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CTO turns to religious tourism October 12, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Tourism.
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The Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) and the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) are organising the first International Conference on Religious Tourism (ICORET 2006) in Nicosia next week.

This first-of-its-kind conference will be held at the Hilton Park Hotel on October 19-21 and aims to bring together stakeholders and organisations involved in the field as well as focus on key issues and provide networking opportunities for interested parties.

An array of renowned speakers from all over the world, experts in the field of religious tourism will be participating. The intensive, information-filled programme topics to be covered include the development of special interest tourism, best practices, new trends and the respect and protection of places of worship. The programme will also include technical visits to sites of religious and cultural significance.

Up to date information, including the conference programme and online registration is available at www.icoret.org .

ICORET 2006 is expected to be a reference point for tourism professionals such as national tourism authorities, tour operators, destination management companies (DMCs), travel agents, and consultants dealing with religious and cultural tourism as well as national, local and religious authorities interested in developing this type of tourism in their region.

The underlying perspective of the conference is global, but with a particular focus on similarities and differences between regions of the world, representing various phases of development, systems, cultural, societal and environmental conditions.

The expected outcome of ICORET 2006 is to build stronger ties between tourism authorities, travel agents, communities and religious sectors, and to devise approaches to move towards a more truly integrated way of thinking about religious tourism; a holistic approach to a complete offering with sustainability at the centre. This is an approach that will help policymakers and business professionals, religious authorities and civil society to address the complex issues around them more effectively.

According to a CTO announcement, the conference delegates will be able to learn about how to promote synergies among authorities and agents promoting religious tourism; to utilise Best Practices in product organisation and promotion of religious tourism; to position religious tourism as a special form of tourism; to derive sustainable results for stakeholders involved in religious tourism; to maintain religious tourism as a focal point of international tourism.

Delegates will also be expected to develop this industry in their respective area according to new trends in religious tourism development; to help promote, protect and respect places of worship; to better understand the challenges and potential of religious tourism and to network and exchange views among various stakeholders, experts, practitioners and decision makers in religious tourism development and management.

Cyprus is expected to set the example as Byzantine churches of Cyprus with their important architecture, iconography, mosaics, murals and rare icons, the chapels and shrines of the countryside, the monasteries speak for the intense dedication to traditions and the close interconnection of art with religious worship through the centuries.

Visitors to Cyprus also have the opportunity to come across buildings and places of worship belonging to other doctrines and religions which co-exist in a continuous dialogue promoting the rare historic and cultural palimpsest of the island.


Art meets science and the ancient Cycladic period October 12, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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Exhibit at Athens museum blends the contemporary with the ancient

Earlier in the year, the Museum of Cycladic Art held an impressive exhibition on how some of the most famous modern artists, examples included Brancusi, Giacometti and Picasso, were inspired by the ancient Cycladic figurines.

Organized on the occasion of the museum’s 20th anniversary, the exhibition “Shaping the Beginning” highlighted the museum’s opening to modern art and its effort to make connections between past and present cultures.

A joint exhibition currently on display through October 21 at the Museum of Cycladic Art (4 Neophytou Douka street, tel: 210 7228321) continues this practice. A space age-like installation that contemporary artist Yiannis Michaloudis made on the theme of the Cycladic figurines is presented together with a rare Cycladic figurine that the American School of Classical Studies at Athens granted on a long-term loan to the Museum of Cycladic Art just a few days ago.

“Stargazer” which is the name given to the Cycladic figurine because of the unusual backward tilt of the head, belongs to a rare type of early Cycladic figurines (only 21 are known to exist) which, until now, was not represented among the museum’s holdings.

A 14.5-centimeter-high figurine made from white stone, this early Cycladic idol was discovered in the early 20th century by Frank Calvert (an English expatriate who in the early 20th century was a consular official in the eastern Mediterranean region and was a key contributor to the discovery of the ancient city of Troy by Heinrich Schliemann) during excavations at the Hellenistic cemetery at the site of Kilia, which was the name of a Greek village in Eastern Thrace.

Francis Bacon, the architect who worked in the excavations in the Troad and knew Calvert, is most probably the man who brought the figurine to the American School of Classical Studies at Athens in the 1930s. Since then the figurine has remained in storage at the school.

The figurine is an unusual Cycladic figurine. Similarly, Michaloudis’s installation of “aer () sculptures” is an unusual contemporary artwork. This is partly because of the space-technology material which Michaloudis has used for making his sculptures, each one of them modeled after an original Cycladic figurine.

Silica aerogel, which is the name of the material, has a 99 percent air content and is used by NASA, mainly as an insulating material in spacecraft. Michaloudis learned of this material while on a research stint at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In reality, it looks like diaphanous, very light silicone material (a specimen is available for the visitors to touch).

For his installation at the Museum of Cycladic Art (Katerina Koskina is the curator), the shadows of those silica aerogel-made copies of figurines are projected onto large screens. The actual figurines rotate behind the screens or are presented independently. One of them is placed in the center of metal-like construction that is placed in midair thanks to the use of electromagnetic fields.

With lighting designed by Elefteria Deko, Michaloudis’s work is an atmospheric installation that alludes to a journey in time and space. It combines a science-fiction, futuristic element with references to art and an ancient civilization. Like many antiquity-inspired modern works of the early 20th century, it suggests the eternal and archetypal aspects of ancient Cycladic civilization.

International conference on tourism by ICCA in Greece October 12, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Tourism.
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Conference tourism, a global industry with an annual turnover of $7.4 billion, is turning to Greece for its yearly meeting at the end of this month in Rhodes.

For the first time since its foundation in 1963, the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) is holding its annual global conference from October 29 to November 1 at the Sofitel Capsis Hotel and Center “Marika Capsis 2000” on the Dodecanese island.

The head of the Greek committee organizing the event, Irini Varda-Kapsi, and her deputy, Panayiotis Podimatas, announced yesterday a record participation in the conference, with as many as 800 delegates from 60 countries, breaking the record of the Copenhagen conference in 2002.

Greece earned the right to stage the event beating off rivals bids from Turkey, Austria and Latvia. The ICCA specializes in organizing conferences of international bodies, but not in the corporate meetings sector.

Kapsi referred to data from an ICCA survey which bring Greece from the 22nd position in international organizations’ conferences last year (with 94 such events staged) to 15th for 2007, with 114 conferences booked already.

The financial significance that has for hotels and other units is great. That’s because an average conference of 600 people lasting four days at an accommodation unit which chooses to stay open during the winter can cover the operating expenses of the whole non-peak period.

Furthermore, a conference delegate spends $527 per day in accommodation, food, cost of participation and so on, which is far higher than a regular tourist’s spending.

Most international conferences are medical, followed by scientific, technology and industry conferences.

Irini Varda-Kapsi expressed her confidence that with the operation of a major conference venue in Athens, Greece will raise its profile on the global conference tourism map.

A prominent maestro to perform October 12, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Music Life Classical.
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The Athens Concert Hall (Megaron) is preparing to welcome one of the greatest contemporary conductors, Marek Janowski, who will give two concerts with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande over the weekend. The German maestro, who is of Polish descent, will conduct works by Dutilleux, Beethoven, Franck and Brahms.

The program will feature Henri Dutilleux’s work “Metaboles” and Beethoven’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 61 both on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, Janowski will also lead the orchestra in Cesar Franck’s Symphony in D minor, while Sunday will feature Johannes Brahms’s Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90.

Born in Warsaw in 1939 and raised in Wuppertal, Janowski studied at the Music Academy in Cologne. In 1984 he was appointed Music Director of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, a position he kept for 16 years. Since 2002 Janowski has served as chief conductor and artistic director of Berlin’s Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester and he has worked with symphony orchestras all over Europe, Asia and America. His most successful interpretations include “Der Ring Des Nibelungen” with the Dresden Staatskapelle, Karl Maria von Weber’s opera “Euryanthe” and Richard Strauss’s opera “Die Schweigsame Frau.”

The Orchestre de la Suisse Romande was founded in 1918 by top Swiss conductor Ernest Ansermet, who remained its conductor up to 1967. The orchestra, which consists of 112 musicians, performs every year in Geneva and Lausanne and always gives an annual concert for the UN. Right from the start, the ensemble has actively supported contemporary composers, including Claude Debussy, Benjamin Britten and Igor Stravinsky.

Beethoven’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra will see the participation of acclaimed violinist Nikolaj Znaider, who has collaborated with distinguished orchestras including the Berlin, Vienna and New York philharmonics, among others, as well as conductors such as Daniel Barenboim and Kurt Masur.

Athens Concert Hall, 1 Kokkali Street and Vassilissis Sofias Avenue, Athens, tel 210 7282333. The concerts will take place at the Friends of Music Hall at 8.30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Harold Pinter > an exhibition October 12, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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The British dramatist and Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter is the subject of an exhibition at the Benaki Museum’s Pireos Street annex that opens tomorrow and runs to October 22.

Organized as part of a tribute to Pinter at the Panorama of European Cinema, the exhibition includes photographs of his visits to Greece, posters from films for which he wrote the screenplays, books of his that have been translated into Greek, programs for plays of his that have been performed here and in Britain, and costumes from Greek productions of his work.

At the Benaki Museum New Wing, 138 Pireos street, tel 210 3453111.

On October 17 there will be a discussion on Pinter’s political discourse at the main branch of the Benaki Museum in Kolonaki. The speakers are Eleftherotypia daily editor Seraphim Fyntanidis, writer Petros Tsatsopoulos, and Professor Constantinos Tsoukalas of Athens University’s political science department.

At the Benaki Museum, 1 Koumbari street, Kolonaki, tel 210 3671000.

A Love story October 12, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece.
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Kastaniotis publishers and the Goethe Institute present “Schliemann and Sofia: A Love Story” by Danae Koulmasi on October 18 at 8 p.m. Professors Fotini Tsalikoglou and Hermann Kienast and the author will speak.

At the Goethe Institute, 14-16 Omirou street, tel 210 3661000.

Poet Derek Walcott to visit Athens October 12, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Books Life Greek.
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Nobel Laureate in literature Derek Walcott
Poet, dramatist, and Nobel Laureate in literature Derek Walcott will give a lecture at the Athens Concert Hall next week.

Poets Katerina Anghelaki-Rooke and Stefanos Papadopoulos, whose translation of Walcott’s poems is published by Kastaniotis, will present the poet. Grigoris Valtinos will read extracts and Mikela Hartoulari will moderate. Simultaneous translation is provided.

At the Nikos Skalkottas Theater, Athens Concert Hall, October 18, at 7 p.m.