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Ayia Napa bars shut down in protest May 9, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus News.
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Ayia Napa bar owners closed shops on Sunday night in retaliation at what they claim is an unfair police clampdown on noise pollution and yesterday called for a law to set the volume levels.

The bar owners said they objected to police charging them for playing their music excessively loud, which led to hefty court fines imposed year after year.

Bar owners’ representative Koullis Hadjiyiannis said police charged businesses after midnight every night, even though they played their music within normal levels, adding that the majority of bars had purchased half a million pounds’ worth of equipment to measure volume levels so as no to cause noise pollution in the town centre, where the majority of bars and clubs are located.

He also said this move had not been welcomed by nightclub owners who were also displeased with the acting Famagusta district officer’s decision to extend bar closing times from 1am to 2am. The bar owner went on to say the area towards Ayia Napa square naturally had a lot of noise pollution because of the music culture the area had developed, as well the bars’ close proximity to one another. He added that there were no residences in Ayia Mavri Street or the road leading towards the town square, so no one was disturbed.

Commenting on the bar owners’ reaction on Sunday, Justice Minister Sophoclis Sophocleous said it had been “inexcusable”. The Minister added that he was open to sit down to discuss a law defining music levels, but that until it was, the existing legislation would stand. Sophocleous said noise pollution was a “curse” experienced all over the island, not just Ayia Napa, and that until now violations had been tolerated, affecting citizens’ and tourists’ peace of mind in affected areas, but no more. He added: “It’s become a culture but just as they got used it, they have to get unused to it.”

Although sympathetic to the plight of the bar owners, whose livelihoods were based on working four months of the year, Ayia Napa Mayor Antonis Tsokkos urged them to co-operate with authorities. The issue is expected to be re-examined by Parliament.

Meanwhile, Limassol police confiscated speakers from a Limassol nightclub on Sunday night in a clampdown on noise pollution. The club had been playing music in the open air without a licence. Limassol police chief Tassos Economides said policing in the tourist area and other areas would be stepped up in an effort to uphold the law.

Water sports > take the plunge in Skyros May 9, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece Islands Aegean.
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Learn sailing, canoeing, kayaking or wind-surfing on a Skyros holiday break, and a lot more besides. Water sports are ever popular on this holistic holiday experience on a beautiful Greek island, but you can also choose from 10 courses a week in subjects ranging from survival skills and abseiling, to flirting, ball-room dancing, mosaic and writing.

If dipping your toe in the water and trying out new adventures while you are on holiday appeals to you, then Skyros, in Greece is the place to head for. This unspoilt island in the northern Aegean just happens to be home to the ground-breaking Atsitsa centre, run by Skyros Holidays, which provides life-changing and stress-busting breaks for the 21st century holiday-maker. It offers sun, sea and sand holidays with a difference, guests become part of a community sharing food and entertainment with the chance to try out a wide range of creative, therapeutic and adventurous fun courses during their stay.

This amazing place will fascinate you. It is the perfect place for a proper holiday. On the water, sailing, windsurfing, kayaking and canoeing are on offer, for beginners and experienced sailors alike. The emphasis is on one-to-one tuition and tailoring lessons to suit holiday-makers.

“It’s a lovely secluded bay with an island just off the coast, perfect for learning all kinds of watersports. It’s absolutely safe, I have never had one person overboard. You don’t get much other traffic except for fishing boats,” said sailing instructor, Steve Smith, who was so inspired as a holiday-maker on Skyros years ago that he sold up his home in the UK so he could get fully qualified and spend time teaching on the island.

Now a Royal Yachting Association Cruising Instructor, Steve runs his own Big Blue Sailing company in Southampton (bigbluesailing.co.uk) but returns regularly to Skyros. “Atsitsa is like nowhere else. It’s very supportive, positive and fun. People get encouraged, if you want to do something, basically you can. Some do get nervous but we aim to put everyone completely at ease. It’s a holiday and about having a good time, so people can learn as much as they want to. The level is set by them.”

Atsitsa is all about trying out new things in a supportive community setting and watersports are taught along the same principles. Participants learn on a 27 foot Jaguar yacht and casses are held morning and late afternoon. In one week it is usually possible to learn the rudiments of getting the boat out on the water, away from the moorings with the engine working and into the bay with the sails up, plus the ability to bring the vessel back in again. For more experienced people, instructors can provide advanced tuition or individual time on the boats.

“It’s more a sailing experience really and it gives you a taste of what is involved. Several people have told me afterwards they were going back home to take it further and do more training. It’s hard to explain the magic. What I tell people on the first day is that there is simply nothing in the world like the moment when the wind fills the sails up and you find yourself on a boat being driven along through the water.“

Water sports are top of the popularity list when it comes to Atsitsa holiday-makers, but there is plenty more on offer too. People usually combine at least one water sport with other, sometimes unusual, activities like belly-dancing, T’ai Chi, trapeze, yoga, survival skills and mime. But with a choice of up to 10 courses a week, 5 hours a day, you can also fit in some more leisurely pursuits like mosaic, photography, flirting tuition, writing and life choices and dream workshops. Or you can always just flop on a beach somewhere.

Atsitsa centre breaks in Skyros, Greece, start at £485 per week, and include meals, accommodation and all courses, excluding flights/transfers. To book online and for details of all Skyros Holidays vacations in Greece, go to > www.Skyros.com 

Louis announces summer cruises May 9, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in News Cruises.
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Cyprus’ Louis Cruise Lines yesterday announced the start of its 2007 summer programme, which will provide 114 cruises to various destinations between May and November.

Mini-cruises of two and three days to Israel, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon top the agenda while the longer cruises mainly include the Greek islands with choices of four, five and six days. A Greek island cruise can take in as many as 15 different destinations, including religious sites such as Tinos.

Autumn Louis Cruises will include seven, ten and 11-day trips to the Aegean, the Black Sea and Venice in Italy. The 11-day cruise includes a visit to Naples and a day in Rome. The Black Sea cruise includes visits to Yalta and Odessa, where there is an overnight stay.

Marcos Baghdatis powers past Moya in Rome May 9, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Tennis Squash.
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Marcos Baghdatis produced gave the most dynamic display of claycourt tennis of the day to sweep aside former French Open winner Carlos Moya 6-2 6-3 in the first round of the Rome Masters yesterday.

The 21-year-old Cypriot tennis star, who reached the semi-finals of last week’s claycourt event in Barcelona, unleashed a barrage of powerful, angled groundstrokes to race through the first set and go a break up early in the second. The decisive moment of the match came in the eighth game where the unseeded Cypriot held off five break points, then broke Moya again to close out the contest in just over an hour.

Baghdatis will next play Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic, who progressed when his opponent, 11th seed Tommy Haas, retired at 6-3 3-2 down with a right shoulder injury. Stepanek’s compatriot, 12th seed Tomas Berdych, also advanced to the second round with a 6-4 7-5 win over Jarkko Nieminen of Finland.

Greece at Venice Biennale May 9, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Light Europe.
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Nikos Alexiou represents Greece at the Venice Biennale

theend.jpg  “The End” by Nikos Alexiou

Nikos Alexiou will present the installation, The End, curated by commissioner Giorgos Tzirtzilakis, in the Greek Pavilion at the 52nd International Art Exhibition in Venice.

The work is a modular installation inspired by the floor mosaic in the Catholicon of the Iviron Monastery on Mount Athos (10th-11th c. AD). The Venice Biennale 2007 Vernissage days are 7th, 8th, 9th June, and the Greek pavilion will hold a launch event on 8th June, 5-7pm.

Giorgos Tzirtzilakis said: “The Greek participation in the 52nd Biennale of Venice focuses on the possibilities of diversity, and the critical re-negotiation of the concepts of identity. Further, through the sensory materiality and multiplicity of artistic practices and the repetition of the same revealing and constructing the different a new condition of handicraft will be described and depicted.

A close relationship has always existed in non-Western and Eastern cultures in terms the affiliation of aesthetic and religious techniques and practices of repetition for the achievement of ecstasy. Nikos Alexiou’s digital and material appropriation of the monastery mosaic sketches a visual path that suggests a broader change in the way that many have tried to describe and employ these practices in recent years. Alexiou’s installation is a four-piece modular work that consists of a interchangeable projection onto a large screen, paper cut-outs, the prints and a table that with elaborated paper rests; all as separate elements that will carry the traces of this work’s makings and marked with the memory of previous works. It is inspired by the cosmology of the floor mosaic of Iviron monastery at Mt Athos. Through the precision and intricacy of this work, Alexiou attempts to examine the aura of emotions that surround the mysteries of the mosaic.

Nikos Alexiou said: “The work for the Biennale, which I’ve called The End, carries everything I’ve worked on all these years, from the ’80s and a little earlier to this day. All references in my work, from rainbows, lights and galaxies to marble, prisms and the psychedelic stuff, are all in it.”

Situated as it is, at the Orient-West Borders, the “Greek cultural case” is not characterised by the high standards of western technology nor by the exotic aspect of Oriental culture. Greek artistic production is about the marriage of high and low culture, of urban with traditional aesthetics, of the rational and the irrational, of the instinctive with the procedural and the flirtation with the various ‘borders’. This distinctive trend produces the creative fusions of Greek art. The future of civilization as a whole can be traced in such borderlines. The famous Greek architect Dimitris Pikionis once described this situation as “dihofroneousa” (schizoid). 

Ancient textiles found in Greece May 9, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Archaeology Greece.
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Greek archaeologists discover rare example of 2,700-year-old weaving

Archaeologists in Greece have recovered a rare section of 2,700-year old fabric from a burial imitating heroes’ funerals described by the poet Homer, officials said Wednesday.

The yellowed, brittle material was found in a copper urn during a rescue excavation in the southern town of Argos, a Culture Ministry announcement said. “This is an extremely rare find, as fabric is an organic material which decomposes very easily,” said archaeologist Alkistis Papadimitriou, who headed the dig. She said only a handful of such artifacts have been found in Greece.

The cylindrical urn also contained dried pomegranates, offerings linked with the ancient gods of the underworld, along with ashes and charred human bones from an early 7th century B.C. cremation. Papadimitriou said the material was preserved for nearly 3,000 years by the corroding copper urn. “Copper oxides killed the microbes which normally destroy fabric,” she told The Associated Press. Conservation experts from Athens will work on the fragile find.

“Our first concern is to save it,” Papadimitriou said. “Afterward, it will undergo laboratory tests to tell us about the precise fabric and weaving techniques.” The burial was the only cremation from half a dozen closely grouped graves found on the plot, which was scheduled for development. “Cremation was very unusual in Argos, and this too makes it a special find,” Papadimitriou said. “In my opinion, an affluent citizen may have wanted to imitate a funerary custom described by Homer to stand out among his peers buried next by, who were not cremated.”

Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey enjoyed huge popularity throughout Greece. Composed during the 8th century B.C, and thought to be inspired by a war four centuries older, the Iliad describes slain heroes being cremated in elaborate funerals, which fell out of fashion in later times.

Modern Argos in the northern Peloponnese, some 140 kilometers south of Athens, is built on top of one of the most famous cities of ancient Greece. Also named Argos, the ancient city was mentioned by Homer as the seat of a Mycenaean hero-King who fought with the Greek army in Troy. It flourished throughout antiquity.