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Greece to loan Minoan antiquities to British Museum September 8, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Archaeology Greece.
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Greece has agreed to loan London’s British Museum a collection of priceless Minoan-era antiquities for an exhibition to be held by 2009, the Greek culture ministry has said.

Among antiquities on display will be the renowned bull-leaping frescoes from the Minoan palace of Knossos, Crete, a 3,700-year-old site excavated by British archaeologist Arthur Evans in the early 20th century.

The loan will be possible because of ongoing restoration works on Crete’s Heraklion Museum, where the antiquities are currently housed, a culture ministry official said Friday.

Greek daily Eleftherotypia Friday reported that the loan “aims to reopen talks for the return of the Parthenon Marbles,” a collection of sculpted friezes depicting gods, men and monsters shipped to Britain in the early 19th century on orders from Lord Elgin, British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, who stolen the marbles and illegally exported them to Britain.

The Greeks have for 20 years demanded their return, complaining that the works – masterpieces executed at the height of the Greek classical period 2,500 years ago – were illegally removed and are part of their national heritage.

The restitution to Athens this week of a Parthenon marble statue fragment from Germany’s Heidelberg University has rekindled Greece’s determination to secure all the missing parts of the temple, which was badly damaged in a 17th century Venetian siege.

According to the Greek culture ministry, pieces of the 5th-century B.C. temple are currently found in London, Paris, Vienna, Rome, Palermo, Copenhagen, Munich, and Wuerzburg.

Named after the mythical king Minos, master of the fearsome Minotaur, the Minoan civilization flourished during the Bronze Age, covering a period from 2700 to 1200 before the common era.

Greece at TUR 2007 exhibition September 8, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Tourism.
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It kicked off with Germany at TUR 2006. TUR 2007 will see a partner country from hotter latitudes as Greece is the latest TUR partner country. Greece will be even more noticeable at TUR 2007, both at the  inauguration and throughout the exhibition halls.

“TUR is the biggest and most important tourism fair, not just in Sweden but throughout Scandinavia. Greece is very close to the Swedish market. After all, it`s been one of our most loyal markets over the years. So the partnership feels just right,” says Angela Varela, Manager of the Greek National Tourist Office in Stockholm.

2006 has been a very good year for Greek tourism. Swedish and Scandinavian travellers have rediscovered the country as a destination.

“We want to keep the sense of closeness and retain the bonds between Greece and our visitors,” says Angela Varela.

The exact way in which Greece will present itself at TUR 2007 has not yet been finalised. But the intention is to do something really special.

“Our main purpose at the fair is to create a pleasant area where we can welcome everyone who is interested in making contact with Greek companies and so on. We’ll also be offering a lot of other information about our beautiful country,” concluded Varela.

Aegean Motorway Group to build motorway in Greece September 8, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture Infrastructure.
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The Greek government has decided to award the concession for one of the country’s most important road corridors to the Aegean Motorway Group consortium.

Vinci Concessions has a 13.75% interest in the consortium, which is led by the German contractor Hochtief. Several major Greek companies are consortium members, including Elliniki Technodomiki and J&P-Avax.

The 30-year concession contract covers the upgrade, construction, financing and operation of a 230 km section of existing motorway between Athens and the country’s second biggest city, Thessaloniki. The project will be financed by revenue from current traffic, about 20,000 vehicles a day, equity from the concessionaire shareholders, Greek government funding and a project-specific bank loan. Construction will take approximately 4.5 years and is worth about €720 million, under 2005 economic conditions.

The Athens Cow Parade enters the auction phase September 8, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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In the eyes of the sophisticated art enthusiasts, Cow Parade’s painted “sculptures” of lifesize cows that were distributed throughout the center of Athens probably seemed like a poor substitute for a more challenging public art exhibition or – at best – a light, fun event.

This is probably no exaggeration, yet Cow Parade must be credited with providing a playground-like environment for children and for making people feel more involved in their urban surroundings.

But more than anything else, it is the philanthropic aspect of Cow Parade that should be recognized.

This is a global venture (cities all over the world have had their own Cow Parade) whose purpose is to gather funds to help advance a particular charity project.

The proceeds from the auction of the sculptures will be donated to the Together for Children association.

The Athens Cow Parade auction will take place on September 18 at the Kogialleneios horse-riding center in Goudi. Auctioneer Petros Vergos will head the auction.

A preview of the works is to take place at the same premises from September 15-17 (noon – 8 p.m.)

The starting price ranges from 3,000 to 5,000 euros for each cow.

A catalog that documents the exhibition and includes photos of each cow has been published for the purpose of the auction. It is available at the Elefteroudakis bookstores for 15 euros.

Information: 210 6199482-3.

A city seeks its own artistic scene September 8, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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‘Action Field Kodra,’ a large contemporary art exhibition in Thessaloniki, has feel of a workshop

Athens may still be the city with the greatest number of important and costly art exhibitions, yet over the past several years Thessaloniki has made efforts to claim its own artistic scene and distinctive cultural profile. In that effort, the prestigious Costakis collection of the Russian avant-garde that is owned by the State Museum of Contemporary Art has been very useful. It has given clout and a certain international exposure to the city’s artistic scene.

In the field of contemporary art, a series of exhibitions have aimed at making Thessaloniki a cultural center for the Balkans and at cultivating a lively scene with a reputation for projects by young artists and artists-in-residency programs.

“Action Field Kodra,” which opened at the beginning of this month for the sixth consecutive year, is one such venture that promotes the work of young artists. It is organized by ArtBox in collaboration with the Forum of European Cultural Exchanges and the Cultural Organization of the Municipality of Kalamaria.

Held outside the city center in the former Kodra military camp, it is a project of varied and numerous contemporary art exhibitions.

It also includes an artists-in-residency program, “Borderlines,” curated by Pier Luigi Tazzi (co-curator of Documenta IX in Kassel). “Borderlines” invited two artists from Greece and one each from Turkey, Albania and Egypt and asked them to make works that addressed the notion of social segregation.

In the rest of the exhibitions, the majority of the works were for the most part site-specific, something that gives the entire venture a certain freshness and spontaneity. Examples of site-specific exhibitions include “ProTaseis,” curated by Sotiris Bahtetzis and Anne-Laure Oberson, in which 18 Greek artists made works inspired by the space of Kodra itself.

Kodra may not necessarily be the place to look for exceptional works or art from established artists. The excitement of the project lies in the fact that it acts as a meeting ground for artists and curators of different backgrounds and in that it has a workshop-like character.

In the exhibition “Theirland,” for example, the four participating artists from France camped out in Kodra and made works using water and materials drawn from the surroundings. In Kodra, it was also interesting to see certain artists in the role of curators: Effie Halivopoulou curated “RoomsToLet” and Artemis Potamianou – who has worked as a curator in large exhibitions – asked artists to make works inspired by Joseph Kosuth’s work.

To September 17. Info: www.artbox.gr.

Music > Will Jay-Z put end to summer of no-shows? September 8, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Music Life Live Gigs.
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Superstar rapper Jay-Z, organizers say, will perform in Athens on September 19 at the downtown Athinon Arena.

In the domestic concert circuit’s latest test of whether a public announcement for a touring show really means anything, superstar rapper Jay-Z is set to perform in Athens on September 19.

The Jay-Z show has been promoted for months, bolstered by posters along city streets. If the show goes ahead as planned, with no glitches, it will both delight the superstar rapper’s fans here and rate as one of the biggest international celebrity shows staged in Athens in the last few months.

Latin pop star Shakira made it here just weeks ago for a show while still at the height of her fame. So, too, did superstar rapper 50 Cent, who has collaborated with Jay-Z. But this New York rapper’s arrival would probably outshine both, if celebrity status and entrepreneurial power are a measure.

But this summer’s numerous canceled events have jarred the local concert circuit, shocking fans and promoters alike. Several highly anticipated productions by major international acts, most notably the Rolling Stones, never made it to Greece. Many acts did not come due to poor advance ticket sales, but in the case of the iconic Stones, an injury sustained by guitarist Keith Richards was the cause.

Just weeks ago, it was announced that Prince, another pop force, would be performing in Athens this month. The event’s organizer issued the details, but some doubted the event would ever happen. In the end, the Prince show was eventually scrapped. Meanwhile, the attention is now on Jay-Z, the CEO at Def Jam, a powerhouse record label in hip-hop.

The music mogul and rapper is also a co-owner of NBA team the New Jersey Nets and had expressed interest late last year in investing in leading English soccer club Chelsea. The club’s owner, Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, reportedly rejected the rapper’s offer. There have since been rumors about investment interest by the rapper in another major London club, Arsenal.

There’s a humanitarian aspect behind Jay-Z’s tour, in association with the United Nations, to raise awareness about water-shortage problems around the world. Whether this program’s formality binds the artist to his schedule remains to be seen.

Thessaloniki’s first cartoon festival September 8, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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The agenda for the festival is rich with displays, screenings, happenings and lectures, among other events.

Thessaloniki will play host to its first major cartoon event at the end of the month at the city’s post complex. The First International Cartoons Festival of Thessaloniki, which will run from September 25 to October 1, will feature Spain as the honored country. The event is organized by Galera magazine and the Thessaloniki Film Museum, with the support of the Ministry of Culture, the Merchant Marine Ministry, the Cervantes Institute and the Spanish Embassy.

The festival will include the “Lanza en astillero” exhibition, which features works by 25 Spanish artists inspired by chapters of Miguel de Cervantes’s famous novel “Don Quixote” (commissioned for the celebration of the 400th anniversary of the novel’s publication). The exhibition had gone on display in Spain in 2005.

The festival will further include exhibitions of sketches about Don Quixote by Fokion Dimitriadis, published during the World War II occupation by Athinaika Nea, as well as comics by distinguished Spanish scriptwriter Felipe Cava from “11M,” an edition dealing with the deadly March 11, 2004 terrorist attack in Madrid, which features the work of 11 designers. Works about Don Quixote by artists Miguel Brieva, Miguelanxo Prado, Petros Zervos, Giorgos Constantinou and other Greek artists will also be on display.

Speeches, audiovisual presentations by various comics and film experts about the depiction of Don Quixote in comics and in cinema, screenings of Greek and Spanish films, concerts and more are also on the agenda.