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As Greek As It Gets opens June 21, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Taste World.
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Dimitris Karonis, franchisee of the Yo! Sushi brand in Greece, has opened the first in a planned chain of Greek souvlaki restaurants in London, UK.

As Greek As It Gets, in Earl’s Court, occupies 150sq ft (14sq m) across two floors, with room for 15 diners downstairs and 30 on the first floor.

The menu features trademarked dishes offering contemporary takes on traditional Greek favourites. Karonis, intends to open two further London sites by the end of the year. Details: +44 (0)20 7244 7777.

The genesis of the modern Olympic Games June 21, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Athens 2004 Olympics, Culture History Mythology.
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The first recorded Olympic Games were those of Antiquity initiated in 776BC and terminated in about 393AD when the Christian Emperor Theodosius, alleging that the Games were pagan rituals, issued a special decree for their elimination as well as for the destruction of the Olympic site.

The permanence of the games

Although the Ancient Games were discontinued in 393BC their prestige and that of Classical Greece never waned. Earthquakes have toppled the sacred temples of Olympia… and silt from the ancient.

Thus one oracular religion had given birth to the Games and a new religion sounded their death knell. Actually the Games had been deteriorating through corruption, mismanagement and nepotism, particularly during the Roman period when rivers covered the hallowed site, but the memories of the sacred rituals lingered on, mainly through the odes of the great poet Pindar; and the writing of the traveler in the Peloponese, Pausanius.

With the flowering of the Renaissance, Classical literature and mythology inspired the great literary scene of the period. In the 16th century, William Shakespeare refers to the “Olympian Games” in Henry VI; and the great poet John Milton speaks highly of them in “Paradise Lost”.

The interest of Classical Greece in the 17th and 18th centuries encouraged Captain Robert Dover of England to introduce the Costwalds Olympic Games in 1636. These were further enhanced with the introduction of classical poetry and Olympic rituals so much so that when the French thinker Voltaire was a “charmed spectator” in 1727 he felt “he had been transported to Olympia”.

Excavations in Olympia (more…)

Acrocorinth Castle Anniversary June 21, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Culture Heritage.
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Next July a church service will be held to mark the anniversary of the liberation of Acrocorinth castle in the Peloponnese from Ottoman rule by Theodoros Kolokotronis, the leader of the Greek Revolution of 1821.

Acrocorinth is the largest and oldest fortress in the Peloponnese and includes a number of ancient shrines, including a temple to Aphrodite.

Greece breaks world record of largest newspaper printed June 21, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Media Radio TV.
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The largest newspaper in the world has been printed in Chania, Greece’s southern island of Crete, andis seeking a place in the Guinness Book of World Records, Athens News Agency reported.
 
The special edition of Chillout newspaper, which has a page size of 210 centimeters (2.10 meters) in width and 295 centimeters(2.95 meters) in height, was presented during a special ceremony in the Chania municipal market square.
 
Chillout publisher Andreas Garyfalis said that an application had already been filed for the newspaper’s inclusion in the Guinness Book of World Records.
 
The regular-size Chillout is published every Wednesday, in 4,000 copies, and is distributed free of charge. The newspaper contains cultural and social news, and photo spreads.
 
The record for the largest special-edition newspaper is held by the June 14, 1993 edition of the Het Volk daily newspaper, published in the Belgian town of Ghent, which had a page size of 99.5 centimeters in width and 142.0 centimeters (1.42 meters) in height, and sold 50,000 copies.

What have the Greeks ever done for us? June 21, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Culture History Mythology.
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Well, for a start they founded our language, philosophies, politics and culture, retorts the writer. Still in doubt? Then visit the sites where it all began.

Given that a classical education seems about as relevant to modern life as medieval history, you could be forgiven for thinking that all the Greeks have ever done for us was whinge about some Marbles and introduce an undrinkable wine and cheesy salad to our diet. But think again: we owe practically everything to the Greeks.

THE ALPHABET

The be-all and end-all, the alpha and omega of our culture. Out of Latin, via Etruscan and back to the Greek, the language of Europe’s first literary work, Homer’s Odyssey and Iliad. In its earliest form, Linear B, it survives in several thousand clay tablets, found in Crete at the Minoan palace of Knossos (open 8am-5pm), admission €4.50; in the Peloponnese at Mycenae; at the great walled palace of Agamemnon (open 8am-7pm), admission €6, and at Pylos (8.30am-3pm, closed Monday), admission €3 in the palace of Homer’s wise old King Nestor.

The National Archeological Museum in Athens, which houses samples of practically everything Greek including the most spectacular finds from Mycenae, open Monday (10.30am-5pm), Tuesday to Sunday (8.30am-3pm), admission €6.

ARCHITECTURE

Practically all the elements of the English neo-classical style come from the Greeks: pediments and porticoes; the orders of Doric, Ionic and Corinthian; triglyphs and metopes; sculpture as ornament. In the middle of Athens at the Acropolis (open from 8.30am-7pm in the summer, 8.30am-2.30pm Nov-March, admission €12) you can see it all: the perfect classical proportion of the Parthenon, the exquisite little temple of Athena Nike, and the elegant Erechtheium, its porch supported by sturdy girls (now all casts taken from the British Museum’s Caryatid, rather than the pollution-eaten ones that had remained in situ).

DRAMA

“Drama,” say the modern Greeks, with a slicing motion of the hand, to describe any kind of scene, fuss or hullaballoo. Polonius, vaunting the talents of the players in Hamlet, calls them “the best actors in the world – for tragedy, comedy, history…”. The words are Greek and the tragedies and comedies of their great playwrights of the 5th century BC are the direct ancestors of our theatre.

Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, with Aristophanes providing the irreverence, competed with each other at the spring festival of the Dionysia in the theatre that you can see today on the southern slope of the Acropolis in Athens (open daily from 8.30am to 7pm in the summer, 8.30am to 3pm daily except Monday between November and March), admission €1.50.Many of their works are set in towns that are within half a day’s drive of Athens. Antigone and Oedipus Tyrannus take place in Thebes, whose little-visited museum (open 8am-2.30pm, closed Monday) has a wonderful collection of painted sarcophagi; admission €2. Keep on along the road to Delphi and you come to the crossroads where Oedipus killed his father, with consequences as dire for the modern psyche as Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden.

The most complete of the surviving ancient theatres, Epidaurus (open 8am-7pm; admission €6), is 90 minutes’ drive from Mycenae. Here every summer many of the classical works are performed as part of the Athens Festival (210 9282900; www.greekfestival.gr).

POLITICS

Politics: the business of running a polis, or city. Ancient Greece was not a single unitary state, but a collection of small independent cities. They all tried various forms of organising their lives: oligarchy, tyranny, democracy and versions thereof which frequently degenerated into anarchy. Democracy, the particular invention of the classical Greeks, reached its fullest and, some no doubt would say, most florid and degenerate form in fifth-century Athens – the richest, most powerful and creative of the city-states.

If you live in a small Greek town or village today and you want to meet your plumber, he won’t have a business address; he will tell you to meet him in the agora. He means the cafés in the square where people gather to do business. In ancient Athens, it was the huge area on the north side of the Acropolis, extensively excavated now and dominated by the near-perfect temple of the Theseion. Here you can see the bouleuterion, the meeting place of the executive council of the Athenian democracy, and, on the hill of the Pnyx overlooking it, the place where the Assembly met, in whose debates every one of the roughly 30,000 adult male citizens (but no women, immigrants or slaves) had the right to participate. Some of the machinery of this democracy is on display in the Agora Museum (open 8.30am-3pm, closed Monday, admission €4), where you can see jurors’ disks for pronouncing verdicts of guilty or not guilty, a water clock for timing lawyers’ speeches and pottery shards for voting to “ostracise,” – ie. banish for 10 years – politicians and officials who had fallen from grace. A precedent there, perhaps.

SCIENCES, PHILOSOPHIES AND PHILOLOGIES

Master of all – philosophy, moral and political; literary criticism; biology and physics – was the great Aristotle. Born in the village of Stagira (on the road from the northern town of Thessaloniki to the monastic republic of Mt Athos) he came to Athens to study with Plato, who was in turn a pupil of Socrates.

Medicine was called “hygiene” by the Greeks, after Hygeia, daughter of Asclepius, god of healing. Hippocrates, of the Oath, practised it at the sanctuary of Asclepius (admission €4); open 8.30am-3pm, closed Mondays) on the island of Kos. You can reach Kos on some charter flights, or via Athens, or by ferry from Rhodes or Pireaus.

THE NEW TESTAMENT

The message of Christ first came to Europe in Greek. The Greek-speaking St Paul brought it, when he landed at the northern Greek port of Kavalla AD49 and made his first converts in the neighbouring town of Philippi. The other island associated with the beginnings of Christianity is Patmos, which is connected daily by ferries to Rhodes and Pireaus. Its beautiful castle-monastery of St John, founded in 1088, commemorates the presence here of St John the Apostle, author of the gospel and the Book of Revelations, which he is said to have written here.

Greece to host Europe Corporate Games in November June 21, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Sports & Games.
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Athens Mayor Theodoros Bechrakis announced that Athens will host the 2006 Europe Corporate Games in November.

At the press conference, Bechrakis said that it will be the second consecutive year Athens host this major event.

The Europe Corporate Games are a special multi-sport celebration very different from the traditional Games. The Corporate Games are a combination of sport, business and tourism, which helps to raise self-confidence but, most importantly, boosts the spirit of teamwork and strengthens the ties between business management and staff on all levels.

More than 3,500 athletes, representing more than 150 companies from throughout Europe, are expected to compete this year in 20 events.

The Europe Corporate Games Athens 2006 will take place between November 3 and 5 at the Olympic venues.

President of the City of Athens Youth and Sport Organisation (ONA) Nikos Apergis said that the City of Athens was taking a more active role in this year’s Europe Corporate Games, adding that the Greek capital has won the right to host the event for five consecutive years, from 2005 to 2010. The key characteristic of these Games is the joy of participation, he said.

These Games were created to enhance life-long fitness, raise morale and boost the sense of esprit de corps in the workplace through participation in competitive sport, while they promote the ideals of sport, international friendship and entrepreneurship, he added.

Get ready for the new Greece June 21, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Tourism.
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The Greek National Tourism Organisation in conjunction with Greece specialist wholesaler Chat Tours recently updated industry members on the latest developments affecting tourism in the country.

After being in the limelight as the host country of the 2004 Olympic Games, the GNTO in Sydney are now again attempting to increase awareness of the country to continue the tourism push from Australia and New Zealand.
 
GNTO Director Australia & New Zealand, George Spiliotis said the country in recent years has undergone a number of new investments including an uprising of five star hotels and golf courses, as well as improving infrastructure throughout.
 
“Visitors should travel now as there are a lot of places in Greece that are vanishing.  There are over 2000 islands, and a lot of places that have not yet been discovered,” he said.
 
Sydney-based Chat Tours are amongst the top wholesalers of Greece and Eastern Mediterranean products for the Australian market handling arrangements for over 9,000 visitors each year. 
 
The wholesaler operates a special Groups and Incentives department from its Athens head office, which dealing directly for the Australasian market.
 
Chat Tours 2006 brochure features a host of tours to the Greek Islands, Egypt and other destinations.
 
For more information contact the Greek National Tourism Organisation on 02 9241 1663
 
For more information on Chat Tours or to order their 2006 brochure, visit www.chatours.com.au