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Property developers turn to holiday home sector September 5, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture Greece.
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Wealthy foreign vacationers are the main target group

The holiday home market is one of the most attractive domains in local real estate, sporting significant scope for growth. The country’s natural beauty, combined with the mild climate, make Greece an ideal destination for those seeking a place in the sun, particularly for pensioners from Central and Northern Europe.

In view of these positive prospects, Greek property development companies and subsidiaries of construction groups are turning toward developing organized complexes of holiday houses to offer an attractive and quality product that the Greek market did not have a few years ago.

Crete, the country’s biggest island, is predictably the focus of construction interest for the development of such complexes and holiday units. The biggest investment taking place on the island at the moment, despite several difficulties, is by British company Loyalward, and reaching 700 million euros.

The story of that investment began back in 1998, with the utilization of the 26 square kilometers belonging to the Toplou Monastery. Eight years on, the company states it has secured most of the permits required. Its plan provides for the creation of hotel units, conference installations and golf courses as well as four “villages” of 360 inhabitants each, addressed to customers from Northern Europe.

Another major investment on the island of Crete is by Iktinos Technical and Touristic on a plot of 1.8 sq.km belonging to the Faneromeni Monastery. This, too, has come up against many obstacles: After five years of trying to obtain the permits required, Iktinos is now optimistic it will begin construction.

The investment will reach 120 million euros, including the construction of a hotel unit, a marina, two housing areas and some golf courses. The first stage of the investment (65 million euros) spreads over 492,000 sq.m. and provides for a five-star hotel with a 500-capacity conference center, along with a spa, a marina for 85 boats and a village with 300 luxurious villas and a shopping center. The first stage will be completed at end-2009, while the second also includes the development of two 18-hole golf courses.

Crete will further host the second project of J&P Development in the holiday home market, as the company has acquired a plot of 4,700 sq.m. just outside Hania, at Pirgos Psilonerou. This holiday house complex will be just 15 km from the city of Hania and 30 km from the airport, which makes it a very good choice even for main residences.

Cypriot firm Cybarco Property Development, too, has invested in the Hania prefecture, in the area of Maleme. The company has completed a complex of 24 holiday homes totaling 2,000 sq.m. on a plot of 3,500 sq.m. Most of the houses have already been sold. The complex consists of eight maisonettes (ranging from 247,000 to 309,000 euros) and 16 apartments. The same firm has constructed another five seashore villas at Kalathas, near Hania, all of which have been sold.

Cybarco is also involved in the Rhodes market. In the area of Kalathos, near Lindos, it has completed the Helios Resort complex of 36 holiday houses, 31 of which have already been sold. In the village of Lahania, in southeastern Rhodes, a new investment has been begun by the company of a “traditional” neighborhood of 54 houses on 21 plots of 500 sq.m. each. This development is intended as an extension of the village of Lahania and maintains the traditional character of Rhodes.

The biggest investment on the island of Paros is being conducted by Sarbro Development at Naoussa, where 110 country houses are being built over an area of 125,000 sq.m. The houses take up only 5,000 sq.m. of the area. Most of the houses are two-story with up to four bedrooms and they include several 30 sq.m. studios. GEK is also present on the island, developing two holiday complexes of 99 homes.

Copelouzos Real Estate’s interest in the holiday house domain is focused on the island of Naxos, where it is developing two projects. The first is on the island’s southwest coast, at Pyrgaki, with 26 cottages. The complex is named Naxos Resort, and set in an area of 37,000 sq.m. that is split into nine semicircular plots so that the best possible view is gained for each home.

Naxos Resort includes 14 houses of 95 sq.m., 10 of 115 sq.m. and two 151 sq.m. homes. There are three houses built on each plot, except for one plot with two houses. The villas built include a two-level maisonette and a detached guest house. The project is expected to be completely ready within 18 months, with some houses already being sold.

At the same time, Copelouzos Real Estate has started its other project on Naxos, in the area of Kastraki, which will consist of smaller houses of up to 75 sq.m.

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UK tourists charged in Cyprus September 5, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Police & Crime.
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Three British tourists were charged yesterday with killing a Cypriot youth and seriously injuring another during an alleged revenge road attack on Cyprus. A fourth British man pleaded guilty to lesser charges in the case.

Julian Harnington, 39, Michael Binnington, 21, and Luke Atkinson, 22, all from Essex, England, are accused of repeatedly ramming their rental car into two youths on their motorbike, intentionally knocking them down on August 18.

Christos Papiris, 17, died in the attack, and Marios Demetriou, 18, sustained grievous bodily injuries, police said.

Police said the attack followed a fight outside a nightclub near the resort of Ayia Napa, in which a British national was injured. The suspects allegedly went to find those responsible for their friend’s injury, and attacked the youths, who did not appear to have been involved in the brawl, police said. The three face life in prison if convicted.

A fourth Briton, James Goodwill, 22, pleaded guilty to knife possession and to assisting Harnington.

Olympic champs beat Greece in water polo September 5, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Aquatics.
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Hungarian men and Italian women, winners at Athens 2004 Summer Games, prevail at Europeans but Greek teams carry on

Both the men’s and women’s national water polo teams lost to the reigning Olympic champions – Hungary and Italy respectively – at the European Championships in Belgrade yesterday, but nevertheless stayed alive in the competition.

The men’s national team, which had captured fourth place at the Athens Olympics, suffered its first defeat at these Europeans with a 10-8 loss to Hungary.

In its final group game in the tournament’s preliminary round, against Italy today, the Greek men’s team, coached by Italian Alessandro Campagna, needs at least a draw to advance to the next round, reserved for six teams. Italy, too, would make it through with a draw.

Greece, which captured fourth place at the Athens Olympics, managed to outscore Hungary in just one of the game’s four eight-minute periods, 2-1, in the third quarter. Hungary edged ahead with 3-2 scores in all the other quarters.

Greece took an early 2-1 lead but Hungary, a traditional powerhouse in the game, responded by building a 5-2 lead with two goals from Tamas Kasas.

The Greek team, which had showed impressive fighting spirit a day earlier for a 10-10 draw against the Croats after trailing by two goals in the encounter’s dying stages, showed character once more to level at 6-6 with the equalizer slammed in by Giorgos Afroudakis.

But Hungary shot ahead again with goals from Norbert Madaras and Kasas for a 10-7 lead. Giorgos Doskas, Greece’s top scorer in yesterday’s match with four goals, reduced the difference for the encounter’s final result, 10-8. Kasas, Hungary’s top scorer, also scored four goals.

Greece opened its campaign in Belgrade with an 11-8 win over Germany and then thrashed Slovenia with a 19-6 score.

In a repeat of the 2004 Olympics women’s final, Italy defeated Greece, this time with an 8-7 score. Despite the loss, Greece advanced to the next round, where it will confront Spain tomorrow. “Naturally, I’m very satisfied by my girls who challenged a team like Italy,” said the women’s team’s coach, Koulis Iosifidis. “The Italians are far more experienced than our young players and better prepared, so these details counted,” he added.

The Italians led 4-1 but Greece fought back to level at 5-5. Italy reclaimed the lead with an 8-6 score. With just seconds to go, Kelina Kantzou narrowed for the final 8-7 result.

Ancient treasures found September 5, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Archaeology Greece.
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A 2,200-year-old set of gold jewelry was unearthed from a Thracian burial mound on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast, the archaeologist who led the excavations said yesterday, the AP reports.

Daniela Agre said her team in late August found dozens of tiny jewelry pieces in the tomb of a woman, most likely a Thracian priestess, near the resort of Sinemorets, about 500 kilometers (310 miles) southeast of the capital, Sofia.

The discovery included two earrings, crafted like miniature chariots, as well as parts of gold necklaces, one decorated with a sculpture of a bull’s head.

A tiny plaque that appears to be the necklace’s fastener bears a Greek inscription, saying, “Made by Demetrius,” Agre said, suggesting this may have been the name the nobleman who ordered the jewelry.

The artifacts were unearthed August 25-27 during urgent recovery works at the Sinemorets mound, which was half destroyed, allegedly by a local hotel owner who thought the pile of earth was an ugly sight for tourists.

Most of the more than 160 finds, including gold and silver accessories and pottery, were badly damaged because the woman’s body had been cremated, an unusual practice for this region, Agre said.

The Thracians were an ancient people that inhabited the lands of present day Bulgaria and parts of modern Greece, Turkey, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Romania between 4000 BC and the 6th century AD, when they were assimilated by the invading Slavs.

Movie about banned love riles Nicosia September 5, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Movies Life Greek.
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A film about forbidden love in Cyprus has stirred passions on the ethnically partitioned island, with its showing at the Venice Film Festival this week embroiled in a row over funding.

Citing a contractual breach in a sponsorship deal, the Cypriot government has withheld funds for the 123-minute movie “Akamas” due to be screened in Venice on Saturday.

Its director says the move smacks of political censorship, which the government denies, because he defied calls to cut a controversial scene.

The movie, the first Cypriot entry at the festival, is the story of a Turkish-Cypriot man and a Greek-Cypriot woman defying family disapproval and war to stay together.

“I would describe it more as an epoch,” says Greek-Cypriot director and producer Panicos Chrysanthou. “They love one another through it all, and end up living on their own in a village everyone else abandons.”

The movie blends in elements of Cyprus’s turbulent history, including a Greek-Cypriot uprising against British colonial rule in the 1950s, inter-communual violence between Greek and Turkish Cypriots and Turkey’s invasion of the island in 1974 after a brief Greek-inspired coup.

But incensing authorities, the film includes a scene where Greek-Cypriot guerillas fighting British rule execute a suspected traitor in a church. The script which the government approved had it occurring in a coffeeshop.

“They asked me to remove the scene and if I didn’t I would not get anymore money,” said Chrysanthou. “They also sent me a letter saying that they don’t approve of the public showing of the film, which is basically saying, ‘Don’t show it.’” Chrysanthou says the government capitulated to complaints by former guerilla fighters worried the film portrayed them in a bad light.

Killings of suspected collaborators by the EOKA fighters’ movement did occur, but remain to this day a taboo subject among a community which regards the guerillas as independence heroes.

Authorities do not deny they had asked for the church scene to be cut. “The director has violated the contract… therefore the Education Ministry cannot respond to demands for additional financing,” a government statement said.

Greece at Venice Architectural Biennale September 5, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture Greece.
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“The Aegean, an interspersed city”, is the title of Greece’s participation in the prestigious international Venice Architectural Biennale. The 10th International Architectural Exhibition, which takes place from September 10 to November 19 in Venice, Italy, features participants from 50 countries on four different continents. The 2006 Venice Archtectural Biennale theme is “Cities: Architecture and Society”.

The central concept of the Greek participation is to present the Aegean as a city, the organisers of the Greek participation told a press conference on Wednesday, while culture minister George Voulgarakis said that this year’s Greek exhibition aims to link the Greek sea with the Mediterranean civilisation and the European dimension.

The Greek display is curated by architects Katerina Kotzia, Elias Constantopoulos, Lois Papadopoulos and Korina Filoxenidou, and organised by the General Secretariat for Modern Culture’s fine arts directorate.

This year’s Biennale focuses on the key factors facing large scale metropolitan areas around the world, from migration to mobility, from social integration to sustainable growth.

The Greek pavilion, which will cover a 350 sq.m. expanse in the Giardini Gardens, where the exhibition will take place, attempts to convey sentiments of a traveller to the Aegean, while a platform Square with scattered luggage will give a sense of travel.