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Akamas plan to go to Cabinet April 14, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Environment, Nature.
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The Agriculture Ministry will submit its plan for the Akamas peninsula to the next Cabinet meeting, Minister Photis Photiou announced yesterday.

“The preparation is complete, the proposal is complete and we are ready to discuss it at the Cabinet”, Photiou told reporters after meeting with the European Parliament’s Committee for the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety. According to Photiou, the plan will benefit the area’s population, but also the entire Cypriot public and tourists visiting Cyprus.

The government has been under pressure from the residents in Akamas, who want development in the area, to resolve a problem that successive governments have failed to deal with and which has been going on for nearly 20 years.

“We will invest many millions of pounds in significant substructure works,” he said, explaining that the plan did not just include development projects or the protection of areas, but also environmental centres and youth centres. He said there would be “mild developments” with small traditional hotels and taverns, but stressed that a protection zone would be set, “within which we will strictly forbid any form of development in order to protect the environment”.

The Minister pointed out that the government had reached an agreement with private land owners of vast properties in the peninsula, who were given the options of exchange or compensation. “If we have private land owners in this protected area, you understand that this isn’t the best thing,” Photiou stated.

He added that work would begin as soon as possible, after the plan is approved by the Cabinet, but pointed out that the entire project would need more than one or two years to be completed. “There are so many activities, so many things that need to be done. We have set time limits that must be met, but the important thing is that this project, which has been discussed for so many years, is finally going to be realised and Akamas’ organisation will begin immediately”, the Minister concluded.


On the steps of Saint Paul as religious tourism kicks off April 14, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in News Cruises, Tourism.
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A cruise following in the steps of the Apostle Paul has been described as a great success.

Going under the name of St. Paul’s First Missionary Journey, the cruise took place last month and was organised by the company, Steps of St Paul Cruises. The Astoria cruise ship arrived at Limassol port, where her 400 passengers disembarked to participate on a specially arranged excursion towards Paphos.

The participants, mainly American tourists, familiarised themselves with the steps followed by St. Paul in Cyprus. They had applied to join the cruise through their regional churches in the United States. The ten-day cruise included visits to other Mediterranean ports where the visitors were given the opportunity to see the various places that the Apostle passed through, such as Ephesus, Rhodes, Crete, Corfu and Rome.

The Cyprus Tourism Organisation said they were very happy with the establishment of the cruise, which is part of their overall strategy to develop religious tourism on the island. Last October, the first International Conference on Religious Tourism was held in Nicosia, aimed at bringing together those involved in the field as well as focusing on key issues.

In his address on behalf of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew and the Holy Synod of Cyprus, Bishop of Tremythous Vasilios said that the motives of religious tourism should be spiritual and not economic or commercial, and should contribute to combating fanaticism among religions.

Conference Co-ordinator Miranda Ioannou said that, “the island has always been at the crossroads of many civilisations and religion has played a very important part in the life of the people of Cyprus. Visitors are today impressed by what we have to offer, including 11 UNESCO-protected churches, and of course, Kykkos Monastery.”

According to Acts 13-14, Barnabas took St. Paul on what is often called the First Missionary Journey, which took them to Cyprus, visiting Salamis and Paphos. Afterward he sailed onward to visit the towns of southern Asia Minor, which is in present-day Turkey. However, Paul’s own letters only mention that he preached in Syria and Cilicia. Acts record that Paul later went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches, but it does not explicitly state who founded the churches or when they were founded.

Hoteliers seek talks with Church over wedding ban April 14, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Religion & Faith.
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The Cyprus Hoteliers’ Association has called for a meeting with the Archbishop after the Holy Synod banned all church rituals, such as weddings and christenings, from taking place in private chapels.

The Association’s Director-General, Zacharias Ioannides yesterday said that the Church decision only affected those wishing to marry in a Greek Orthodox ceremony. “It will not affect weddings of European visitors which take place in the hotels of Cyprus,” he said. “We have sent a letter to the Archbishopric asking for further details and are hoping to meet as soon as possible.”

The President of the Association was more forthcoming in his views however. Charis Loizides told state radio: “We call on the Church to rethink this decision, as we believe they have rushed into it.” He added that huge sums of money have been spent promoting Cyprus as a great place to get married. “All weddings have been carried out under correct procedures with all priests provided by parishes,” he said.

Bishop of Paphos Georgios contradicted Loizides though, saying that the decision was taken after it was established that wedding ceremonies were not following the necessary regulations. He explained that the issue “is not a financial one, as money was previously provided to parishes for wedding purposes.” He also said that everybody has the right to build a private chapel in their home, if they so wish, but the Church will not give its approval.

Jayne Ross-Clunis, a wedding co-ordinator with cyprus-wedding.com said that very few, if any, Greek Orthodox want to get married outside of church. “In my nine years of experience in this industry, I have yet to arrange one outdoor ceremony for a Greek Orthodox couple. If they want a hotel bash, they organise it for their reception.” She estimated that, “from all parishes that we deal with, there are at least 20,000 non- Orthodox weddings, including civil ones, that take place in Cyprus annually.

An announcement released by the Church after a meeting on Thursday states that all Orthodox rituals taking place in private churches, such as those in hotels and mansions, were not allowed. “Holy rituals are not personal events, but actions that affect the Church as a whole and that is why they have to take place in parishes and chapels,” the statement read.

Tribute to de Chirico’s Greece-inspired works April 14, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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Athinais Center hosts tribute to de Chirico’s Greece-inspired works

President Karolos Papoulias will inaugurate the exhibition at the Athinais Center, which runs until June 30, on Tuesday evening. This painting, ‘The Archeologists,’ depicts a faceless couple whose bodies are formed of images of ancient Greece.


President Karolos Papoulias is to open the exhibition “Giorgio de Chirico and Greece, Journey through Memory” at the Athinais Center on Tuesday, April 17. The exhibition, curated by art critic Takis Mavrotas, who also wrote the catalogue, has been co-organized by the Athinais and by the Giorgio and Isa de Chirico Foundation of Rome, following a decision of the Italian Culture Ministry. The opening will be addressed by Greek Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis.

Thirty-five works of art, both paintings and sculptures, strongly inspired by ancient Greece and de Chirico’s personal mythology will be on show. The artist was born in Volos in 1888 and studied first at the Athens National Technical University with Iakovidis, Roilos and Volanakis. The invitation to the opening is from Marilena Mamidaki-Kokkinea and Nasos Kokkineas.

Opening of Six Senses Spa at Elounda April 14, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Hotels Greece.
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Today, the first Six Senses Spa in Europe opens at the Porto Elounda deluxe resort at Elounda on the island of Crete.

The opening is to be attended by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, who is a family friend of the Elounda Mare founders, and Porto Elounda architect Spyros Kokotos and his wife Eliana, whose children Ilias, Fotis and Marina are working with their parents to continue the family’s tradition in Cretan hospitality. The Six Senses Spa has given art a special place, with works by painter Costas Paniaras and sculptor Costas Varotsos.

The luxurious Six Senses Spa at Porto Elounda, Crete is undoubtedly one of the most breathtaking spas in the whole of Greece. Located on a peninsular overlooking a stunning expanse of the Aegean Sea, the spa reflects traditional architecture highlighted with cutting edge trends plus some quite stunning contemporary works of art.

Ranged over two levels, the twenty three treatment areas include the Tepidarium, the spa’s focal point providing a bravura space that excites all the senses, Junior Suite, Thalassotherapy Suites, Oriental treatment rooms, Ottoman hammam, couples treatment areas with outdoor bubble-tubs, hair salon and Cleopatra bath. There is also a Caldarium, traditional Finnish sauna, plunge pool, and a private spa area named the Spring Suite.

The spa’s wide-ranging menu of local and Six Senses signature treatments focuses on health, beauty, pampering, stress reduction and revitalization using pure, natural and environmentally friendly products. Treatments are administered by a team of skilled international therapists and specialist practitioners who blend Eastern and Western techniques.

The impressive ten million dollar spa facility serves the three luxury hotels of Elounda S.A. Hotels & Resorts: the Porto Elounda Deluxe Resort, the Elounda Peninsula All Suite Hotel and the Elounda Mare Hotel.

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Depy Chandris’s secret of success April 14, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Fashion & Style.
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When asked how she manages to be both in tune with her time, yet timeless, internationally acclaimed artist Depy Chandris replied:

“In order to be ahead of your time, you need to be informed and to judge so that you can look ahead and create in such a way that trends, or so-called fashion, follow you.”

We met Depy at her family home in Kefalari, a house surrounded by rose bushes where simplicity is combined with the eccentric. “Quality is the secret, along with a dash of romanticism, a knowledge of history applied in an innovative way and using ultra-modern materials, ” she explained. “Of course there is also the commercial aspect that spoils things, creating confusion in which the artist’s original idea is often derailed,” she adds.

What gives her designs their timelessness is the personal touch, her temperament is what inspires her. “We are in spring and the rites and colors of nature impose their own aesthetic,” she says. A butterfly with an authentic Victorian brooch in the center, feathers of gold and black and red galalite, with a diamond, are just some of the elements that make her work instantly recognizable in London, New York, Switzerland and Athens, where her friends are.

Survey shows number of US tourists rises significantly April 14, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Tourism.
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Tourism traffic from the US to Greece appears to be increasing for a third consecutive year, according to initial estimates.

The last couple of years have seen the biggest ever increases in US tourist visits to Greece, exceeding 360,000 last year. There is also strong interest for visits to Greece through cruises, as has been confirmed with the advent of US cruising companies which have included Greece in their schedules.

The latest survey by the Travel Industry Association of the US in association with American Express on Americans’ travel habits has shown that 124 million Americans went on vacation last year, that is 55 percent of the adult population, with the typical traveller making three trips per year. In average, a household spends $1,500 (1,110 euro) in each vacation trip and travels 1,200 miles (1,920 kilometers). Traveling by car remains the most popular means of transport for a vacation trip. Still, at least once a year they make a trip by airplane.

Americans often travel with their partner or other close people (62 percent). The most popular destinations for them are cities (39 percent), followed by towns and the countryside (26 percent) and finally the ocean beaches (23 percent). Their most common activities while on vacation are sightseeing and shopping (51 percent each), which Greece can cater for successfully.

The survey showed that resting and spending time with people they consider important are the most significant elements of any vacation. Spending time with family is therefore key for recreation trips, while elements such as liberty, escaping and more time with a partner are less satisfied.

Crucially for Greece, US travelers consider ideal the vacation destinations which offer an easy traveling experience, the feeling of entertainment and adventure, and a clear sense of the location they visit. Although almost nine out of 10 were particularly satisfied with their latest trip, less than half of them said it was close to what they consider ideal.

Lisa Gregg, the Vice President of American Express on North American market development, commented that “while Americans still love traveling for vacation, this survey reveals that the tourism industry has the ability to do much more to upgrade the vacation that offers experiences to travelers regardless of their age, family type and motives.”