugurated Onassis Cultural Centre presents Jean-Baptiste Thiérrée and Victoria Chaplin in their phantasmagoric yet poetic Invisible Circus, on December 28-30 and January 1-2.
At the Michael Cacoyannis Foundation, on December 27 & 28, the Sounds of Christmas Go Baroque: a festive concert featuring Baroque Concertos.
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

“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)

Διάλεξη για την βενετοκρατούμενη Σητεία στο Πανεπιστήμιο Βαρσοβίας (23/2/2010)

Διάλεξη με θέμα «Η βενετοκρατούμενη Σητεία – Αρχειακή έρευνα για την ιστορία της πόλης» έδωσε η Γραμματέας Επικοινωνίας του Γραφείου Τύπου και Επικοινωνίας Βαρσοβίας, Μαρία Μονδέλου, στις 23 Φεβρουαρίου στο Πανεπιστήμιο Βαρσοβίας.
Πρόκειται για την δεύτερη διάλεξη που πραγματοποιείται ύστερα από πρόσκληση του Ινστιτούτου Διεπιστημονικών Σπουδών (Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies) “Artes Liberales” του Πανεπιστημίου της Βαρσοβίας, με πρωτοβουλία της καθηγήτριας Malgorzata Borowska, διευθύντριας του Τμήματος Νεοελληνικής Φιλολογίας.
Την διάλεξη παρακολούθησαν οι φοιτητές του Β΄ έτους της Νεοελληνικής Φιλολογίας, στο πλαίσιο του μαθήματος «Κρητικά αριστουργήματα της περιόδου της Αναγέννησης».
Παρουσιάστηκαν, αρχικά, τα κυριότερα χαρακτηριστικά της βενετικής κυριαρχίας στη Σητεία (πόλη και ύπαιθρος), κυρίως κατά την ύστερη περίοδο της Βενετοκρατίας (16ος και 17ος αι.), και αναλύθηκαν ορισμένοι από τους θεσμούς που εισήγαγε η Βενετία στην πόλη (διοικητική οργάνωση, εκκλησιαστικοί θεσμοί, δικαιοσύνη). Έγινε αναφορά, μεταξύ άλλων, στην κοινωνική διαστρωμάτωση της πόλης και της υπαίθρου, τις κοινωνικές σχέσεις, τα χαρακτηριστικά της οικονομίας, τη μορφή της πόλης και τον τρόπο ζωής των κατοίκων. Ιδιαίτερη μνεία έγινε στον καταγόμενο από την Σητεία Βιτσέντζο Κορνάρο, ποιητή του Ερωτόκριτου, έργο το οποίο αποτελεί αντικείμενο σπουδών των φοιτητών του Β΄ έτους.
Οι φοιτητές ενημερώθηκαν για τον τρόπο αναζήτησης ανέκδοτου αρχειακού υλικού σε Αρχεία και Βιβλιοθήκες της Ιταλίας, όπως το Κρατικό Αρχείο της Βενετίας, το Αρχείο του Βατικανού και η Μαρκιανή Βιβλιοθήκη της Βενετίας. Επισημάνθηκαν τα κυριότερα χαρακτηριστικά των πηγών (επίσημες πηγές, συμβολαιογραφικό αρχείο), καθώς και μερικά συμπεράσματα από τη μελέτη του υλικού, τα οποία παρουσιάζονται στην υπό εκπόνηση διδακτορική διατριβή της ομιλήτριας.
Τέλος, παρουσιάστηκαν στους φοιτητές αντίγραφα ανέκδοτων χειρογράφων της εποχής, τα οποία αναγνώστηκαν, με παράλληλη εξήγηση βασικών κανόνων  παλαιογραφίας. 

Professor Borowska, Maria Mondelou and the students

Lecture “The Venetian Dominion in Sitia (Crete) – Research on the history of the town” (University of Warsaw, 23/2/2010) 

A lecture about “The Venetian  Dominion in Sitia (Crete) – Research on the history of the town” was hold by the Press Attachè of the Embassy of Greece in Warsaw, Maria Mondelou, on the 23rd February at the University of Warsaw.
It was the second lecture that took place, after the one on the 8th of December 2009, following an invitation by the Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies “Artes Liberales” of the University of Warsaw and the director at the Department of Modern Greek Philology, Malgorzata Borowska.
The lecture was attended by the students of the 4th semester in Modern Greek Philology, that includes lessons on the subject “Cretan masterpieces of the Renaissance”.
Main aspects of the Venetian dominion in the territory of Sitia (town and villages), particularly during the late period of the Venetian dominion (16th and 17th centuries), as well as some of the institutions that Venice introduced in Sitia (administration, ecclesiastical institutions, justice etc.) were analysed. The social stratification in the town and the villages, the social relations, the characteristics of the economy, the form of the town and the way of life of the inhabitants were, also, described. A partiticular mention was made for Vitsentzos Kornaros, born in Sitia, famous for his poem “Erotokritos”, which is included in the studies of the Polish students.
The students were informed about the research of unpublished sources of archives, that was effected by the lecturer in Archives and Libraries in Italy, such as the National Archive of Venice, the Vatican Archives and the “Marciana”  Library of Venice. Main characteristics of the sources (official documents and notarial archives) were highlighted, as well as some of the results of the study, which are presented in the PhD of the lecturer.
Finally, copies of unedited documents of the 16th century were presented and read to the students.

Wykład na temat Sitii pod panowaniem weneckim, wygłoszony na Uniwersytecie Warszawskim (23/2/2010)

Wykład pod tytułem „Sitia, pod panowaniem weneckim – badanie archiwalne na temat historii miasta” został wygłoszony przez Marię Mondelou, Attaché Prasowego Ambasady Grecji w dniu 23 lutego na Uniwersytecie Warszawskim.
Był to już drugi wykład wygłoszony pod otrzymaniu zaproszenia przez Instytut Studiów Interdyscyplinarnych „Artes Liberales” z inicjatywy profesor dr hab. Małgorzaty Borowskiej, Kierownika Wydziału Filologii Nowogreckiej. 
Wykład został wysłuchany przez studentów II roku filologii nowogreckiej w ramach zajęć „Kreteńskie arcydzieła okresu Odroczenia”.

Greece`s Ottoman Past

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Approximately six hundred relics of the Ottoman period were found in Greece, according to a research study, conducted by the Istanbul-based Marmara University Professor Neval Konouk, during the last 2,5 years, commissioned by the Turkish ministry for Foreign Affairs, in 2007. 

According to Dr. Konouk’s comments to the Turkish daily Aksam on February 8, the complete survey will take the form of eight volumes, when completed in 2015, and the texts will be in Turkish, English and Greek.  
According to her research, much more Ottoman relics have been preserved, than originally considered.
As Dr. Konouk noted, “a tenth of the Ottoman relics located in Greece, representing 600 cases in total, have been saved.”  
In a relative development, the Greek Ministry of Culture has published in Greek and English, a 494 – pages special volume, titled “Ottoman Architecture in Greece.”
Institute for Neohellenic Research: Ottoman Epigraphy; Foundation of the Hellenic World: Ottoman Period

Greece: Prehistoric Theopetra Cave opens to public on Friday

Theopetra(ANA) Prehistoric Theopetra Cave opens to public on Friday The opening to the public of the prehistoric Theopetra Cave in Trikala prefecture, will be marked with a concert on Friday. Theopetra Cave is a famous archaeological site, and the first excavated cave in Thessaly, with excavations starting in 1987 and continuing to the present. Its deposits begin in the Middle Paleolithic period and continue without gaps until the end of the Neolithic period (3000 BC). Its uniqueness is that in contains, within a single site, the records of two greatly significant cultural transitions: The replacement of Neanderthals by modern humans, and the later transition from hunter-gathering to farming after the end of the last Ice Age. The cave, situated just three kilometers from Meteora, consists of an immense 500 square meter rectangular chamber at the foot of a limestone hill, which rises to the northeast above the village of Theopetra, with a very big entrance 17m wide by three metres high. It lies at the foot of the Chasia mountain range, which forms the natural boundary between Thessaly and Epirus prefectures, while the Lithaios River, a tributary of the Pineios River, flows in front of the cave. Excavations, which have been systematically carried out, have unearthed light geological deposits dating to the Pleistocene and Holocene periods as well as anthropogenic deposits, indicating that the cave had been continuously inhabited during the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic, the Mesolithic and the Neolithic periods. Specimens found, such as coal and human bones, prove that the cave was occupied from about 50,000 BC to 4000 BC, and that temporary use continued during the Bronze Age and historic times up to 1955. Even after that the cave was used occasionally to by shepherds to shelter their herds right up until the excavations began. It is the first time that cave dwelling was recorded in Thessaly during the Palaeolithic period. Continue reading