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The Cavo Sidero resort in Crete development March 27, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture Infrastructure, Hotels Greece, Tourism.
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Tourism investment of Cavo Sidero in Crete proceeds with planning of first holiday villages

27-03-08_cavo_sidero1.jpg  The development of Cavo Sidero in eastern Crete, one of the biggest investment projects in Greek tourism, has entered the final stretch following 14 years of bureaucratic and other obstacles.

Minoan Group’s Chairman and CEO Christopher Egleton confirmed yesterday the progress achieved and announced that the architectural firms of Alexandros Tombazis and Baldrich & Tobal have begun planning for the first village in the project, to be called “Grandes Bay.”

27-03-08_cavo_sidero2.jpg  The group has spent 40 million euros on the drafting of the business plan, while the total investment will amount to some 1.2 billion. It involves the creation of 7,000 beds in six tourist villages that will cover less than 1 percent of the overall 25 square kilometers. The project will create an estimated 3,500 jobs.

The company’s main stakeholders are Henderson Global Investors, the founder and CEO of Aberdeen Asset Management, Martin Gilbert, the President of American Express Global Network Services, Peter Godfrey, and Board Member of the Royal Bank of Scotland Colin Buchan, along with several British constructors.

Separately, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc announced yesterday the signing of a long-term cooperation agreement with TEMES SA for the operation of two new luxury resort hotels in Messinia, southwestern Peloponnese: The “Romanos Navarino Dunes Resort – The Luxury Collection” and the “Westin Navarino Dunes Resort.” They are located some 30 minutes from Kalamata airport.

The Panhellenic Federation of Hoteliers (POX) has expressed its concern about the impacts on Greek tourism this and next season from the prevailing global economic uncertainty. The Federation referred in a statement to the considerable losses in world markets since the start of the year, along with oil price hikes and the euro’s appreciation against the dollar, which are negative factors for the country’s tourism.

POX calls for immediate measures to improve the competitiveness of tourism that is expected to absorb most of the impact of the euro’s appreciation. It is also calling for more intensive promotion of Greece, particularly in the emerging markets of Eastern Europe, and a fair solution to the issue of the operating framework for accommodation facilities.

Related Links > http://www.minoangroup.com/index.htm

Crete’s Cavo Sidero resort project March 15, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture Infrastructure, Tourism.
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The Council of State did not hear this week the appeal against the construction of a hotel and golf complex on Crete.

Protesters claim that the Cavo Sidero project, to comprise five holiday villages, a string of luxury hotels and three golf courses, would damage the environment and be a heavy drain on water resources. It was not clear when the court will rule on the case.

Cavo Sidero resort’s case to be heard at Greek courts March 12, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture Infrastructure, Environment, Tourism.
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Hundreds of Cretan residents and environmentalists protesting plans for the construction of a huge tourism complex on the island’s unspoilt northwestern coast will have their joint appeal against the project heard by the country’s highest administrative court tomorrow.

Protesters claim that the Cavo Sidero project, that would comprise five holiday villages, a string of luxury hotels and three golf courses, would damage the environment and be a heavy drain on water resources.

Campaigners had lobbied the government to boycott the project by British property development company Minoan Group Plc (formerly Loyalward Limited), writing letters to 11 different Ministries, but authorities have encouraged the 1.2-billion-euro investment.

Residents of Crete, much of which already suffers periods of drought in summer, say the plan would be devastating for the arid island. Even local farming cooperatives have joined the protest, complaining that they already struggle with dwindling water resources.

“The more time goes by, the more people begin to realize what is actually being planned for the area and start doubting the benefits of this initiative,” said Nikos Kyfonidis, President of the Ierapetra Ecological Group. Kyfonidis doubts the validity of an agreement that has allowed Minoan to lease some 2,600 hectares for 80 years, saying that “new evidence throws into doubt the credibility of this controversial contract.”

The cause of local residents and environmentalists has been embraced by several foreign academics. Oliver Rackham, a Cambridge University ecology professor, told Britain’s Guardian newspaper that the project was “grotesquely unsuited to… one of the most arid places in Europe.” “The development is unsustainable because of the huge amounts of water that will be needed,” Rackham said.

Minoan Group’s Chairman Christopher Egleton insists that the resort will be built on only 1 percent of the site, will be “fully sustainable” and will benefit the local community in the long term.

In search of the ancient Minoans March 8, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Archaeology Greece, Culture History Mythology, Hellenic Light Europe.
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Archaeologist Nikolaos E. Platon (1909-1992), a native of the island of Cephalonia, was an expert in Minoan civilization who undertook many excavations in Boeotia, Evia, Fthiotida, the Sporades and Crete.

It was he who discovered the fourth Minoan palace and surrounding settlement, bringing to light a large number of exhibits, many of which are now in the Archaeological Museum of Iraklion in Crete.

In a lecture at the Hellenic Center, London, his son Lefteris, professor of prehistoric archaeology at Athens University, said he hoped that some of these could be transferred to the Siteia Museum. Lefteris Platon’s lecture for the Greek Archaeological Committee of Britain was held on February 20.

He described the work carried out by his father and the exploration that continues to this day, which he himself leads. Professor Platon presented a large number of slides showing Linear A inscriptions, gold and other objects, clay pots decorated with marine themes and stone objects.

From the land of the Labyrinth to New York City March 7, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Exhibitions Greece, Hellenic Light Americas.
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Minoan Crete at the Onassis Cultural Center in New York City 

06-03-08_minoan.jpg  Bull’s Head Rhyton. A spectacular vessel dating to the Late Minoan IB period (ca 1450 BC), Iraklion Archaeological Museum. More than 300 artifacts reflecting the high level of creativity of the Minoan civilization will be exhibited at the Onassis Cultural Center in New York.

A full depiction of the glory of Minoan Crete is set to travel outside Greece for the first time. In collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and archaeological museums on the island, the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation is preparing to launch the “From the Land of the Labyrinth: Minoan Crete, 3000-1100 BC” exhibition at its New York-based affiliate, the Onassis Cultural Center. The exhibition, which will run March 13 to September 13, will reveal different aspects of the daily life of the so-called Minoan civilization, which derives its name from the legendary Cretan King Minos.

Onassis Foundation President Antonis Papadimitriou pointed out the importance of Minoan civilization, as Europe’s first fully developed culture, at yesterday’s press conference. “We decided to do something more edgy,” he explained, because lately the foundation’s New York exhibitions have dealt with more “mainstream” themes, such as the Athens-Sparta conflict and Alexander the Great.

“We should not forget that Crete had unfortified cities, something which we only encounter later in Europe after the 19th century,” said Papadimitriou. “At a time like today, when civilizations, religions and races get all the more intertwined, it is important to remember what it is that connects us.”

Minoan civilization is the name given to the culture that developed in Crete between 3000 and 1100 BC and which is divided into different periods (Prepalatial, Protopalatial, Neopalatial and Postpalatial). Favored by its privileged geographical position, Crete developed an extensive network of trade routes. The blossoming of trade in the first period and the ensuing wealth resulted in a well-structured palatial society, with the palaces becoming the centers of economic, religious and social life. Two types of scripts, a hieroglyphic script and Linear A, were used to facilitate economic activities.

Maria Andreadaki-Vlazaki, head of the 25th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities and director of the Hania and Rethymnon archaeological museums as well as one of the exhibition curators, said the display covers all Minoan periods. It is divided into 11 thematic and chronological sections. Highlights include the “Religion and Ritual” section, which features sacred Minoan symbols (such as the Bull’s Head Rhyton), the murals section but also “Scripts and Weights” which includes Linear B tablets, clear proof of a Mycenaean presence in Crete in the final period. “Pots and Potters” features some skillfully made vases, while “Masterpieces in Stone” demonstrates a variety of stone artifacts. There are sections devoted to tools used in workshops, weaponry and cooking. Elaborate seals, jewelry and sarcophagi will also be on display.

An international day conference as well as lectures have been scheduled to take place in the context of the exhibition, which will be accompanied by a catalog and a DVD.

The Foundation has also launched a series of dramatized readings of ancient Greek texts. The first rhapsody of Homer’s “Iliad” was successfully performed at the steps of the Altar at Berlin’s Pergamon Museum recently. The next reading will re-enact ancient historian Thucydides’ famous “Melian Dialogue”, the debate between the Athenians and the residents of Melos which failed to deter the former from their hard stance. It will be held in Washington in the near future before traveling on to other US cities.

Onassis Cultural Center, Olympic Tower, 645 Fifth Avenue, New York City, USA.

Related Links > www.onassis.gr

Hania in Crete making strides into the new century March 4, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Archaeology Greece, Architecture Greece, Arts Museums.
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The new Archaeological Museum in the Halepa quarter is a stunning modern building designed by architect Theofanis Bobotis

04-03-08_hania_museum.jpg  Construction work on the new Archaeological Museum of Hania in Crete will start this year. Designed by architect Theofanis Bobotis, the new building is a dynamic expression of the contemporary era, with discreet references to the ancient past.

Housed for the past 46 years in a Franciscan monastery on Halidon Street in Hania, the vast archaeological collection there represents part of Cretan history. Eventually the works will be transferred to the new Archaeological Museum of Hania, to be built in the historic Halepa quarter, overlooking the sea and not far from the old port.

04-03-08_hania_museum_new.jpg  A modern building in tune with the times, the new museum will have a discreet but distinctive exterior. The design is by Theofanis Bobotis, who also designed the recently built Patras Museum. Bobotis and his team are now competing to build the Polykentriko Museum in Vergina.

Museums are not the only constructions he has worked on in recent years. His Observatory building on Solonos Street, with its wood and glass facade, is a head turner, and won the FX International Interior Design award for a retail space in 2007. Bobotis is also working on the extension to the Eleftherios Venizelos Airport, a complex 10,000-square-meter project, the new Panionios soccer ground, a freight station in northern Italy and has submitted a study for the Greek railway management company ERGOSE. His team has created a bookbinding factory in Italy and mixed-use tower buildings in Dubai and has been invited by the government of South Korea to draw up a master plan for a city. The team’s work is familiar to Athenians from the KAT and Tavros stations on the electric railway line.

04-03-08_hania_bobotis.jpg  The Bobotis team won the competition to build the Hania Museum three years ago. Now, as the study is in its final stages, the ephorate has decided that more space is needed in order to display the large number of exhibits. The architects made use of vertical space to create a 14-square-meter loft, which the Central Archaeological Council approved at its last meeting.

“When designing museums, you have to keep an eye on the future, since new finds may come to light and you may have to change the ways things are displayed. With that in mind, the museum was designed to allow for added space or different uses of space,” says the architect.

Now the architects are waiting for the study phase to end so that the competition for the construction work can be announced. Construction could start in 2008 and be finished within two years. The museum is to cover 6,500 square meters, which includes 1,800 square meters for exhibition halls, 140 square meters for the gallery and a 140-seat amphitheater.

“We were asked to design the museum according to a specific plan determined by the Culture Ministry, which stipulated the purposes of the spaces we had to incorporate,” said Bobotis.

What matters most, with both the Hania museum and the Patras museum, is that the initial goal has been achieved: making museums that are accessible to the public.

The building, explained the architect, comprises “two discrete linear monolithic masses rising from the earth, a symbolic reference to vestiges of civilization beneath the ground and also a bioclimatic choice. One section has two wings and is set on a corner; the other has one wing, and is positioned like a barrier in front of the opening framed by the other, so as to create an atrium. Around the atrium will be the exhibition space and the entrance, which ensures the continuity of the museum’s corridors.”

“The austere geometry of the buildings will be softened by the earthy look of the ceramic material used in the interior,” explained Bobotis. The atrium, also a reference to traditional Greek buildings, will allow natural light into the museum.

The administrative offices, storerooms and workshops will go in the space between the two sections, along with a cafe and sales point which will operate independently.

This Week in Greece > conferences and shows November 12, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Shows & Conferences.
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Monday >

The Hellenic Management Association (EEDE) and the Economic Chamber of Greece host a conference on «Modern Leadership & Development of Human Resources» starting at 6.30 p.m. at the Pancretan Cooperative Bank, 5 Ikarou Street, Iraklion, Crete. For information call 2810 263351.

The Greek Bank Association is hosting an exhibition titled «Consumer Loans – Cards» at the Athens Syntagma metro station. The exhibition will be open to the public from 2 to 9 p.m. on Monday and from 8 to 9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday. For details visit > www.hba.gr.

The seventh Bank Management Conference on «Transformation for Innovation, Shaping Next Practices» begins at the Athinaida Conference Center, Athens. For information call 210 6617777 or visit > www.bankmanagement.gr.

Tuesday >

The Express Kalofolias Group hosts the first Ecofinance Forum, starting at 9.30 a.m. at Zappeion’s Aigli Conference Centre, Athens. Development Minister Christos Folias will make the opening address. For details call 210 6172809.

The Hellenic Migration Policy Institute (IMEPO) and the British Council host an exhibition titled «City Streets» opening at 8 p.m. at the Evnardou Megaron, 20 Aghiou Constantinou Street, Athens. For information call 210 2711721.

Wednesday >

The Greek-American Chamber of Commerce and the Greek Association of Branded Products Manufacturers (ESVEP) host a conference on «Branding: Branded Goods, Adding Value for the Consumer» starting at 4 p.m. at the Ethniki Insurance Conference Center, 101-103 Syngrou Avenue, Athens. Development Minister Christos Folias will speak. For information call 210 6993559 or visit > www.amcham.gr.

The Technical Chamber of Greece hosts a conference on «The Protection of Natural Sources» starting at 6.30 p.m. at National Bank of Greece’s Theodoros Karatzas Amphitheater, Athens. For information call 210 3291252-4 or visit > www.tee.gr.

The German Embassy in Athens and Athens International Airport present the exhibition «Renewables in Germany» strarting at 11 a.m. at the Athens Airport. The exhibition will run through November 25. For information call 210 7285222.

Thursday >

The Educational Research Center and the Education Ministry host a conference titled «The Quality of Educational Work: System & Interventions» at 10 a.m. at the Divani Caravel Hotel, Athens. To Friday. For information call 210 3312406 or visit > www.kee.gr.

The Greek Logistics Association hosts the 11th «Logistics» congress, starting at 9 a.m. at Zappeion Hall, Athens. To Friday. For information call 210 3216014 or visit > www.eel.gr.

The IDC Business Intelligence conference 2007 begins at 9 a.m. at the Ledra Marriott Hotel, Athens. For details visit > www.idc-cema.com.

The Greek-Swedish Chamber of Commerce hosts a conference titled «The Athens Stock Exchange: Development, Modernization and Globalization. The Challenges of the Next Day» at 7.30 p.m. at the Ledra Marriott Hotel, Athens. The head of the Athens bourse, Spyros Kapralos, will be the keynote speaker. For information call 210 6084399 or visit > www.hellenic-swedishcc.gr.

Friday >

The University of Patras hosts the fifth Diabetes Congress, titled «Diabetes: Past-Present-Future» at 3 p.m. on its Campus in Patras. To Sunday. For details visit > www.upatras.gr.

The eighth aluminium congress, titled «Aluminium, Constructions and Products» opens at the Creta Maris – Terra Maris Hotel in Iraklion, Crete. To Sunday. For details visit > www.alunet.gr.

The seventh sales congress, titled «Conditions and Changes in the Greek Market» begins at 9 a.m. at the Goulandris Museum in Kifissia, Athens. For information call 210 6202083 or visit > www.bthere.gr.