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Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II on visit to Greece May 24, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece News.
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Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II began an official three-day visit to Greece on Wednesday, accompanied by her husband Prince Henrik.

After arriving by yacht at the southern port in Faliron, the Queen met with President Karolos Papoulias and was also scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and the President of the Greek Parliament Anna Psarouda-Benaki.

The Royal couple will also visit the northern port city of Thessaloniki while Prince Henrik is expected to speak at a Greek-Danish Economic Forum on Thursday.

The Queen, which took over the monarchy in 1972, is the elder sister of Greece’s former Queen Anne-Marie.

Greece’s former King, Constantine II, and Anne-Marie lost their titles in a nationwide referendum in 1974, when Greeks voted to abolish the monarchy at the end of a seven-year dictatorship of the military junta.


The Rolling Stones postpone Athens concert May 24, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Music Life Live Gigs.
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The Rolling Stones postpone European concerts

The Rolling Stones have postponed the first 15 dates of their European “A Bigger Bang” tour after Keith Richards’s brain surgery.

The postponed gigs were scheduled for Barcelona and Madrid, Spain; Brussels, Belgium; Paris, France; Bergen, Norway; Horsens, Denmark; Goteborg, Sweden; St. Petersburg, Russia; Brno, Czech Republic; Warsaw, Poland; Vienna, Austria; Milan, Italy; Athens, Greece (25th June); and Zagreb, Croatia.

Rescheduled dates are due to be announced in the next few days. Tour promoters are asking fans to keep hold of their tickets until rescheduled dates are announced.

According to the Stones publicist ticket holders are reassured that the tour will kick-off with a delay of two-three weeks over the originally planned dates.

On the Net: http://www.rollingstones.com

Cow Parade > Art’s highway! May 24, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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If during your walks around the city, suddenly you meet a cow, don’t ask yourself how she happened to be there!

It’s just an object of art which got bored of being locked inside an art gallery and so it escaped outside for some fresh air!

Cow Parade > May to August, Athens, Greece

For additional info > http://www.cowparade.gr/index.html

Antiquities of Cyprus, Victims of Invasion May 24, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Occupied.
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The Mediterranean’s first wine was made in Cyprus 5,500 years ago, predating winemaking in Greece by 1,500 years; perfume was manufactured and exported 4,000 years ago, but the antiquities of the 12,000 years of history, so extensive that this ancient island should be regarded as “one huge monument” have been savaged: since the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus, sixteen thousand icons, mosaics and frescoes, and 60,000 ancient artifacts have been brutally torn from their contexts, smuggled, hoarded by dealers, consigned for sale to auction houses, and sold to museums and private collectors.

Tragically, the looters not only diminished the value of the artefacts while attempting to remove them, and by removing them from their historical and geographical context, but also destroyed the sites they plundered, said Michael Jansen in her lecture War and Cultural Heritage, presented on May 18 at the Onassis Foundation, presented in collaboration with the International Press Organization.

Cultural property, she said, is a non-renewal resource; archaeologists and historians learn a great deal about our development and history as long as sites are left undisturbed. “Artefacts have voices which tell our story if they are left onsite; in the homes of the wealthy and in museums, they are dumb objects sitting on shelves and languishing in glass cases. Once they tell our story, they can be sent into the world and put on display.”

Mrs. Jansen has followed the issue of the fate of cultural heritage in times of war for thirty years and reported on this issue and the illegal trade of antiquities for Archaeology magazine for the last twenty years. “Unless scholars are able to continue to search out our past and build on the grand narrative of human development and civilization, humankind as a whole is impoverished; the fabric of our historical narrative becomes filled with holes,” said Mrs. Jansen, “We are diminished. Loss in one country or part of the world is a loss for global civilization. Although tomb robbing is said to be the second oldest profession, looting is a crime against civilization, a crime against humanity.”

Mrs. Jansen was introduced by Dr. Mark Rose, executive editor of Archaology magazine, who spoke about the plundering of archaeological sites and museums, and destruction of cultural and religious monuments in countries devastated by war, also mentioning a listing change regarding the return of antiquities to their originating countries.

Mrs. Jansen discussed her 2005 book, War and Cultural Heritage: Cyprus after the 1974 Turkish Invasion, which tells the story of ethnic cleansing, the expulsion of the Greek Cypriot majority, and pillage, the theft of the island’s rich cultural heritage, that began as soon as Turkish soldiers stormed ashore on July 20th, 1974. with the specifics of the brutal destruction and illicit marketing of the island’s historical, cultural, architectural and religious heritage.

“Looting generally accompanies warfare and unrest in countries with rich heritages, she said, “but the case of Cyprus is particularly dramatic because it is confined to a small, well defined geographical area, said Jansen, a resident of Nicosia, Cyprus, since 1976 Mrs. Jansen, who describes the south as “a land of plenty”, and the north as a “wasteland.” said that while little excavation and study of antiquities is being done in the north, archaeologists working in the south are making fresh discoveries all the time. “In the Turkish occupied north, both Christian and ancient sites have been mercilessly plundered and scholarly investigation has been disrupted. Meanwhile in the government-controlled south, sites have been largely preserved and scholars have been at work uncovering the distant past, Scholarship in the north remains frozen while it moves forward in the south.”

Mrs. Jansen discussed the three phase of the invasion of the island. First,158,000 Greek Cypriots fled, while archaeological sites, museums, churches, monasteries, castles, libraries and private collections were robbed and vandalized, sometimes at random by rampaging soldiers and sometimes by professional art and antiquities thieves belonging to a well-organized network on the island.

During the second phase, 2,000 of the remaining 4,000 Greek Cypriots were forced to leave as Turkish Cypriot smugglers systematically targeted specific treasures, which, said mrs. Jansen, were shipped them to “the leading wholesaler of Cypriot loot, Aydin Dikmen in Munich. Dikmen, who began his career in Turkey hawking illegal finds and forging artefacts became a ship-breaker and major player in hot art mafias.”

The third phase is ongoing: 500 Greek Cypriots have clung to their homes in the Karpass Peninsula and looting has continued from unexplored sites while the cultural heritage of the north is also being depleted by illegal excavations, dissolution by neglect and destruction by developers.

A film “Cyprus: The perishing heritage” (production of Cyprus Press and Information Office) shown before the lecture. A comprehensive survey conducted by Greek and Turkish Cypriot architects and engineer revealed that while a majority of mosques in the south are in fair to good repair, most churches and monasteries in the north — some considered to be major world heritage sites because of their irreplaceable mosaics — were looted of icons, brutally stripped of wall paintings and mosaics by Romanian technicians trained by the mainland Turkish smuggler and dealer Aydin Dikmen. Churches and monasteries were also desecrated, being used as toilets and to house animals.

There are three levels of operatives engaged in the illegal art trade, said Mrs. Jansen, tomb robbers who harvest the crop, receivers or middle men, and customers. Tomb robbers and customers are many, but middle men – wholesalers and primary dealers – are few and are closely connected. The authorities and police forces and customers know who looters, dealers and buyers are but rarely take action against them. Sentences are light for those who are caught and tried. But the police in some countries are becoming more active.

Trade in stolen art and antiquities is said to be $5-6 billion a year, with Istanbul, Munich, Zurich and London, being the hubs, and artefacts flowing along routes used by drugs and arms smugglers who often buy looted art to launder their profits from their other enterprises. As well, terrorist groups in Iraq are selling antiquities to finance their operations.

The climate of opinion is changing, however, since the late eighties, around the time the Indianapolis court decided to send the Kanakaria mosaics home to Cyprus when the presiding judge took the view that the dealer had no right to stolen property even though he claimed the buyer had bought them mosaics in “good faith.”

While individual Turkish Cypriots have long been aware that the heritage of the island belongs to them as well as to Greek Cypriots and are trying to rescue it, the Turkish Cypriot and mainland Turkish authorities have done little to preserve Christian and archaeological sites, said Mrs. Jansen. “A belated effort has been made to repair and maintain major archaeological sites in order to attract tourism.” She also noted that some Turkish Cypriot and Turkish journalists did their best to halt the looting by publicizing it. “Turkish Cypriot poet Mehmet Yasin and mainland Turkish journalist Ozgen Acar of Cumhurriet, in particular, campaigned against pillaging.”

Cyprus is not the only victim of pillage. Cambodia, India, the Balkans, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, and the countries of Africa, Eastern Europe and Latin America have been subjected to looting, and purchasers of artifacts cannot continue to abide by the maxim, “Don’t ask too many questions,” said Mrs. Jansen. Leading museums and collectors in the US are facing serious moral pressure and prosecution over “hot artefacts” in their collections.

Among the distinguished guests who attended were: Susan Adams – Director of Foreign Press Association, Alan Capper -President of Foreign Press Association, Ambassador Andreas Mavroyiannis -Cyprus Mission to the UN, The Honorable Martha Mavromati- Counsul General of Cyprus, Andreas Hadjichrysanthou- Deputy Permanent Representative of Cyprus to the UN, Eleni Avgousti-Cyprus Mission to the UN, George Alexopoulos- Consul of Greece, Demetrios Boutris- Former Trade Commissioner of California, Peter Papanicolaou- philanthropist, other members of the Foreign Press and numerous scholars.

A documentation of 505 Christian and 115 Muslim sites with photographs and descriptions can be found on the website: www.cyprustemples.com.

The Naughty Grandchild > most expensively sold Greek artwork May 24, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Auctions.
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Lytras painting breaks record for Greek work

The 19th century painting “The Naughty Grandchild” by Nikiforos Lytras yesterday became the most expensively sold piece of artwork by a Greek painter, going for 1.08 million euros at an auction in London.

The painting, which shows a grandmother talking to her grandchild, was bought by a private collector during the “Greek Sale” at Sotheby’s auction house. Lytras is one of the most respected Greek artists of his era. The painting appeared at auction for the first time and had not been available to scholars for some 100 years.

After it was first unveiled in 1888, Lytras reworked the painting, which originally showed the child in the nude, and, at the turn of the century, sold it to a private collector in the USA. Sotheby’s sold a total of 82 paintings by Greek artists in yesterday’s auction for some 4 million euros.

Movies > “Greece: Secrets of the Past” May 24, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Movies Life.
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A new film, “Greece: Secrets of the Past” opens June 9 at the Phipps IMAX Theatre at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.

Directed by two-time Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Greg MacGillivray, the film tells the story of how a 21st century Greek archaeologist is uncovering the secret history of his ancient ancestors.

“Greece: Secrets of the Past” merges a contemporary archaeological detective story with some of the most advanced and painstaking digital re-creations undertaken for an IMAX film. Scenes in the film restore such centuries-old spectacles as the original Parthenon and the volcanic eruption that buried Santorini in 1646 BC.

For information and showtimes, go to www.dmns.org.

Greece: feature country for Mediterranean Travel Fair May 24, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Tourism.
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Greece has been announced as the feature country for Mediterranean Travel Fair (MTF 2006), which will take place in Egypt on 5 – 7 September 2006, as part of its continued endeavours to use high-profile events to externally market its hospitality industry.

Greece has participated in Mediterranean Travel Fair since its inception in 2000 and is considered one of the most valued exhibitors in the exhibition.

The feature country idea was initiated in 2005 by Mediterranean Travel Fair organiser Reed Travel Exhibitions as part of its continued drive to deliver more value to participants. It was designed to achieve maximum visibility for a specific exhibiting destination every year, hence enabling it to capitalise on the full range of opportunities, which the event creates. Greece was selected as the 2006 Feature Country in light of the intensive advertising campaign that it has undertaken prior and since the Athens Olympics to market the country as a premier tourist destination.

Since inception in 2000, Mediterranean Travel Fair has established itself as a main platform for showcasing the tourism industry in the Eastern Mediterranean region and enhancing awareness of existing opportunities by bringing key industry players face to face under one roof.