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Διάλεξη “Ο ελληνικός εμφύλιος πόλεμος” – Εκδήλωση Γραφείου Τύπου (Βαρσοβία, 5/3/2012)

Διάλεξη του αναπληρωτή καθηγητή του Πανεπιστημίου Μακεδονίας (Θεσσαλονίκη), Νίκου Μαραντζίδη, με θέμα «Ο ελληνικός εμφύλιος πόλεμος – Εσωτερικές και διεθνείς διαστάσεις», πραγματοποιήθηκε στις 5 Μαρτίου στο Πανεπιστήμιο Βαρσοβίας.
Η διάλεξη διοργανώθηκε από το Γραφείο Τύπου, σε συνεργασία με το Τμήμα Ελληνικών Σπουδών του Πανεπιστημίου Βαρσοβίας.
Ο καθηγητής παρουσίασε το ιστορικό πλαίσιο και τα σημαντικότερα γεγονότα του εμφυλίου, προκειμένου να αναδείξει το πολύπλοκο πλέγμα σχέσεων που συνέδεε την Ελλάδα της περιόδου του εμφυλίου με ξένες χώρες.
Επικεντρώθηκε στον ρόλο χωρών της Ανατολικής Ευρώπης και την υποστήριξη των κομμουνιστών ανταρτών από το Ανατολικό μπλόκ, δίνοντας έμφαση στην βοήθεια της Πολωνίας προς τους έλληνες κομμουνιστές, η οποία περιελάμβανε την υποδοχή και περίθαλψη προσφύγων ανταρτών και παιδιών, την ίδρυση μυστικού στρατιωτικού νοσοκομείου στη Βαλτική, αποστολές τροφίμων, ιατροφαρμακευτικού υλικού κ.ά..
Αναφέρθηκε, επίσης, στις διάφορες περιόδους μνήμης του εμφυλίου στην Ελλάδα και στην θεματολογία του εμφυλίου στην ελληνική λογοτεχνία.
Την διάλεξη, στην οποία παρέστησαν ο πρέσβης Γαβριήλ Κοπτσίδης και πολλά μέλη της Ελληνικής Πρεσβείας, παρακολούθησαν οι φοιτητές και οι διδάσκοντες του Τμήματος Ελληνικών Σπουδών, καθηγητές του Πανεπιστημίου Βαρσοβίας, ομογενείς και άλλοι Έλληνες της Βαρσοβίας.
Ο καθ. Ν. Μαραντζίδης συνεργάζεται στενά, τα τελευταία χρόνια, με το Γραφείο Τύπου, το οποίο παρέχει διευκολύνσεις στη  έρευνά του για την βοήθεια της Πολωνίας προς τους έλληνες πρόσφυγες του εμφυλίου.

Lecture by professor Nikos Marantzidis about the Greek Civil War (Warsaw, 5/3/2012)

A lecture titled “The Greek Civil War – Internal and international dimensions” was held at the University of Warsaw by the professor of the University of Macedonia (Thessaloniki), Nikos Marantzidis, on the 5th of March 2012. The lecture was organized by the Greek Press and Communication Office in Warsaw, in conjunction with the Department of Greek Studies of the University of Warsaw.
The professor presented the historical context and the main events of the Civil War, aiming to demonstrate the complicate relations of Greece with foreign countries during the Civil War. He focused on the role of various Eastern European countries and their support to the Greek communist partisans, emphasizing Poland`s aid towards the Greek communists, which concentrated on the reception and care of refugees (partisans and children), the creation of a secret military hospital in the Baltic Sea, food provisions, medical equipment etc.. There were, also, references to the different periods of collective memory regarding the Civil War in Greece and to issues related to the Civil War in Greek literature.
The lecture was attended by the Greek Ambassador Gabriel Coptsidis and several members of the Greek Embassy, students and professors of the Department of Greek Studies, professors of the University of Warsaw, along with members of the general public, among which were Greeks, expatriates and residents of Warsaw.
Professor Marantzidis works closely with the Press Office during the last years, in his research about Poland`s aid towards the Greek refugees of the Civil War.

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Tourism: Strong Numbers (analysis)

A Global Tourism Destination

Greece is one of the top tourism destinations in the world. In fact Lonely Planet placed Greece among its top 10 destinations for 2010 and the Greek Islands were voted the best island destination in the world globally by Conde Nast readers in 2011.

The number of tourism visits over the last decade has shown a steady increase. From 14.2 million international visitors in 2004, more than 17 million people visited Greece in 2010, and it is expected that in a few years this number will reach 20 million, almost twice the country’s population.

The increasing number of tourists and the evolving profile of today’s traveler demand a host of new tourism offerings and infrastructure projects. In Greece, investors will find a wide spectrum of opportunities, a welcome environment for new investment, and some of the most beautiful locations in the world.

Tourism Industry Strengthened—Three Factors
In addition to the increased number of arrivals reported in 2011, the tourism industry as a whole strengthened in 2011, mainly due to a) the reduction of VAT for hotels, enhancing their competitiveness, b) simplified procedures for travel documents, particularly boosting Russian arrivals and c) partial lifting of restrictions for the cruise industry.

For more:
http://www.investingreece.gov.gr/default.asp?pid=127&nwslID=19&sec=8


Greek medals at Astronomy Olympiad in Poland

Greek students won two bronze medals, and three honorary distinctions at the 5th International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics held in Poland (August 25-September 3). The contest was held among 140 high-school students from 26 countries from all over the world. This year’s Olympiad was said to be one of the most competitive, since the academic level was higher and more contenders for less awards.
For Greece in particular, the success had a female scent, as Despina Pazouli from the town of Drama (North Greece) became the first Greek girl to receive a medal in the competition. Two of the five winners were at their senior high-school year and the Olympiad coincided with the announcement of their university entry examination. Both of them made it to the Department of Physics of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

Extended visiting hours for museums and archaeological sites

Culture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Yeroulanos announced new extended visiting hoursof a number of museums and archeological sites in Greece on May 18.
The ministry said that the list will be further enriched in the future weeks, depending on the availability of staff.
The list includes some of the most popular sites and museums in Greece such as the Acropolis of Athens – Archaeological Site, which will be open from 8.00-19.00, all year round; the Thessaloniki Museum of Byzantine Culture; the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki; the Archaeological Site of Philippi; the Archeological Museum and site of Mycenae; the Archeological Museum and site of Epidaurus; the Archaeological site of Mystras; the Archeological site and Museum of Afaia, Aegina; the Archeological Museum of Messenia; the Archeological site of Ancient Messene; the Catacombs on Milos island; the Herakleion Archeological Museum; the Archeological site of Knossos and the Spinalonga island on Crete.
The list also includes the Archaeological Museum of Drama; the Church of Panagia Kosmosoteira (Our Lady, Saviour of the World), in Ferres; the Grevena Archaeological Collection; the Museum of Asian Art, Corfu; the Archaeological Collection of Arta; the Byzantine Museum of Ioannina; the Ioannina Treasury; the Fortress of Ioannina; the Igoumenitsa Archaeological Museum; the Nekromanteion of Acheron; the Athanasakeion Archaeological Museum in Volos; the Archeological site of Nea Aghialos, Magnesia; the Byzantine Museum of Fthiotida at Ypati; the Monastery of Osios Loukas; the Corinth Archeological Museum.
Ministry of Culture & Tourism:  Brief Guides to Archaeological Museums in Greece Part I & Part II; YouTube: Culture in Greece [VIDEO] [Photo 3: The Nekromanteion of Acheron – Oracle of the Dead]
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

World Poetry Day – 2011 Elytis Year

Odysseas Elytis and his work will be the focus of this year’s World Poetry Day, which is celebrated each year on March 21.
The National Book Centre of Greece (EKEBI) launches a poetry campaign including several events.
One of the day’s highlights is an event jointly organized by EKEBI and the Hellenic Authors’ Society which brings together well-known poets and writers such as Katerina Anghelaki-Rooke, Vassilis Vasilikos, Kiki Dimoula and Evgenia Fakinou to recite poems by Odysseas Elytis.
Athenians and citizens of Thessaloniki, Mytillini, Rhodes and Zakynthos will have the opportunity to come across illustrated verses by Elytis as public transport means will feature some of the Nobel laureate’s most beloved and renowned poems. Poetry reading nights, with young poets will also be held in Athens and Thessaloniki.
Moreover in Athens, poet Nanos Valaoritis will present a new theory regarding Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey at the Hellenic American Union, while at the Michael Cacoyannis Foundation, World Poetry Day will be celebrated through poetry, music and stand-up poetry.
The year 2011 has been designated as an Elytis Year by Culture and Tourism Ministry, in order to mark the 100th anniversary since the birth of the Nobel laureate poet.
Nobel Prize Organisation: Excerpt from Worthy It Is, Poetry International Web- Odysseas Elytis: I Lived the Beloved Name, Drinking the Sun of Corinth, Marina of the Rocks, The Wind That Loiters.
(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)

Kedzierzawska, Lechki win awards at Thessaloniki Film Festival

Poland’s film director Dorota Kedzierzawska was granted the honorary Golden Alexander award for lifetime achievements at the 51st Thessaloniki International Film Festival that ended on Sunday.
Marek Lechki won the Best Screenplay Award for “Erratum”, the film he also directed and produced.
On show during the festival were Kedzierzawska’s films “I am”, “Devils, Devils” and “Time to Die”. The films illustrate the Polish director’s original, outstanding style and her compassion for the people she portrays and profound respect she has for their choices, festival organizers wrote.
The Thessaloniki International Film Festival is a top film festival of South Eastern Europe. Founded in 1960 as the Week of Greek Cinema, it became international in 1992.
(Polish Press Agency)