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May/June 2009

Best Hotels 2009 The Midas Touch

Secrets of the Sea The Man Behind the Grevena Observatory

US$8/Can$9

Also: Small Steps Forward on Cyprus • Libya's Greeks


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White Key, Ltd - 25, Vas. Georgiou B' Avenue - Athens 116 34 - Greece Tel. +30 210 72 15 530 - info@WhiteKeyVillas.com


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ODYSSEY

Contents

THE WORLD OF GREECE www.odyssey.gr Number 95 May/June 2009

Publisher ARTHUR DIMOPOULOS email: art@odyssey.gr

General Manager Chrisa Veneti email: chrisa@odyssey.gr

Editor DIANE SHUGART email: diane@odyssey.gr

Art Director KOSTAS PIPILIOS email: kpipilios@motibo.com

Publishing Consultant CATHERINA MYTILINEOU email: cm@odyssey.gr

Layout MOTIBO (www.motibo.com) Subscription Fulfillment Fulco Inc. Founder Gregory A. Maniatis

28 28 Traveling in style

Odyssey’s annual hotel guide highlights the best in Greek hospitality, from private luxury villas and sprawling spa resorts to country inns and self-catering studios in Athens, Thessaloniki, the mainland, and the islands. Compiled by Chrisa Veneti

82 A rural romance

The best way to get back to nature is to be a part of nature—not just observing the land, its flora and fauna, but participating in rural life. Tradition lives in the countryside and the best way for a traveler to discover Greece’s secrets is to experience Greek culture, from the dayto-day workings of a household or workshop to the celebrations of special feasts, from the inside. Agrotourism, a mild form of sustainable tourist development, introduces visitors to the full range of rural life. Don’t just discover Greece–experience it!

Cover photo: Porto Zante Villas & Spa. 2 May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY

Co-founders Ioanna Markou / Claire Milonas Executive Assistant KATERINA PAPADAKI email: kpapadaki@odyssey.gr Odyssey: The World of Greece (ISSN#1106-1146, USPS#019807) is published bimonthly by Odyssey Publications, Inc., 1749 St. Matthew's Court, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036. North America, P.O.Box 3000, Denville, NJ 07834. Tel.: (800) 943-5527, (202) 737-1548, Fax: (202) 628.1619. The annual subscription rate in the U.S. is $48, Euro 38 in Europe, payable to Odyssey Publications, Inc. Unsolicited manuscripts, photographs, articles, and artwork shall not be returned. Letters to the editor may be edited for publication and become the property of Odyssey Publications, Inc.; correspondence should include an address and telephone number. The opinions expressed in Odyssey are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Publisher, or Odyssey Publications Inc. Copyright © 2006, by Odyssey Publications Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this periodical may be reprinted or reproduced by any means without the prior written consent of the Publisher. ODYSSEY: The World of Greece, and the ODYSSEY design are registered trademarks of Odyssey Publications, Inc. Send all orders, changes of address, and other inquiries to Odyssey, PO Box 3000, Denville, NJ, 07834-1236, USA, by e-mail: subscribe@odyssey.gr. Online subscriptions, renewals, address changes at: www.odyssey.gr. ATTENTION POSTMASTER: Please send changes of address to Odyssey Magazine, P.O. Box 3000, Denville, NJ 07834-1236. Periodicals Postage paid at Rahway, NJ and additional mailing offices.


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Hundreds of Late Roman/Early Byzantine amphoras mark the remains of an ancient shipwreck in the Chios Strait. Image: Fred Dion.

Contents

58 54 Starry Nights

More than sixty years after leaving his home province in northern Greece, NASA scientist Thanasis Economou plans to build a telescope near the village where he grew up. By Alkman Granitsas

58 Secrets of the Sea

DNA analysis and other forensic techniques are helping archaeologists learn more about ancient civilization. By Vicki James Yiannias

62 Small Steps Forward

A year after the Ledra Street checkpoint was opened, allowing Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots to cross freely, the initial euphoria has settled. By Kerin Hope

66 Gorilla webfare

departments 6 8 10

Publisher’s Corner Chronika Diaspora

11

Reports & Comments: Libya’s Greeks, Greek yogurt crosses the Atlantic

20

Numerology

22

Greekville: Paris

24

We Greeks: Agnes Varda, Nick Katsoris, Christos Tsiolkas, Theo Pagones

Athan Stephanopoulos has changed the dialogue between corporate entertainment and the online consumer into an interplay of our creative urges By Savas Abadsidis

70 The Midas Touch

95

Amusements

76 Giving to Greece

104 106 110 112

Gastronome Oenophile Homecomings Monologue: Dimitris Pazaitis

From the restaurant business to high tech, the fifty wealthiest Greek Americans have built small empires and left their mark on the economy By Dan Georgakas

The challenge of cross-border philosophy. By Stephen Liss and William J. Kambas

4 May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY


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Discover the finest villas for vacation rentals in Greece. Appreciate absolute privacy, delight in unique architecture and decors and enjoy our wide range of personalized services.

www.WhiteKeyVillas.com

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Hundreds of Late Roman/Early Byzantine amphoras mark the remains of an ancient shipwreck in the Chios Strait. Image: Fred Dion.

Contents

58 54 Starry Nights

More than sixty years after leaving his home province in northern Greece, NASA scientist Thanasis Economou plans to build a telescope near the village where he grew up. By Alkman Granitsas

58 Secrets of the Sea

DNA analysis and other forensic techniques are helping archaeologists learn more about ancient civilization. By Vicki James Yiannias

62 Small Steps Forward

A year after the Ledra Street checkpoint was opened, allowing Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots to cross freely, the initial euphoria has settled. By Kerin Hope

66 Gorilla webfare

departments 6 8 10

Publisher’s Corner Chronika Diaspora

11

Reports & Comments: Libya’s Greeks, Greek yogurt crosses the Atlantic

20

Numerology

22

Greekville: Paris

24

We Greeks: Agnes Varda, Nick Katsoris, Christos Tsiolkas, Theo Pagones

Athan Stephanopoulos has changed the dialogue between corporate entertainment and the online consumer into an interplay of our creative urges By Savas Abadsidis

70 The Midas Touch

95

Amusements

76 Giving to Greece

104 106 110 112

Gastronome Oenophile Homecomings Monologue: Dimitris Pazaitis

From the restaurant business to high tech, the fifty wealthiest Greek Americans have built small empires and left their mark on the economy By Dan Georgakas

The challenge of cross-border philosophy. By Stephen Liss and William J. Kambas

4 May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY


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Publisher’s corner

Contributors

enerally, there is not more I can add to what our editor and talented contributors regularly share with our readers. There are exceptions and the untimely passing of our dear friend, Dr. Constantine Papadakis, or “Taki” as he preferred to be called, is time for us to reflect on Taki’s work and life together. Taki was the embodiment of what it means to consider oneself as “Greek” in all its fullness and in all its nuances. Taki’s achievements are summed-up best as a bold vision of what tomorrow can be. His was a life filled with industry tempered by genuine concern for the betterment of every life, which set the pace for his daily life. Taki’s appreciation and love of what life was, of “paradosis” “paedia” and “agape” where what made Taki “tick”. He did not fit squarely into any particular “Aristotelian” category as “educator”, “scientist”, “businessman”, “entrepreneur”, “innovator”–he was all these and much more. He was artist, philosopher, philanthropist, husband, father, friend, mentor, visionary, and more importantly: a man of many untold good deeds. Taki’s footprint is not a shadow but a bright and shining light which illumines generations to come. Just two years ago in interview with Odyssey he described his legacy, so accurately: “I would like to be remembered as the president of a great university that contributed to making modern learning available to thousands of students in a way that will change their lives and make them great professionals and great citizens for tomorrow.” Our heartfelt sympathies and prayers resound to Taki’s family, colleagues, and extended family throughout the world. May God repose his gentle soul and may his life serve as example for us to strive to emulate in our daily lives. We shall miss you friend and brother–Zoi se mas. Art Dimopoulos

Savas Abadsidis, a journalist and editor, has an extensive background in the entertainment and publishing worlds. Iason Athanasiadis is a journalist and photographer who was worked with PBS, BBC, Arte, and the BBC Greek Service, reporting from the Middle East. Stefanie Bailey, an artist and writer, lives in Athens. Angelike Contis is a journalist and independent documentary maker. Dan Georgakas is a longtime editor of Cineaste magazine and has contributed to numerous film anthologies and other film journals. He has written or edited several books on a range of subjects, including film and Greek American issues. Gourmed.gr, a website dedicated to Mediterranean food and wine, counts leading Greek food writers and chefs among its contributors. Alkman Granitsas, a journalist based in Athens, and is currently working on his first novel. Kerin Hope is the Athens correspondent for the Financial Times. Dimitri Keramitas lives and works in Paris. William J. Kambas is a lawyer. His practice focuses on international tax issues affecting U.S. and non-U.S. individuals, families, their family offices and business interests. It also involves helping clients meet their philanthropic objectives by evaluating, planning for, and establishing private foundations and public charities. Victoria Kyriakopoulos, a former editor of Odyssey, is the author of several Lonely Planet travel guides. She currently resides in Melbourne. Stephen Liss is a lawyer whose practice focuses on domestic and international estate planning. Family Limited Partnerships, planned charitable giving and advising private foundations are areas of particular emphasis. Amalia Melis is director of Aegean Arts Circle writing workshops and a freelance writer. Rania Richardson reports on film and culture for a range of publications, including Indiewire. Pamela Spyrs is a public relations executive in the entertainment industry. Fotios Stamos, food and wine editor for GreekBoston.com, hosts a radio program on Greek food and wine on Boston radio. Vicki J. Yiannias, a writer and artist, lives in New York.

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Homecomings Have a story about a visit to Greece? Share your experience with readers in the ‘Homecomings’ section. For submission details, contact diane@odyssey.gr

Editor’s note:

Odyssey welcomes readers’ responses, pro and con. Letters may be edited for space and clarity, and must include a name and address (withheld on request). Submit by email to letters@odyssey.gr or by post to “Letters to the Editor,” ODYSSEY, Aetideon 13, 155 61 Holargos, Athens, Greece.

6 May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY

In this issue we are reprinting the article on crossborder philanthropy which had been previously published as a draft that did not incorporate a number of changes in the procedures for donating. Because of the response to the article, and requests for more information about charitable donations, we felt it worth republishing the complete piece.


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ask the lawyer I have inherited real estate in Greece. What tax obligations do I have?

What are the conditions for tax-exemption for the purchase, inheritance or parental donation of a main residence?

If you have inherited real estate in Greece you must file an Inheritance Tax Return within six months commencing either from the death or the probate of the will (if there is one). If the deceased, the heirs or legatees were living abroad at the time of death, the Inheritance Tax Return must be filed within one year commencing from the death or the probate of the will. The inheritance tax on the real estate value is 1% if you are a relative of the first or second category of kinship (Law 3634/2008). The first category of kinship is defined as parents, spouses, children and grandchildren, whereas the second category refers to great grandchildren, grandparents, great grandparents, brothers or sisters etc.

The buyer, heir or child or his/ her spouse or his/ her minor children must not have the full ownership, usufruct, or right of habitation of any other residence which meets the housing needs of the said family, nor the full ownership of a plot upon which a residence could be built to meet the needs of the said family in a municipality of over 3,000 population. The plot or residence to be acquired must be located in an urban area or in an area that has urban planning. The buyer and the seller must not be related by blood or affinity in the first degree (in the case of purchase only). The buyer, heir or child must retain ownership for at least 5 years.

Is there a tax exemption in the case of inheritance or parental donation?

Who qualifies for tax exemption when acquiring a main residence?

Yes. The maximum amount of â‚Ź95.000 is tax exempt for beneficiaries belonging to the first category and a maximum of â‚Ź20.000 is tax exempt for beneficiaries in the second category. This amount is deducted from the total value of the inheritance or the parental donation before the 1% tax is calculated. In the case that I purchase, inherit or receive a parental donation of real estate as a main residence, is there a tax exemption? When buying a) real estate as a main residence with a total surface up to 200 m2 or b) a plot of land with a maximum building allowance of 200 m2; the purchase value in both cases is exempted either from the transaction tax and the transfer tax or in the case of recently constructed residences it is exempted in the form of VAT. These tax exemptions are applied under the following conditions: The value of any surface exceeding the aforementioned limits is subject to transaction tax and real estate transfer tax, or VAT for recently constructed residences. The same tax-exemption applies in cases of inheritance or parental donation, when the real estate inherited or donated meets the main residence conditions.

All Greek citizens living permanently in Greece. Greek citizens or Greek expatriates who have been working abroad for at least six (6) years and are registered with a municipality in Greece. Greek salaried employees working abroad. EU nationals who have lived in Greece for a long period of time. Greek expatriates from Turkey, Cyprus, North Epirus and Pontiacs of Russia, if permanently settled in Greece. When do I have to pay an Automatic Surplus Price Tax? When re-transferring real estate acquired after 1January 2006, the seller has to pay the Automatic Surplus Price Tax on the transfer profit. This tax ranges from 5% to 20% depending on the time period lapsed between the property’s acquisition and its sale. No tax is imposed for ownership of over 25 years. Is there any additional tax or duty imposed on real estate revenue other than main income tax? An additional tax of 1.5% is imposed on the gross revenues from real estate owned by individuals. For leases of main residences of over 300 m2 the tax rate is 3%. Revenues from real estate owned by legal entities are subject to an additional tax of 3%. However, in the case that there is no main income tax no additional income tax is levied either. Furthermore, on all leases except for residential leases (e.g. shops, offices, warehouses, open spaces of privately owned building/ plots etc.) a stamp duty of 3.6% is charged on the rent.

G.Mourgelas & Associates Law Firm 6, Iraklidon str. 11851 Athens, Greece Tel: +30210 3421579 Fax: +30210 3421913 Email: secretariat@mourgelas.gr


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A digest of events in Greece

GREEK PRESIDENT Karolos Papoulias notes the need to “expand democracy to the social and economic sector” and “minimize the democracy deficit in the European Union” in a speech before Finland’s Parliament during a four-day official visit to the country. Referring to Greece’s chairmanship of the OSCE, he says Greece is “following Finland’s footsteps and I hope we will be equally successful despite the fact that we are now faced with more problems.” GREEK FOREIGN Minister Dora Bakoyannis travels to Paris for the opening of a rare exhibition of 200 works of art from Mount Athos, an event she describes as “a cultural event of the first order”. The exhibition, which runs at the Petit Palais until July, marks the first time works from the monastic community have left Greece and just the third public exhibition of items from Mount Athos. THE ATHENS-SKOPJE monitoring committee holds its first meeting in Thessaloniki to discuss economic and trade initiatives. The committee was set up to exploit funds available through the European Union’s Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance, or IPA. Border areas along both countries are eligible for funding through the program. ON A TWO-DAY visit to the Republic of Cyprus, Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis expresses his belief that “Turkey, which will adopt European

Eurokinissi

International

Panathinaikos celebrates its fifth Euroleague title after defeating European basketball champion CSKA Moscow 73-71. Panathinaikos clinched a place in the finals after beating rival Greek club Olympiakos in first round of the Final Four in Berlin. Vassilis Spanoulis was chosen MVP for scoring 13 points. Although Panathinaikos led by 20 points at half-time, CSKA Moscow rallied in the third quarter, then missed a jump shot at the buzzer that would have tied the game. Panathinaikos’s victory was also the seventh title for coach Zeljko Obradovic, who now holds the record as the coach with the most Euroleague titles. rules of behavior...will be a Turkey much better for its citizens and the whole of the EU.” He says Turkey had not made enough progress in various phases of its entry talks, but this was not enough to warrant Greece changing its policy of supporting Turkey’s candidacy.

A CARGO SHIP owned by a Greek company is hijacked by Somali pirates, which have attacked over 100 ships since the beginning of the year. The attack, announced by a Nato spokesman, came hours after a Portuguese warship stops an attack on Norwegian oil tanker in the Gulf of Aden.

Eurokinissi

Greece

Excavations resume at Rigillis Park in central Athens where ruins of what has been identified as Aristotle’s lyceum had been found during excavations for a planned modern art museum. Culture Minister Antonis Samaras says the site will be converted into an open-air museum with funding from the partly state-owned betting company OPAP and will be completed next year. A private sponsor will provide the translucent roof to protect the school where the philosopher taught 2,500 years ago. 8 May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY

PARLIAMENT votes against indicting former minister Aristotelis Pavlidis in connection with bribery allegations linked to shipping contracts. Pavlidis has denied any wrongdoing and has resisted pressure from other MPs in the ruling New Democracy party to resign his seat. The main opposition almost immediately submitted a motion for a preliminary parliamentary investigation into a second case involving the former minister. MEANTIME, with European Parliament elections in June, opinion polls show New Democracy lagging the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (Pasok) by margins as wide as 4 percentage points. Analysts note the decline in the strengths of both majority parties, which together barely top 60 per cent. PARLIAMENT narrowly votes against a parliamentary inquiry into possible corruption deals between the Greek state and German industrial giant Siemens AG, which is being investigated in several countries over allegations of bribery and corruption in its communications group.


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THE TRIAL of a suspects linked to a scandal surrounding a land swap deal involving public lands and the Vatopedi monastery on Mount Athos is postponed until May 15 after the three defendants fail to appear in court. TWO SAME-sex marriages—one a male couple, the other a female—which had taken place on the island of Tilos last summer are annulled by a Greek court ruling. The ruling had been sought after the couples claimed Greek law sanctioned same-sex civil marriages because it did not specify gender. THE GOVERNMENT withdraws an amendment submitted to Parliament that would have extended for three more years a law allowing media corporations not to declare two per cent of their turnover. PRISON GUARDS join a 48-hour strike to protest inadequate security measures at Greek penitentiaries, saying no action has been taken to improve security since the widely publicized escape of two convicts from Korydallos jail earlier this year. RESIDENTS in the western Athens district of Kolonos succeed in their campaign to block construction of an eight-story building next to Plato’s Academy, the ruins of the school were the ancient philosopher taught.

Economy THE EUROPEAN Commission says the Greek economy will shrink by 0.9 percent in 2009, recovering to a 0.1 per cent growth in 2010. In its spring forecasts for the European Union and individual member-states, the Commission projects the Greek deficit to rise 5.1 per cent in 2009 and 5.7 per cent in 2010, with public debt rising to 103.4 per cent of GDP in 2009 from 97.6 per cent last year, and unemployment to rise to 9.1 per cent in 2009, up from 7.7 per cent in 2008.

Eurokinissi

and the diaspora

Olympiakos goalkeeper Antonis Nikopolidis reaches for the ball in a Greek Cup final against Aek, which the goalie clinched after making a save in a marathon penalty shoot-out and then scoring the winning penalty. The match, one of the most intense in Greek football history, started the second half with Aek holding a 2-0 lead over Olympiakos. The second half ended 3-3, then went into overtime, with each team scoring a goal in the game’s final minute. Penalty tie-breakers went 17 rounds, with Olympiakos finally winning 15-14. It’s the 24th cup for the Piraeus club, which also clinched its fifth straight league title in March. IN AN INTERVIEW with Bloomberg, the head of the Public Debt Management Agency says Greece plans to sell as much as 4.7 billion dollars of bonds in dollars and yen. The statement comes on the heels of a government annoucement that it public borrowing may rise to 50 billion euros this year as a buffer against a possible decline in investor demand. A SERIES of measures, including state guarantees and greater tax relief on interest payments for property loans, announced by the government aims at shoring up the construction industry in a stagnating economy. According to government figures, building accounts for seven per cent of GDP.

GREEK PRIME Minister Costas Karamanlis meets with European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso to discuss the global financial crisis, its impact on the Greek economy and government plans to stabilize the economy in light of its impact. The two met during the EU official’s visit to Greece to receive the Gold Medal of the Hellenic Parliament. THE NATIONAL statistics service says Greek wine production grew 8.2 per cent in 2008 to 3.8 million hl but that domestic wine consumption continued its three year decline, barely reaching 3.2 million hl. Exports, which reached 347.17 million hl in 2007, brought in 56.56 million euros, yet have declined 19 per cent in quantity and 2.4 per cent in value for January-November 2008, compared to imports which rose 9 per cent in quantity and value during the same period.

Eurokinissi

Sports

Transport Minister Euripides Stylianides inspects work at the Theseio station aimed at improving service on the electric train line linking the port of Piraeus with the northern suburb of Kifissia. Once completed in February 2010, work on the line will shorten traveling time by approximately 10 minutes.

RACEWALKER Athanasia Tsoumeleka, who had won the 20-kilometer race at the 2004 Olympics, is cited by wire reports as one of six Greek athletes who had tested positive for banned substances at the 2008 Olympics. Tsoumeleka has said she had tested positive for CERA, an advanced booster, before the Beijing Games and has been banned by IAAF for two years. CELEBRATIONS over Panathinaikos’s fifth Euroleague cup are dampened by the Euroleague Basketball’s announcement it will open disciplinary procedures against the club over several incidents at the Final Four in Berlin, including comments made by the club’s players in the media. May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY 9


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Global Hellenism

AHI hosts Coufoudakis book presentation On April 28, 2009 the American Hellenic Institute hosted a Capitol Hill book presentation featuring, “International Aggression and Violations of Human Rights: The Case of Turkey in Cyprus,” by Professor Van Coufoudakis, Rector Emeritus of University of Nicosia, Cyprus and Dean Emeritus of the School of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne. The presentation was followed by a lively question and answer session with the audience. “International Aggression and Violations of Human Rights: The Case of Turkey in Cyprus,” was published on the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Adopted in the aftermath of World War II, this declaration recognized the importance of human rights for international peace and stability. “The Cyprus problem was and remains a problem of invasion, occupation and continuing violations of internationally guaranteed human rights. Actions by the Government of the Republic of Cyprus and by individual Cypriots have elevated the importance of human rights in the search for a functional, viable and legitimate solution of the Cyprus problem. There is no statute of limitations for Turkey’s continuing violations of human rights in Cyprus,” stated Professor Coufoudakis.

CEH releases statement congratulating Obama The Board of the Coordinated Effort of Hellenes (CEH), a network of over 300 Greek-Americans who have close relationships with key U.S. policymakers across the country, released a statement congratulating President Barack Obama. “We commend and welcome President Barack Obama’s statement that ‘we rejected the false choice between our security and our ideals’ expressed at his nationally televised press conference on April 29. Returning America to such ideals will set it high in the esteem of its citizens and the world,” it said. “President Obama’s assertion that the ‘choice between security and our ideals’ is false—which guided his Guantanamo Bay prison decision—was demonstrated clearly in the policy of the last administration toward Cyprus. The 2004 UN Cyprus settlement proposal, which was drafted and advocated by the last administration, contained provisions that were called ‘unacceptable to western democracies’ by 60% of the majority party on the U.S. Senate European Affairs Subcommittee. The provisions were recently recognized by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as the cause for the proposal’s failure. The settlement proposal included such things as prohibiting one ethnic group from purchasing property in much of its own country and taking tens-ofthousands of homes from one ethnic group and giving them for free to another,” the statement noted, and concluded: “President Obama’s rejection of ‘the false choice between security and our ideals’ reflects the wise principles that made America great. He is to be congratulated for returning our country to those positions. This is an important step in the right direction toward an end to the division of Cyprus and to enhance prospects for Turkey’s EU accession.” 10 May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY

AHEPA welcomes Greek visa waiver legislation he American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), a leading association for the nation’s three million American citizens of Greek heritage, and countless Philhellenes, has welcomed congressional legislation introduced by U.S. Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Gus M. Bilirakis (R-FL) to designate Greece a visa waiver program nation, announced National President Ike Gulas. “We applaud the initiative of the co-chairs of the Hellenic Caucus, Representatives Maloney and Bilirakis, to introduce this important legislation,” said Gulas. “It is imperative to keep Greece’s candidacy and path toward becoming a visa waiver nation high on the agenda in Washington. It is an issue that has been extremely important to the AHEPA family and the community because it affects each and every one of us.” The legislation, H.R.2261, comes two months after 41 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, led by U.S. Rep. Robert

T

Wexler (D-FL), chairman, House Subcommittee on Europe, signed a letter to the secretaries of the Departments of Homeland Security and State strongly supporting Greece’s inclusion in the VWP. It will serve as a helpful reminder to those agencies that Congress is engaged in the issue and tracking its progress as negotiations continue between the United States and Greece, according to Gulas. Inclusion of Greece into the Visa Waiver Program was a significant initiative championed by AHEPA because of the organization’s historical role as a bridge between the United States and Greece for 87 years. Since January 2006, AHEPA worked with Congress to introduce legislation that designates Greece as a visa waiver nation, and hosted a public policy forum with leading administration, congressional, and policy experts to create awareness of the subject. Moreover, AHEPA worked with the Departments of State and Homeland Security to present the position of the American Hellenic community on the issue.

Gregory Pappas named Special Advisor to The American College of Greece Dr. David Horner, president of The American College of Greece (ACG), has announced the appointment of Gregory C. Pappas of Chicago, Ill., as a Special Advisor to the College, effective January 1, 2009. Pappas will advise ACG’s president and senior administration on issues related to communications, community outreach, and development for the College’s activities in the United States, as well as for strategy related to academic and study abroad programs. ACG is the oldest and largest American-sponsored institution of higher education in Europe. Founded in Smyrna in 1875, the College relocated to Athens in 1922 at the invitation of Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos, following the Asia Minor Catastrophe. Gregory Pappas has spent the better part of his 15-year career working in the Greek American community. He founded and continues to publish Greek America Magazine, the nation’s most widely circulated periodical for Greek Americans.


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REPORTS & comments

From the North enghazi—When they talk about Greece, the locals of the northern Libya city of Sosa make an involuntary nod with their heads. North. Turn on the radio and Greek music is likely to waft out over the squat brick houses built by Italian colonizers in the 1920s in a bid to finally urbanize a Bedouin population of roamers and tie them down to the Cyrenaican coast’s fertile land. “Star FM, the soundtrack of our lives,” a breathy announcer’s voice exhales from across the sea’s blue horizon. Subconsciously, when these former nomads nod, it takes them two hundred kilometers across the sea to

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Crete. It also takes them back to their past. For Jalal Bayram, a retired Libyan civil servant, the island over the horizon feels even closer: his family came from it. “When my family arrived, the Turks accepted us,” he told me one scorching March afternoon as we stood in the shade of his porch. I had been touring the Appolonia archaeological site when a couple of locals asked me where I was from. They had never met a Greek but suddenly their faces lit up. “Go and see Jalal Bey,” they told me using the Ottoman honorific for older men. “He’s Kritli.” Kritli, it turned out, was the term used for a very special tribe: a group of Cretan Muslims who arrived in Libya in the early twentieth century when it was still May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY 11


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IASON ATHANASIADIS

reports & comments

part of the Ottoman Empire. It would be the last organized migration of people from the Greek mainland to Libya and it happened in the mid-nineteenth century as some twenty thousand Muslim Greeks fled the Greek War of Independence, the accompanying persecution of Muslims and destruction of their holy places. As Crete left the orbit of the Ottoman Empire and became part of the fledgling Greek state, they abandoned their mountain villages and fishing ports in a Great Exodus that lacked a convenient national narrative of loss and exile to adopt it. The Ottoman Empire evacuated its own citizens to Muslim lands still under its control. Half were sent to the Syrian coastline where they built a new life for themselves. The village of Hammidiyeh still survives today and has been visited by several Greeks dumbfounded to find some of the older residents still speak-

Previous page: A statue of a woman covering her face. Libyan archaeologists believe the veil is evidence of local traditions upon the Roman statue while Western archaeologists discount this, arguing that the statue is of the goddess Demeter and signifies the half of the year she spent secluded from the world in Hades. Above: A statue of a lion stands guard over the archaeological site of Cyrene in Eastern Libya. The site has been exposes to widespread looting.

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ing a fossilized Cretan dialect. The other half washed up in Libya, confused and disoriented. “When my grandfather arrived here by boat, there were no buildings,” Jalal Bayram told me as we stood in the trellised shade of his garden. “The only vertical things were the ancient columns.” The Cretans stayed in tents hastily erected by the Turks and waited for their houses to be built. The wooded hills rising up behind their town and the aroma of thyme reminded them of home. Soon, the Turks were driven out by another Mediterranean power, the Italians, who hoped to recreate a new Roman Empire in the African bread-basket of their old one. The new colonialists planted trees to keep desertification at bay, built isolated farms at the edges of the Sahara and imported peasant settlers to till the land. Teams of archaeologists renovated the Roman ruins in an exercise in self-legitimation: we were here two millennia ago therefore we have a right to be here now, ran the logic.

“It was a good colonialism,” said Bayram, “because it built up the country and left much behind for us.” or years, rumors and the occasional TV report have circulated in the Greek media about two Greekspeaking villages on the Muslim Mediterranean—Sosa in Libya and Hamidiyyeh in Syria. The breathless reports relate with a latent pride how their older inhabitants still speak an archaic Cretan dialect. But what the reports don’t stress too strongly is that these people are Muslims who were forced from their homes by the cruel processes of state formation: put simply, acrossthe-board homogenization had to be imposed in order for a weak, amorphous and ethnically diverse Greek state to come into being. “They call them Turkish Cretans but they’re not, they’re Greek Muslims,” said Kanakis Mandolios, president of the Greek community of Benghazi, the historic center of Libya’s Greek diaspora. “Either way, they’re headed towards extinction.” Crete’s benighted Muslims were doubly doomed. Expelled from their island for not being Christian, they were settled by their Ottoman overlords in two conveniently distant corners of the empire where they could be forgotten. Just as the fledgling Greek state embraced homogeneity as its route to survival, so did the Turkish state safeguard itself by populating its Anatolian hinterland with ethnic Turk immigrants from the Balkans. Today, Cyrenaica’s Kritlis have adapted to their Libyan present. The law of the land was haqq al-urf, the rule of tribal mediation, and no amount of modernity—Italian or Ottoman—was going to change that. The Kritlis had to receive protection from the local tribes. They could assimilate or perish. One of these tribes, the al-Haasah, offered asylum to the Kritlis. They accepted, took wives and husbands from them and began the path of assimilation. Today, they live in straightforward breezeblock or low-slung houses of Italian provenance with elaborate facades. Many of them still have blue eyes and lighter skin. But knowledge of Greek stops at Bayram’s generation, whose grandfather came from Crete. His son speaks no Greek at all. Even Bayram converses with fellow oldtimers in Arabic. Sosa’s Kritlis are as disconnected from their region’s Hellenistic past—when it was called the “Athens of Africa”—as the Greek sponge fishermen captured by Libyan pirates in the seventeenth century and locked in the jails of Ottoman-era Tripoli. Not unlike Somalia’s industrial buccaneers today, that was the era of the pirates of the Barbary Coast. While all this was happening, the pirates’ Greek prisoners took advantage of the good relations they had cultivated with their captors to build the first church in Libya. They called it St George of the Slaves (Ai Giorgos Ton Sklavon) and settled around it after they were granted their freedom. Enormous fortunes were made.

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Today, in a country that still hesitates to welcome outsiders, they have disguised their ethnic origin behind constructed tribal lineages. One of them is Hassan Tatanakis, a billionaire businessman who lives in a palatial house next to the Greek Embassy that remains under 24-hour guard. But aside from Cyrenae’s monumental ancient remains, few traces of human continuity with its Hellenistic past remain today despite millennia of organized migrations and cultural exchanges harking back to 800 B.C. The first Greek settlers were the Dorians who founded the Cyrenean Kingdom. During the flowering of Minoan civilization on Crete, Libyan traders would call in at the port of Knossos, before continuing their journey east to Lycia in modern-day Turkey. Libya imported endless supplies of marble from Thassos and Afyon and used it to construct the coastal network of ports that—aside from being trade entrepots—were also hymns to Classical style nouveaux riche vulgarity. A series of earthquakes struck northern Libya in the third and fourth centuries, ripping up its marble cities and pushing gashing fissures through their idyllic villas. In nearby Arabia, a Prophet appeared and founded a new religion that initiated an unprecedentedly wide campaign of conquest that accelerated Hellenistic Libya’s decline. A new, Islamic koine was imposed. The cities built by the Greeks and Romans were buried under blankets of sand. Communication would be serrated between the now warring civilizations of North Africa and southeastern Europe until their reunification under one imperial Ottomans entity. However wealthy it has been, Libya has always hovered on the periphery of empire. Whether under the Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Turks, or Italians, Libya has acted as a gate to Africa but never become an urban center. Even the Arab conquerors built their main garrison town in neighboring Tunisia’s Kairwan. Once the Ottomans had left Crete and it had become absorbed within the modern Greek nation state, the island’s traders began frequenting Libya once more. In 1907, enough trade was being generated by Cretans in Libya to justify another church being built in Tripoli, alongside that constructed in the previous century by the pirates’ captives. Some Cretans based constructed farms, offices, and houses and based themselves permanently in Cyrenaica. And the relationship with Libya began flowering beyond Crete. The Greek royal family enjoyed a personal friendship with King Idriss in the same way that later on Greek and Libyan socialist leaders would strike up a lasting friendship. The Greek King sent forty Greek doctors to Benghazi to set up a functioning health system. After the Second World War, Greece’s most renowned town planner, Constantine Doxiadis, was also sent to Libya to design three cities, including Benghazi. The Fifties were a golden era for Greek-Libyan ties in the East. But by the time Benghazi’s Greek community

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was founded in 1952, storm clouds were gathering. In the same year, a pan-Arab leader called Nasser swept away neighboring Egypt’s King and brought to an end the privileges enjoyed by the Greeks of Cairo and Alexandria for generations. Nasser’s revolution prompted sporadic arrivals to Libya from Egypt. As their businesses were nationalized, nearly half a million Greeks abandoned ship over the next decade, spreading throughout Africa, Australia, and North America. But it wasn’t until Libya announced it would begin oil production in 1964 that white-collar Egyptiot Greeks suddenly found Cyrenaica attractive. It was to be the second mass settlement of Cyrenaica. Thousands of Greeks flocked to East Libya, hoping to recreate a second Egypt there. They would emulate the process they had pioneered in Egypt of small business

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ownership and assimilating into the local population. But it was not to be. Within five years of Libya’s announcement that it would enter the oil-producing big league, a group of military officers seized power. It was an amateurish coup by any standard. At first it was postponed because it coincided with a concert by Umm Kalthoum, the pan-Arab nationalist idol who sang for Nasser. On the second run, the officers simply hailed taxis to the locations they were targeting. Nevertheless, the coup caught King Idriss by surprise. He happened to be in Greece, holidaying in Kammena Vourla as a guest of his close friend John Latsis, the deceased Greek ship-owner and construction magnate. As Libya took a socialist turn, local partners with a mandatory controlling stake were imposed on foreign investors. They could no longer legally own their businesses. Yet even as several upped and left Libya, the explosion of oil revenue that followed the 1973 Arab oil embargo prompted an increase in the country’s an-

Top: Kanakis Mandalios, the president of the Greek community, stands in front the building of the European School complex built by his company. Above: A sign in the six languages of the European School denotes the science lab.

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nual oil income to about 40 billion dollars. Suddenly, Libya was a far wealthier country than post-war Greece with its meager twelve-billion-dollar annual income. By the time of the 2008 economic crash, forty years later, the other end of the scale had been reached. Greece was a prosperous European Union member with 200 billion dollar income while Libya—despite all of its oil wealth—languished at 65 billion dollars. By then, hardly any Greeks remained in Libya. Its Hellenic communities withered and wilted as mass emigrations reduced a once-buoyant society to a skeletal shadow of its former self. By 2004, seven teachers were employed by Benghazi’s Greek community to teach just two pupils. Altogether thirty Greeks lived in Benghazi, the majority of them wives of Libyans. Another three hundred lived in the capital. If there was one person who could open a window into what had happened over the past forty years of boom and bust, it was

Fathi Buker photographed playing a drum during a mystical Sufi ceremony in Tripoli.

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Kanakis Mandolios. The Egyptiot businessman and construction magnate stayed on in Libya long after everyone else had abandoned it. Didn’t he feel the urge to go? “I was having too much of a good time,” he smiles wryly and lights another Marlboro Light. “I thought about leaving seriously in 1992 with the embargo but I didn’t leave, I became trapped here.” A fluent Arabic speaker originally born in Egypt, Mandolios represents a generation of the Middle East’s cosmopolitan multilingual Greeks now rapidly rushing towards extinction. These Greeks were romantically captured in works of literature such as Olivia Manning’s The Cairo Trilogy and Lawrence Durrell’s The Alexandria Quartet. But their multicultural breeding grounds were drained by the storms of pan-Arabism and Islamist exclusionism that swept the Middle East in the post-colonial period. Taking a break from giving orders to his workmen in

Egyptian-accented Arabic, Mandolios lit another Marlboro Light in his pack-a-day habit. Cigarette smartly inserted in the mouth of his long, cultured face, he parked his packet symmetrically on the white marble table against a no-frills Nokia turned to silent but flashing defiantly every few minutes. “Greece is a part of Libya in this area, that’s undoubtable,” he tells me. “But at this moment there’s no trade, air or sea links, communications, any kind of investments. The only contact are the common memories. They could act as a base for further development. But they aren’t enough in themselves.” It is the same story of neglect punctuating the long declines of Greek communities from Cairo and Damascus to Tehran and Tbilisi. Magnificent churches, schools and social clubs wrought in the neoclassical style that was in vogue during the nineteenth century now lie abandoned. Few efforts are made to revive them by their surviving octogenarian patriarchies. Instead, fossilized boards of directors meet once or twice a year in wood-panelled conference halls housed inside crumbling century buildings for extended procrastination sessions. They are surrounded by thick walls, their plaster peeling off. The dim roar of twenty-firstcentury traffic peters through as a reminder of besieging modernity. Libya is no longer the cosmopolitan entrepot of its 1940s heyday. Its Jewish community emigrated to Israel, the Christians left and public entertainment in this observant Muslim society was limited to the odd restaurant and a thriving mystical Sufi music scene that is out of bounds to non-Muslims. With mixed-sex life occurring mostly inside houses, lovers meet in dusky parks or frantic hospitals, away from the eyes of relatives or guardians of public morality. Alcohol is banned even in international hotels but Benghazi’s Western and Westernized youth dance, drink and have their first romantic encounters in furtive social gatherings at home or—once the weather warms—on isolated beaches far from peering locals along Libya’s sprawling 2,000-kilometer-long coastline. Derna, a local town, once was host to Greeks, Jews and Cretans could have been a launching pad for tourism. Aristotle Onassis had shown interest in turning Cyrenaica’s landmark Green Mountain into a nature reserve. But plans for this atrophied after the Revolution and were only revived some years ago by Muammar Ghaddafi’s ambitious son and possible successor, Seifolislam. “Turkish companies were extremely aggressive and willing to work under any circumstances and underbid our companies,” Mandolios told me as he swirled the dregs of juice in his glass. “It’s a full court press with a huge number of companies involved.” Libya’s Greek Golden Age in the modern era were the few fragile years between 1973 and 1986 when the community swelled to 3,500 people, the majority work-


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ing for the over twenty construction companies present in the country. The good economic climate was largely due to excellent political ties between likeminded socialists Andreas Papandreou of Greece and Libya’s Muammar Ghaddafi. In fact, Ghaddafi trusted no other leader as much—with the exception of Austria’s Jewish Chancellor Bruno Kreisky—as Papandreou whom he had known from their days in the Non-Aligned Movement. Papandreou made sure to offer funding to the Libyans and Ghaddafi reciprocated by extending preferential treatment to Greek companies. Construction giant ETEP was handed several choice infrastructure projects and Tripoli was flooded by Greek and Cypriot engineers working for J&P, Archirodon, and Olympia. Several of them spoke to me on condition of anonymity in 2003, confessing that they had been building sanctions-busting military bases for the Libyans.

“The political relations were excellent in the 1980s but we didn’t capitalize on that,” said Mandolios. “The Greeks did not manage to build on their advanced placement and linguistic advantage. Their squabbling and short-termism allowed the Turks, Yugoslavs and Koreans to enter the market.” The final exodus of the Greeks began in 1986 as the Papandreou government began to sink in the mire of financial scandals. The Libyan embrace of socialism peaked and small business owners were banned, punishing the majority of Greek businessmen. It was the end of an era. imitris Anastasiou has seen a lot in the past seventy years. Not only did the former President of Tripoli’s Greek Community witness several cycles of boom and bust, he entered life in an Italian concentration camp and lived through the worst excesses of the Ghaddafi regime. A mild-mannered man, he explained why he was never affected by Libya’s turbulence in the modern era. “We weren’t affected as a community because we didn’t get involved in their internal problems, we remained neutral, that’s why they’ve always loved us,” Anastasiou told me in the garden of the Greek School in Benghazi during a 25 March reception. While the anniversary of the Greek Revolution against Ottoman Turkey is commemorated, celebrating Prime Minister

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Ioannis Metaxas’s “No” to Mussolini on October 28, 1940, is deemed politically incorrect in a country still so under Italian sway. Memories of the second world war and the Italian campaign are still fresh for Libya’s old-timers. After the fascist army occupied the Dodecanese islands, the Italians rounded up the Greeks of Libya and forwarded them to concentration camps in Italy under suspicion that they harbored suspect allegiances. Anastasiou’s father was a grocer and “fanatic Greek” as his son describes him. He refused to deny his allegiance to his homeland by surrendering his passport “and he paid for this by losing everything.” “In the old days, we had a club where we’d have feasts, gather every night after church, play cards and the kids would do theatrical plays for 25 March,” Anastasiou recalled, summing up the twin functions of Greek communities abroad: to strengthen religious and nationalist ties to the country. hrivelled as Libya’s Hellenic past is today, I found it hard during my time there to escape its legacy. One evening I was photographing an ecstatic Sufi ceremony in a mosque in Tripoli. An old man who was the very picture of piety in his Muslim gowns and red fez leaned over to me and asked, in unaccented Greek, “Eisai Ellinas?” The story of Fathi Buker illuminated the flipside of the Greek relationship with Libya. Long-standing military ties between the two countries have seen hundreds of Libyan naval cadets attend Greek academies. Several ended up marrying Greek women and bringing them back to Libya with them. A devout Muslim who came from an old Sufi tradition in his family, Buker’s first encounter with Greece when he first arrived in the tail-end of the colonels’ dictatorship was bewildering. He encountered a traditional society straining at the seams. His fellow students told him about how their friends had been killed for resisting the army. Then, a year after his arrival, Turkey invaded Cyprus. For once, the tables were turned and it was the Libyan Embassy that warned its nationals that they might have to be evacuated in the event that this European country was to descend into war. In times of quiet, Buker’s fellow students invited him to visit church with them. He didn’t want to offend them but, as a devout Muslim, there was no question of his changing his religion. “I’d go and pray to my own God,” Buker said. “Greece then was much simpler, more open, very quiet,” he reminisced in halting Greek as we sat in the mosque courtyard. “The people were similar to us. Now, from the things I hear on the radio and TV, it’s been destroyed.” “You’ve lost your country.” Iason Athanasiadis

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reports & comments

Totally Greek New York–A reporter for Dallas’ NBC television station holds up a container of FAGE yogurt to the camera. He takes a spoonful of the product and flips it upside down for his television audience’s benefit. The yogurt doesn’t run or drip. His face is full of wonder. He’s proving it’s as “ridiculously thick” as the advertising on the container promises. Amazing, right? For anyone familiar with strained yogurt, the broadcaster’s demonstration isn’t so extraordinary. Thick is what it’s all about. But yogurt aficionados in the United States are pleased that it’s getting easier and easier to get their hands on the ridiculously thick stuff. Since FAGE started importing its products to the U.S. in 1998, its Total strained yogurt moved from small specialty shops into mainstream supermarkets and corner stores. “We have created a new market segment in the yogurt category, which is called ‘Greek yogurt’,” says Ioannis Papageorgiou, president of FAGE USA. Though there is fierce debate amongst foodies over how FAGE’s strained yogurt compares to other brands like Chobani, Voskos, Stonyfield and Greek Gods, Papageorgiou insists that only Total is the real thing. “It’s completely different from anything else sold on the market,” he says.

Arriving in Johnstown In 2008, Greek dairy giant FAGE opened a $85 million factory in Johnstown, New York. The decision was based upon the yogurt’s ever-growing sales. Papageorgiou underlines, “We started from zero.” Johnstown had been known for manufacturing gloves and Knox Gelatin. (It was also the birthplace of suffragette Elizabeth Cady Stanton.) Today, big silver trucks drive into FAGE, laden with local dairy cooperative milk. Other trucks haul off crates of the ridiculously thick stuff. Each year the company buys 60 million liters of hormone-free milk. FAGE USA can make two million pots of yogurt a week. The production capacity of the factory is 15,000 tons of yogurt a year, on par with that of its Greek plant that is located outside of Athens. FAGE was attracted to Johnstown by New York’s massive dairy industry and the Johnstown/Gloversville waste-water treatment plant which was left over from the region’s leather-processing days. That’s where FAGE pumps its acid whey byproduct, which is created in the process of converting four gallons of milk into one gallon of yogurt. The employees, who number 111, are conductors of a symphony of machines. The yogurt billed as 100 per cent all-natural is handled only by pipes, vats, and machines. Papageorgiou explains that a team of engineers from Greece replicated many aspects of the Greek FAGE factory, with new automation. One row of machines alone, he points out, is worth five million dollars. Papageorgiou adds: “You won’t find many food companies using that much automation.” He says of American companies, “We didn’t copy them, they are copying us.” The milk and yogurt are pumped through tubes and processed in missilesized stainless steel tanks. At the end, yogurt is squirted into plastic containers, sealed and bar-coded. In the final refrigerated warehouse where boxed Total crates are stacked high, Papageorgiou points to a machine shuffling the boxes. “The crane is working by itself, to organize first in, first out,” he says. The crane lines up the orders according to shipment date. A Robot-of-the-Month award wouldn’t be a surprise in this factory. Humans wear lab coats and machines whirl, sometimes emitting a whiff of dairy. In the control room, employees sit in front of computers, monitoring the yogurt-making process. The milk is tested, Papageorgiou says, before it is accepted. He points out that each batch of the product is checked every half hour in a lab. An X-ray machine scans sealed containers for foreign bodies. There is a special room where tem-

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peratures are raised so that lab technicians can test the sealed yogurt as it matures. In Greece, the mother company faced two quality control breaches in recent years. In 2005, mold was discovered in thousands of FAGE yogurts before their expiration date. Then, in 2006, a recall was declared after pieces of glass were found in some of its Junior yogurt. Recently, consumer groups protested at what they called unreasonable price increases. Meanwhile, back in Johnstown, there are plans to expand the plant’s production capacity, says the president. FAGE USA is no longer importing products from Greece, but focusing instead on increasing Total yogurt’s 1.5 per cent share of the growing three-billion-dollar U.S. yogurt market.

Pronounced: “Fa-yeh!” Total yogurt is available in the U.S. in four different fat contents and with fruit or honey on the side. The FAGE USA president insists it is “exactly the same” as FAGE’s yogurt made in Greece. After all, he says, the ingredients and the procedure are identical. The company’s main challenge is to educate American consumers that plain yogurt can taste good. The timing is right says Papageorgiou, explaining: “The American consumer realized that you need a better quality of life.” FAGE has found that, in the U.S., as in many countries, the main yogurt consumers are women. Among flavors, yogurt sold with honey is most popular in the American market. The company has spread throughout the country, with onethird of sales on the West Coast according to Papageorgiou. FAGE wants the American consumer to come to think of yogurt as not just a dessert, but as “one of the most healthy foods you can have,” says the FAGE USA president. He elaborates that strained yogurt is perfect “if you are on a diet, if you want to be healthy or if you need more protein.” To make the brand name more familiar to non-Greek buyers, the packaging even spells out how to pronounce FAGE. Each container reads: (pronounced: “Fayeh!”). The company’s site recommends both Greek and American recipes. FAGE has hired advertising giant Ogilvy to get the word out. Pointing to fullpage ads in eclectic magazines like the New Yorker and Bon Appetite, the FAGE USA president explains: “There’s always something dipping in the yogurt.” But the best advertising is tasting the yogurt, he believes. Papageorgiou says, “You can describe the straining process. You can describe the plant, the tradition, the recipe…but what the consumer wants is to taste the product and find out why it is different.” FAGE USA has two refrigerated vans on tour in the US offering samples of their ridiculously thick product. Angelike Contis


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numerology

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13,332 102

Sources: Eurostat, Eurobarometer

3.6 2.9 42 53 39 36 18 31

number of deaths in Greece linked to smoking in the year 2000 billions of euros spent EU-wide on treating respiratory diseases billions of euros p.a. Greeks spend on cigarettes billions of euros p.a. the Greek government collects from cigarette taxes per cent of Greeks who smoke per cent of Greek smokers who smoke more than 20 cigarettes a day per cent of Cypriots who smoke per cent of Bulgarians who smoke per cent of Swedes who smoke per cent of Europeans who said they were trying to quit smoking in 2007

Eurokinissi

Where there’s smoke…

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Greece has brought forward a ban on smoking in public places from next January to July 1, when smoking will no longer be allowed indoors–in offices, on public transport, restaurants, bars, or cafes (except those under 70 sqm, which must declare themselves as either ‘smoking’ or ‘non-smoking’ establishments). As for fines for violators, they start at 1,000 euros for proprietors and 50 euros for smokers.


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Paris

Paris, city of light, has been a beacon for Greeks, especially intellectuals– painters, poets, writers–who made a number of its cafes their favorite haunts. In the late Sixties and early Seventies, the French capital was home to many Greeks exiles from the Greek junta. Dimitri Keramitas explores the Greek side of the city.

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avelers typically go to Paris to enjoy French culture– its cuisine, fashion, and historical sites. But France has also become Europe’s biggest melting pot, home to a wide array of ethnic communities including Chinese, Arabs, Africans, Jews, Indians, and Turks. Immigrants from Greece aren’t as numerous, so there is no “Quartier Grecque” as such, but Hellenic culture has made its presence felt, making up in vibrancy what it lacks in numbers. Greek writers, academics, artists, designers, and musicians have long flocked to Paris, finding a congenial environment for their pursuits. Though suffering homesickness and missing a sense of community, common language, and especially the sun, many have achieved success here. For the traveler visiting Paris, there is no shortage of outposts of Greek culture, high and low.

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Tourists wandering about the Latin Quarter take in Notre Dame cathedral, the Ile St. Louis, the venerable English bookshop Shakespeare and Co., and make their way through pedestrian streets like rue St. Severin, winding along medieval buildings filled with gift shops and restaurants. Visitors familiar with Athens will notice a striking similarity to the Plaka district, as many of the restaurants feature Greek names and decor, and offer fast-food versions of Greek cooking. There is frequently a skinny pig turning on a spit in the window, and employees call after customers in the manner of Greece’s skiladika restaurants. Ironically, the staff are often Middle Eastern rather than Greek, but the food is relatively good and cheap, the restaurants provide non-stop service till late at night, and the atmosphere is cheerful and family-friendly (not always the case with French restaurants).


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Two of the most sympathique are the Acropolis (12 rue Xavier Privas) offering a cozy and warm environment amidst the Latin Quarter’s bustle, and the Taverne Grecque (8 rue de la Huchette) which has Greek dishes and charmingly eccentric décor, but is actually run by an Armenian. In the same arrondissement, the rue Mouffetard, another long, narrow pedestrian street, also features many Greek restaurants, along with Chinese, Indian, Italian, and French crêperies. Two Cretan-oriented establishments that stand out are la Crete (85 rue Mouffetard), and l’Isle de Crete (10 rue Mouffetard). Both are rather generic foodwise, but la Crete is a quiet place to dine, while the Isle de Crete is a large diner and deli offering up noise and color without being vulgar. Tourists strolling through rue Mouffetard during the day, when it hosts one of Paris’ best-known street markets, can visit many stalls selling fruit, vegetables, meat, seafood, and other fresh produce. On the other side of the food spectrum is the Mavromatis group, a Parisian institution synonymous with fine Greek food, comprised of a gourmet restaurant, a taverna, and a takeaway food shop. The three establishments are located in the student district, near the Sorbonne, the College de France and Jussieu University. Le Mavromatis (42 rue Daubenton) is the upscale flagship of the group, and those willing to splurge won’t be disappointed. The taverna, Les Delices d’Aphrodite (4 rue Candolle), is more “down-home”, yet in addition to the superb cooking, the setting is elegant and the prices are, well, a bit pricey, but reasonable for Paris. At the Mavromatis traiteur or food shop (47 rue Censier), one can buy takeaway classics such as tarama and tzatziki, artisanal and delicious, decidedly not industrial. In addition, the group is extending its reach to an increasing number of outlets throughout Paris, distributing Greek products under its brand-name. Near the Paris Opera in the busy, noisy theatre and shopping district, are two recent additions to the Greek presence in the city. The Maison Grecque (20 rue du Mogador) is a unique, attractive space that is combination travel agency, restaurant and takeaway, and organizer of events in tastefully-decorated dining rooms. Nearby, Korres, (13-15 rue Taitbout) sells natural products (made in Greece) for body, face, and hair. Paris is the world’s mecca of great art, one reason why it attracts more visitors than any other city. Scores of museums, exhibition halls, and private galleries cover both left and right banks. Despite competition from the Musée d’Orsay’s crowd-pleasing Impressionist paintings, the Louvre remains the main draw for artlovers. Many visit this massive museum for its Renaissance art, and that great and still glorious cliché, the Mona Lisa. The Louvre is also a must-see for lovers of the glories of ancient Greece. Two of the most famous works of antiquity are here: the marble statues Winged Victory and the Venus de Milo. The gallery of ancient Greek art contains many other works, not

only sculptures but ceramics and bronzes. Moreover, the Roman gallery features copies of Greek statues whose originals have been lost. On a different scale is the Xippas Gallery (108 rue Vielle du Temple). This private art gallery (sister establishment of an Athens gallery) is located on one of the trendiest streets in the Marais district. Its white walls, winding like a labyrinth, aren’t for everyone, but you won’t find the museum crowds, and the edgy exhibitions will appeal to those with adventurous tastes. In the same area is the Art’et Miss Gallery (14 rue Ste. Anastase), founded by Dimitri Toumbas and his gracious French wife Dominique. It has a very different look, a pleasantly funky hole-in-the-hole with a relaxed atmosphere, currently exhibiting colorfully weird surreal art from Italy. The rue Vielle du Temple also showcases creativity of a different order. The Erotokritos boutique (99 rue Vielle du Temple) was created by a young Greek Cypriot designer of the same name. Its colorful clothing line is for men and women of all ages, provided they like urban chic. There won’t be any trouble liking the charming and friendly young staff. There is a second, more downscale boutique called Eros (58 rue Etienne Marcel). Near Montparnasse, in the laid-back, but slightly raw 14th arrondissement, is Desme, (14 rue Vandamme) Paris’s Greek-language bookstore. This bookstore has a tattered-pages charm, and an impressive collection of books in Greek, as well as Greek works translated into French. There are also maps, art books, guides, but little in English. As elsewhere, community life centers on the church. Here again, Paris offers startling contradictions. There are two Greek Orthodox churches (in addition to Russian and Serbian Orthodox churches). The sumptuous St. Stephen cathedral (7 rue Georges-Bizet) in the posh 16th arrondissement, attracts the diaspora bourgeoisie and the curious. Clerical dignitaries, including Patriarch Bartholomew, also regularly visit. In Montmartre, straddling the honky-tonk Pigalle neighborhood, is the tiny St. Constantine and Helen (2 bis rue Laferrière). This storefront church draws workingclass Greeks, many coming from distant suburbs. St. Constantine and Helen is a humble church, but has a peculiar charm, and a vibrant community life. For many years the leader of the church was the “Père André” Fyrillas, famous for a presence both imposing and grandfatherly, in fact a graduate of Cambridge and Paris’s prestigious St. Serge seminary (where instruction was once entirely in Russian). The Institut Neo-Hellenic de Paris (19 bis rue Pierre Fontaine) has courses in modern Greek for young and old, and is officially recognized by the Rectorate of Paris. The prestigious Ecole Normale Supérieure and the University of Paris also give modern Greek lessons, while the national school system provides for classes in ancient Greek on the secondary level.

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A feisty filmmaker It wasn’t until world renowned filmmaker Agnes Varda This is where she learned the family history. “He made was nearly forty that she learned the details of her her- a genealogical tree, but he made it in a funny way,” she itage. “My father hid that he was Greek,” she says. “He says, describing the buttons he used to represent the made us believe that he was French and even had a faces of family members. “I learned that when my faFrench passport. I would have been so proud to know ther joined the Foreign Legion, he enrolled as Greek, but came out French.” I was from there, the ‘birthplace of culture’.” On learning about her heritage, Varda’s first imVarda’s French and Greek parentage is detailed in her new film, The Beaches of Agnes (Les plages d’Ag- pulse was to travel to Greece, but she refused to enter during the military junta of those years. She exnès), an autobiographical portrait she created to recap her eighty colorful years. Born in 1928 and named “Arlette,” Varda showed a burgeoning independent spirit at age 18 when she legally changed her name to “Agnes” after a paternal aunt she never met. Known as the “Grandmother of the French New Wave,” Varda has been a prolific filmmaker since her Left Bank heyday in the early Sixties, when she and her husband, director Jacques Demy, were key figures in the Director Agnè s Varda in Th e Beaches of Ag creative community. nès After a screening of The Beaches of Agnes, in advance of its summer premiere pressed her political views in a 1970 television proat New York’s Film Forum, I sat down with the feisty duction, “Nausicaa,” which starred a young Gerard director–as always, sporting her signature soup bowl Depardieu in his first role, playing a hippie. The semihaircut–to discuss her new film and the unconventional autobiographical film, about Greeks living in France, was never broadcast because if its antiauthoritarian life it portrays. “If you opened people up, you would find land- stance. The California counterculture of the era was more scapes, if you opened me up, you would find beaches,” she says, explaining the running theme of the film, fitting for Varda, who accompanied her husband to Holwhere she takes us to many shores, from the south lywood after his success with such films as The Umcoast of France to Venice Beach in Los Angeles. “I’m brellas of Cherbourg. Varda becomes wistful as she an unidentified flying object. And so is this film. This is recalls this high point in her life. “It blew our minds when we came,” she says. “There were flower children, not reportage. It is not a documentary. It’s not fiction.” As an experimental director, Varda uses a mixture peace and love, beautiful big community parties on of techniques to create a scrapbook that illustrates the Sunday in the fields, love ins and sit ins, people sharkey periods of her life. She interweaves traditional in- ing food, the kids, the dogs. I remember an incredible terviews and site visits with staged vignettes and visu- feeling of brotherhood and sisterhood in those years, alizations of fantasies. In present-day Paris, where smoking ‘artistic’ cigarettes and enjoying ‘loaded’ there is no beach, she constructs her own by closing chocolate cakes.” Varda cherishes the twenty-eight years of married off a street and covering it in sand. There, she films her officemates in resort wear, as they type at their out- life with Demy. The couple worked on movies side-byside while raising a son and daughter. When Demy fell door desks as if there was nothing unusual going on. The addition of clips from her oeuvre provide a ill, Varda filmed a tribute to him called Jacquot that she cinematic timeline, from her early international hit, Cleo completed just after his death in 1990. In The Beaches of from 5 to 7 (1962) to her feminist manifesto, One Sings, Agnes she speaks of him and weeps, disclosing for the the Other Doesn’t (1977), to her recent documentary on first time that his death was from AIDS. She embraces a period of mourning and recounts the passing of other scavengers, The Gleaners and I (2002). Ideas for many of her eclectic films were gener- friends and relatives. “There is something Greek about ated by her own life. In 1967, Varda journeyed to a death, the strong feeling of death as part of the landhouseboat in northern California to document her fa- scape,” she says. Rania Richardson ther’s bohemian cousin for a film called, Uncle Yanco. Cinema Guild

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Melbourne writer Christos Tsiolkas‘s latest novel, The Slap, has been shortlisted for the 2009 Miles Franklin Literary award, Australia’s most prestigious prize for fiction. Tsiolkas’s gritty and confronting portrayal of middle-class multicultural Melbourne suburbia is one of the year’s most talked about books, selling more than 45,000 copies in Australia since it was released last November. In March, the book won the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for best novel in the Pacific Region (and is a finalist for the overall award being announced in May), pipping some of Australia’s most prominent writers. Tsiolkas is also understood to have sold the television rights to the book. As the name suggests, the scene is set when a man slaps a four-year-old brat that is not his own during a fracas at a suburban barbecue. The incident reverberates through the motley assortment of family and friends. Each chapter tells the story from the perspective of one of eight interconnected guests who, in classic Tsiolkas fashion, represent the gamut of Australia’s social and cultural diversity, from a Greek man in his 70s and an Aboriginal convert to Islam to a gay teenage boy. While the style is as in-your-face as ever, peppered with coarse language, drugs, graphic sex and an underlying anger, Tsiolkas’s powerful observations of contemporary domestic life, family relationships and attitudes to raising children have resonated with a broader audience than his previous books. Tsiolkas burst onto the literary scene in 1995 with his novel Loaded, which was made into the controversial Ana Kokkinos feature film, Head On. In 2006, he won the Age Book of the Year fiction award for his third novel, Dead Europe. While his novels are as disconcerting as they are fascinating, with The Slap, 43-year-old Tsiolkas has well and truly emerged as one of Australia’s leading contemporary writers. Victoria Kyriakopoulos


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WEGreeks Greek delight Jennifer Aniston was last seen chasing Marley, a dog with attitude. Now she’s a giraffe called Daisy, an acquaintance of a fluffy, cuddly white lamb called Loukoumi, the heroine of Nick Katsoris’s award-winning illustrated children’s book series. Loukoumi is just as sweet as those delicious cubes of rose-scented jelly by the same name nestled under clouds of powdered sugar, and she’s got people. Marika the Monkey, Fistiki the Cat, Dean the dog, and Gus the Bear, star in Loukoumi, the first book of the series, as well as its sequel, Growing Up With Loukoumi. And a testament to lasting friendships, they’re all still there for her in the just-released Loukoumi’s Good Deeds, about how easy it is to make others happy by doing something nice. So now Daisy the Giraffe has loped into that animal cosmos on the CD accompanying Loukoumi’s Good Deeds. In the inspirational Loukoumi’s Gift, a bonus story on the CD, narrated by Jennifer’s father, John Aniston (decades-long star of Days of Our Lives), Jennifer...er, Daisy, teaches the book’s curly protagonist that preferable to costing a lot of money, a gift can come straight from the heart. Jennifer’s Daisy the Giraffe joins the other character voices played by celebrities who have inhabited Loukoumi’s world since the Growing Up With Loukoumi CD: Oscar winner Olympia Dukakis is Marika the Monkey, Grammy winner Gloria Gaynor is Fistiki the Cat (Gloria also sings her original song “Make Someone Smile” for the Loukoumi’s Good Deeds CD), American Idol’s Constantine Maroulis is Gus the Bear, Guiding

He has the look

Nick Katsoris with Olympia Dukakis

Light star Frank Dicopoulos is Dean the Dog, and CBS News anchor Alexis Christoforous is Loukoumi. All meaningful animals, every one, but Jennifer is human, too, narrating tracks 1 and 3 on the Loukoumi’s Good Deeds CD. Track 3, a new version of the original Growing up with Loukoumi CD includes the voices of the three winners of last year’s first national Growing up with Loukoumi Dream Day contest. The second annual Loukoumi Dream Day contest runs through December 3, 2009, with events taking place at libraries, schools, and bookstores across the United States. Children enter the contest by drawing a picture of themselves in their future dream career accompanied by the statement: “I want to be a because...”; the top winners will live their dream career for a day. Last year’s winners spent a day in their dream careers, which included witnessing a Mars landing from NASA, playing soccer with the New York Red Bulls, cooking on CBS News with chef Tony Tantillo, and meeting with TV chef Rachael Ray.

When it comes to “looks can kill” the cameras are usually on Theo Pagones. His strong features and intense presence has filled the screens in numerous diverse roles as an actor. From the age of nineteen you could find Pagones doing repertory theater in his hometown, Seattle. Once his talent as an actor became his passion he gradually worked his way south. He studied and graduated from the prestigious American conservatory Theater in San Francisco, California. From there, Hollywood–get ready for that face! Pagones has starred and co-starred in numerous films and has had guest appearances in several television spots and national commercials. The list of actors he has shared the screen with is endless. Theo was most notably in a powerful performance opposite Robert DeNiro and Cuba Gooding Jr. in the movie Men of Honor. Soon after Pagones starred, wrote, and produced the Independent film Runners. This intense film features four former track champions who reunite for their ten-year high school reunion in New Mexico. Their past unfolds as they discover their track coach sexually abused them. A mock trial begins discovering the truth, with an explosive ending that liberates them. You won’t only find Pagones on the big screen, he also is a talented writer having penned ten screenplay’s and has adapted two books into feature films. Currently, he has two screenplays in preproduction. One is titled Kardamila, a romantic comedy, set in a small village on a Greek island. It’s about a young Greek

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Every child that reads Loukoumi ‘s Good Deeds will be doing a good deed; $2.00 from the sale of each book will be donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®, internationally recognized for its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. Founded by late entertainer Danny Thomas and based in Memphis, Tennessee, St. Jude freely shares its discoveries with scientific and medical communities around the world. Katsoris, General Counsel of the Red Apple Group since 1995 and President of the Hellenic Times Scholarship Fund, was inspired to write the first book in the series when, asking his wife, Voula, to please hand him the box of loukoumi candy he addressed her as “Loukoumi”. “At the moment I called her ‘Loukoumi’, I thought that would be a cute name for a children’s book character,” says Katsoris, who was inspired to begin the project in 2004, when his son, Dean (who now has a baby sister) was born. Vicki James Yiannias

American sent to Greece after his father’s death to discover his culture and roots. The other is Two Lads and a Rolls, a satirical comedy set in Los Angeles about two actors who get a Rolls Royce and a house in Beverly Hills for two weeks and everything that follows! “I’m passionate about acting, but when I’m not on the set, I like to keep my writing chops fluid and in shape,” says Pagones. “Acting and writing complement each other, and if you understand both mediums, it makes your job much easier to do. When I’m acting I get the writing, and when I’m writing I tell the story from the actors point of view, using dialogue and setting up characters and giving them life.” Pagones’s latest acting role is in 5 Star. He plays an inmate released from a twelve-year prison term to meet up with his bank heist buddies to retrieve twenty million dollars that was never recovered. One of the five escaped, and has the money. The other four are coming back to the small town to get the money that’s owed to them. Pagones has a strong heart for roles portraying his Greek heritage. He has great interest in the upcoming film, written by Vlas and Charley Paralapanides, War of the Gods, a mythological tale set in war-town ancient Greece, as the young warrior prince Theseus leads his men in a battle against evil that will see the gods fighting with soldiers against demons and titans. Pagones is a natural for a part– and that’s a wrap! Pamela Spyrs


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Best Hotels 2009

Traveling in style Odyssey’s annual guide to Greece’s best hotels Hospitality has many forms–from lavish banquet tables to a simple meal of fresh bread and cheese with a glass of wine or from a luxurious villa with its five-star service and a private pool to a self-catering studio with a unobstructed view of the sea from its balcony. Some hotels are a destination in themselves while others are designed to highlight a magnificent destination. Quality is not just in price, but in the warmth and the style of life. In selecting the hotels for this year’s guide, the aim was to include accommodations that appeal to tastes as diverse as the Greek landscape and offer a range of options with the best all-around facilities and services for the type of accommodation offered, from glittering hotels and all-inclusive resorts to boutique hotels and tranquil family-run inns. List compiled by Chrisa Veneti.

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ATHENS & ENVIRONS Classical BabyGrand Hotel Athinas 65 & Lycourgou, Athens tel.: 210 325 0900; fax: 210 325 0920 • www.classicalhotels.com • bg@classicalhotels.com Accommodations: 65 rooms, 11 suites

The Grande Bretagne, with its charm and elegance, has been in the centre of the many national, historical and political events that have altered the country’s history. For almost a century and a half, this distinguished Athenian landmark witnessed, and was part of, the great changes that took Greece into the family of modern European capitals. Equal to every challenge, and unbending in its standards, the GB continues to be the bastion of luxury and elegance. Today, as throughout its history, its unique ambience keeps company with some of the world’s most influential politicians, professionals, scribes and artists. Yet, with all the changes that have occurred around it, the Grande Bretagne has remained itself - even after a radical renovation never before experienced by the Grande Dame of the city. With the basic principle of high respect for the needs of those entrusted to its care, GB’s standards continue to glorify the concept of hospitality.

Hilton Athens Vas. Sofias 46, Athens tel.: 210 728 1000; fax: 210 728 1111 • www.hiltonathens.gr • Reservations.athens@hilton.com Accommodations: 508 rooms

The Classical BabyGrand Hotel was listed by Conde Nast Traveler among the ‘65 Best Places to Stay’–and that says a lot. This art hotel has gained a reputation as the Greek capital’s hottest city hotel, something apparent from the entrance–an amazing art garden that leads to a reception area whose desks are actual Mini Coopers. Accommodations choices range from Classical Guestrooms, Graffiti Guestrooms and Deluxe Guestrooms to Junior and Business Suites. Hotel facilities include the BabyGrand Restaurant, a funky version of the Greek taverna, and the Moet & Chandon Champagne Bar.

Grande Bretagne Hotel Vas. Georgiou A1, Syntagma, Athens tel.: 210 333 0000; fax: 210 322 8034 • www.grandebretagne.gr • info@grandebretagne.gr Accommodations: 321 rooms

The Hilton Athens, since its original opening in 1963, constitutes one of Athens’ landmarks. The hotel reopened its doors on February 2003, following an extensive renovation program. The hotel boasts 508 rooms and 34 suites, including an Executive Floor with his own reception and Lounge. The hotel features four restaurants and two bars. There are 22 conference rooms and exhibition areas including the Hilton Meetings™ with their own business centre. The outdoor swimming pool is the largest hotel pool in the centre of Athens. The Galaxy Bar & Restaurant on the last floor of the Hilton Athens, is the ideal choice for a romantic dinner or drink under the sky of Attica with the most breathtaking view of the city. Hilton Athens has also a fully equipped fitness and wellness club with an indoor pool. Stylish and modern space, resplendent with natural light, will provide guests with an unparalleled environment in which to work or relax. 30 May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY


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Metropolitan Leoforos Syngrou 385, Athens tel.: 210 947 1000; fax: 210 947 1010 • www.chandris.gr • metropolitan@chandris.gr Accommodations: 374 rooms

With a view to both the Acropolis and the Aegean Sea, situated in front of the Faleron Olympic coastal park, the Metropolitan is ideally suited to both leisure and business travelers. It is only a 15-minute drive from the city centre and the port of Piraeus. All 374 rooms have been completely refurbished to the highest international five-star standards and include the latest four-pipe individual air conditioning system, advanced fire safety sprinklers, conveniently placed modem ports for highspeed internet, 24-hour room service access, multi channel satellite TV. Spacious executive rooms and suites offer separate dressing rooms and comfortable living rooms in addition to an electric trouser press, LCD television, entertainment centre and the very latest in telecommunication capabilities. Le Trocadero restaurant offers sumptuous breakfast and lunch buffets as well as candlelight dinners overlooking its own garden. The light-bathed Atrium Café serves light meals both indoors and outdoors. The rooftop La Veranda restaurant serves refined Mediterranean gastronomic specialties (seasonal). The sun deck is ideal for relaxing beside the heated rooftop pool while the fitness centre offers a wide array of cardiovascular and weight training equipment under the supervision of qualified staff. The Metropolitan Hotel is the ideal venue for high-

powered business conventions, elite conferences and glamorous weddings for up to 500 guests. The ten conference and meeting rooms offer advanced technological equipment and plenty of natural daylight. The Hotel’s shuttle bus offers complimentary transportation to and from downtown Athens.

Metropolitan

Athenaeum Intercontinental Leoforos Syngrou 89-93, Athens tel.: 210 920 6000; fax: 210 920 6500 • www.athens.intercontinental.com • athens@ihg.com Accommodations: 543 rooms, 60 suites, 1 presidential suite

Ideally positioned between the business and financial districts of Athens and Piraeus, the Athenaeum InterContinental boasts 543 luxury guestrooms–the most spacious in Athens. Sixty suites, including eighteen on two Club InterContinental floors, offer a range of room accommodation choices for the business or leisure traveler. A fully-equipped business center and highspeed wireless internet connections and voice mail in all rooms have made the hotel the choice of discerning executives. The Athenaeum Ballroom accommodates up to 2,500 persons, and the 3,500-square-meter Athenaeum Conference Center offers 35 breakout rooms with a total capacity of 3,500. Dining options include the all-day Cafezoe and Café Vienna Tea Lounge at lobby level and the Premiere Restaurant on the 10th floor where, along with stunning views of the Acropolis, guests can enjoy award-winning Mediterranean cuisine. Playzoe by the pool and Tobar in the lobby are excellent meeting points. There’s also a shopping arcade, hair salon, open-air swimming pool, 24-hour gym, and renovated fitness center with spa. May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY 31


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The Athenaeum InterContinental is within walking distance of the city’s tram and metro lines, while a complimentary hotel shuttle makes downtown runs from morning to night-time.

Divani Caravel Vas. Alexandrou 2, Athens tel.: 210 720 7000 ; fax: 210 723 6683 • www.divanis.com • info@divanicaravel.gr Accommodations: 471 rooms

The largest property of the Divanis Hotel Chain, the Divani Caravel Hotel, Member of the Leading Hotels of the World, is located in the heart of Athens, very close to the main business, sights, shopping, and entertainment areas. Entering the hotel guests are greeted by a lobby with impressive combination of light, marble, and wood. Guests can chose to relax in one of the 471 fully refurbished luxury, executive floor rooms and suites, which combine comfort and elegance. Unique designer fabrics, tasteful artistic paintings, impressive and functional oak furniture, all together create an atmosphere of luxury and comfort. All rooms are soundproof, equipped with individually adjustable climate control, satellite and cable TV, mini bar, safe deposit box, radio, digital phone system with voice mail, ADSL & ISDN lines and data port, electronic key-card-lock system, fireproof doors and hairdryer. The two Executive floors and the suites have full stereo music system, second telephone line, coffee/tea facilities, and luxurious amenities in the bathroom. Executive services include daily VIP turndown service, mineral water upon arrival, private executive hospitality desk, and private executive lounge with free breakfast, drinks and snacks. A fully equipped business center, daily laundry, dry cleaning and valet service as well as round the clock room service, are the perfect additional ingredients to complete the superb package of pleasure and relaxation. The Divani Caravel Hotel also provides the ideal atmosphere for executive meetings and unique conference facilities. The 15 multifunctional convention halls (extending at 4,000 sqm.), ranging widely in size and capacity, offer versatile meeting possibilities and they can accommodate from 10 to 2000 persons. Public areas and meeting rooms offer wireless internet service. 32 May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY

O&B Athens Boutique Hotel Leokoriou 7, Athens tel.: 210 331 2940; fax: 210 331 2942 • www.oandbhotel.com • info@oandbhotel.com Accommodations: 11 rooms

From its dazzling location in the heart of downtown Athens, O&B Athens Boutique Hotel is a distinctive hotel that has reinvented the meaning of urban hospitality with its energy, strength and charm. The O&B Athens Boutique Hotel is located in the historic center of Athens, in one of the most upcoming and authentic neighborhoods of the city and now one of the liveliest hip spots of the metropolis city. With a short stroll, you find yourself at the gates of Acropolis and moments away from Syntagma Square, Monastiraki, Keramikos, the Ancient Agora and Plaka, the old city of Athens. All the O&B rooms feature the latest in video and sound design, free wi-fi internet access, marble bathrooms with custom designed glass enclosed wet-areas, and colourful yet elegant furnishings encouraged by a sense of calming sophistication and urban cool. Contemporary design and the highest quality materials blend together to provide our guests an oasis in the heart of the city–a place to call their home away from home.

Electra Palace Hotel Nikodimous 18-20, Athens tel.: 210 337 0000; fax: 210 324 1871 • www.electrahotels.gr• salesepath@electrahotels.gr Accommodations: 155 rooms

The Electra Palace Hotel-Athens is a five-star property in Plaka. All rooms have air-conditioning, mini-bar, sound-proof windows, electronic safe box, direct dial phone, internet connection, satellite TV, night light, emergency light, magnifying mirror in the bathroom, hair dryer, bath robes, slippers & smoke detector. All superior rooms have Acropolis view. All suites have Jacuzzi bathtubs. There are five nonsmoking floors, 24-hour room service, laundry service and secretarial service during office hours. The “Motivo” restaurant is located on the lobby level, along with our traditional “Duck Tail” bar. The new treasure is our “Electra” Roof Garden Restaurant overlooking the Acropolis and Plaka.


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Best Hotels 2009

Periscope Hotel

Seize the opportunity to visit The Electra Palace Fitness Center. Guests can enjoy the heated indoor swimming pool and Jacuzzi and stay in shape at the gym, feel rejuvenated in the sauna and steam bath. A highlight: enjoying the Greek sunshine & view to Acropolis during summer period at the outdoor swimming pool.

Periscope Hotel Haritos 22, Kolonaki, Athens tel.: 210 729 7200; fax: 210 729 7206 • www.periscope.gr • info@periscope.gr Accommodations: 21 rooms

Periscope Hotel, member of YES! HOTELS forms a new space of modern design that depicts the global concept of city resort hotels. Its location in Kolonaki, the ever active and cosmopolitan heart of Athens, brings the guest into the social, cultural and business pulse of the city. Periscope at number 22 of Haritos street consists of 21 modern rooms – 4 of then Junior Suites as well as 1 luxurious Penthouse Suite with an exclusive private Jacuzzi on the hotels rooftop. The spacious Penthouse Suite offers a breathtaking panoramic view of Acropolis and Lycabettus. Rooms are characterized by modern aesthetics and ergonomic design.

Arion, A Luxury Collection Resort & Spa Astir Vouliagmeni Resort, Apollonos 40, Vouliagmeni, Athens tel.: 210 890 2000; fax: 210 896 2582 • arionresortathens.com • Astir.Reservation@starwoodhotels.com Accommodations: 123 rooms, 55 bungalows

The legendary atmosphere of Arion Resort & Spa is enhanced by contemporary surroundings and spectacular views of the Saronic Gulf. Classic harmoniously blends with contemporary to form a prestigious, yet charming style. Unique luxuries are found at every turn, from original paintings to a private swimming pool, beaches, and gourmet restaurants. Guest rooms and suites delight the senses with creative touches. Elegant and sophisticated décor allow for comfort

and ease. The most distinctive feature, the resort’s fully renovated bungalows, offers the ultimate in privacy and privileged services for its guests. Located in the Astir Palace complex, our hotel honors a 40-year tradition of five-star hospitality and superior service. This prime location in the heart of the Athenian Riviera is just 25 kilometers from the international airport and cosmopolitan city center of Athens.

The Westin Athens Astir Vouliagmeni Resort, Apollonos 40, Vouliagmeni, Athens tel.: 210 890 2000; fax: 210 896 2582 • westinathens.com •Astir.Reservation@starwoodhotels.com Accommodations: 160 rooms

Thanks to its unique setting on a private peninsula in the heart of the Athens Riviera, The Westin Athens Astir Palace Beach Resort offers the best of both worlds. Relax at classic seaside resort, with cosmopolitan city life just a short drive away. Clean, contemporary lines and a cool, soothing color palette make our 160 guest rooms and suites the epitome of stylish elegance. Each is graced with the sumptuous Heavenly Bed and a private balcony offering captivating views of the Saronic Gulf. The hotel is part of the Astir Palace Complex, which is located in the elite area of Athens Riviera, Vouliagmeni. This May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY 33


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prime location is just 25 kilometers from the international airport and cosmopolitan city center of Athens. There you can enjoy all the privileges and services of a modern city while exploring its cultural heritage at the Acropolis, Olympic Stadium, and more. Find renewal at The Westin Athens Astir Palace Beach Resort - the ultimate destination in the Mediterranean.

Pentelikon Hotel Diligianni 66, Kifissia, Athens tel.: 210 623 0650; fax: 210 801 9223 • www.pentelikon.gr • front.office@pentelikon.gr Accommodations: 101 rooms

Our property is located in Kifissia, the most exclusive northern suburb of Athens, with an excellent and mild climate. Only 14 miles away from Athens International Airport, Kifissia hosts one of Athens most executive dinning and shopping area and is nearby Marousi, the main Corporate Business center of the city. Following a challenging restoration and after a large-scale investment project, our Hotel has managed to maintain the profile of its historic character, yet updating to modern standards. Experience true privacy and a genuine atmosphere, in our 101 distinctive and refined rooms and suites, framed in a gorgeous 3,500 sqm. green estate. Pentelikon guests have the opportunity to enjoy moments of relaxation by the pool, under the sun, in our tranquil gardens, taste the hotel’s Mediterranean delicacies at La Terrasse restaurant and explore exquisite flavors of Greek Mediterranean Cuisine at Vardis award winning Restaurant.

Divani Apollon Palace & Spa Ag. Nikolaou 10 & Iliou, Vouliagmeni, Athens tel.: 210 891 1100; fax: 210 965 8010 • www.divanis.com • info@divaniapollon.gr Accommodations: 307 rooms

Divani Apollon Palace & Spa, a Member of The Leading Hotels of the World, is located on the beachfront in the environ of Vouliagmeni– the ideal place for the seeker of sophistication and beauty. From the moment guests enter the lobby with the breathtaking view to 34 May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY

the azure sea, the mood is set for an unforgettable experience. All 307 fully refurbished luxury rooms offer view to the Saronic Gulf, air conditioning, cable and satellite TV, radio, safe boxes, mini bars, direct telephones, voice mail, ADSL & ISDN lines, data port and hair dryers. Entering the Hotel’s suites you are welcomed by the pal colors, the Italian furniture, selected antiques, fireplaces and wooden floors. While staying at the Divani Apollon Palace & Spa, guests can stroll in the beautiful gardens, swim in the azure sea, relax in the Jacuzzi with fresh sea water or in the two outdoor swimming pools, exercise, watch the sunset from the enchanting verandas or enjoy Greek specialties, snack, ice-creams at the Meltemi restaurant and refreshing cocktails by the Pool Bar. The Divani Athens Spa & Thalasso Centre, Member of Leading Spas, is one of the largest and most modern in Europe covering over 3,500 square meters, opened in August 2003. Amenities include an indoor pool, therapeutic facilities, sauna, and fitness center with aerobic exercise area, steam rooms, facial treatments and massage making up for 26 treatment rooms in total. The ultimate relaxation and pampering is here… Excellent cuisine in the four restaurants: start with an aperitif in the Pelagos bar or in the Atlantis Lounge, then may continue to the Mythos of the Sea restaurant located on the beachfront or to the Anemos restaurant. The Divani Apollon Palace is also an excellent choice for travel incentive programs, corporate events, conferences and exhibitions with over 2,500 square meters of conference and banquet space, 22 fully equipped conference rooms for up to 2,200 delegates. Every meeting room provides state-of-the art infrastructure and most of which with natural daylight. All public areas and meeting rooms offer Wireless Internet service. The Aristotelis Divanis new conference hall provides a total area of 860 sq meters with a ceiling height of 5 meters and has the possibility to be divided in 6 separate meeting rooms. The Divani Apollon Palace offers all the luxuries and amenities one expects in an outstanding international five star hotel, such as, beauty salon, jewelry shop, CD library, gift shop, free shuttle service to city and business center, children’s playground, golf course with 18 holes just two kilometers away.

SARONIC ISLANDS Xenon Estate Kokkinaria, Spetses tel.: 22980 75210; fax: 22980 74109 • www.xenonestate.gr • info@xenonestate.gr Accommodations: 3 villas

Xenon Estate is luxury resort in the traditional island of Spetses that consists of 3 autonomous and fully equipped villas. Surrounded by 4 hectares of beautiful gardens, kiosks, golf grass and the largest swimming pool of the island, it is situated within the town of Spetses on the northeast part upon a greenfull hill of pine trees with 150 m height. Due to its location, the view is panoramic towards the pine tree forest, the town of Spetses, the Saronic Gulf and the island of Hydra


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and Dokos as well as the coast of Peloponnese with Costa and Porto Heli just in front of your eyes! Privacy, calmness, relaxation and peace can be combined with the services and facilities of this luxurious resort and can make one’s stay an unbelievable experience.

Orloff Resort

Hotel Sto Roloi Kostelenou 34-36, Poros tel.: 22980 25808; fax: 210 963 3705 • www.storoloi-poros.com • storoloi@otenet.gr Accommodations: 7 villas & apartments

Orloff Resort Old Harbour, Spetses tel.: 22980 75444; fax: 22980 74470 • www.orloffresort.com • info@orloffresort.com Accommodations: 17 rooms, 2 villas

Secluded within a private compound in the aristocratic Old Harbor, the Orloff Resort was developed around a renovated 19th-century stone-built mansion and now comprises fifteen double rooms, four triple apartments and three suites that can accommodate four to six persons each, and a stand-alone house that sleeps 10–all arrayed around a central courtyard and swimming pool. All guestrooms have balconies or terraces with views over the sea or the grounds, while some also have equipped kitchenettes, fireplace, and hydro massage. Details like Korres natural cosmetics, in-room internet connections, and handmade furniture create an aura of easy elegance that helps create the wonderful harmony between its traditional architecture and modern vibe. Resort facilities include a bar-restaurant by the pool and services ranging from child-minding to aromatherapy and massage.

Three private apartments with all modern conveniences in the two hundred year old island house “Sto Roloi”, overlooking the May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY 35


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picturesque harbor of Poros. The apartments can be rented individually for a romantic vacation for two, or in any combination for a gathering with family and friends. “Anemone House” and the “Little Tower” may be rented together for a group of up to seven persons, or separately, as both houses have separate entrances. The use of the swimming pool and surrounding gardens and sitting areas is exclusively provided to the guests of Anemone House. Limeri Residence, a true hide-away, overlooking the town and the famous sea passage of Poros is our latest acquisition. Its restoration was finished in August 2007. Following the same concept as Anemone Residence, Limeri offers two villas, one bigger and one smaller, with a secluded, shared pool and lovely terraced gardens and verandas. Main House and Studio can be rented separately or together, hosting a group of up to 6 persons. The Main House, on two levels, offers a master bedroom with en suite bath with double hydro massage bath tube as well as separate hydro massage shower cabin, on the upper level a large living room with a sofa bed, kitchen and dining area. The Limeri –Studio is a large one room apartment, complete with open kitchen, bathroom with hydro massage and steam sauna. Both houses offer a variety of terraces, balconies and verandas, each with a magnificent view, as well as a secluded, shared pool 3.0x6.0.

Rosy’s Little Village Agistri tel.: 22970 91610; fax: 22970 91610 • www.rosyslittlevillage.com • info@rosyslittlevillage.com Accommodations: 16 rooms

Restaurant which serves a selection of Greek and Mediterranean dishes. Rosy’s Little Village is an ideal holiday retreat for families as well as for workshops.

Elies Resort Vathi, Sifnos tel.: 22840 34000; fax: 22840 34070 • www.eliesresorts.com • info@eliesresorts.com Accommodations: 22 rooms, 10 villas

Tucked into the embrace of Vathi’s sheltered bay, Elies occupies a 50,000-square-meter estate dotted with 200-year-old olive trees and framed by a pretty sand beach. Its collection of guestrooms, suites, and villas with private pools (and some with Jacuzzi) offers a range of elegant accommodations with standard amenities like mini bar, internet access, entertainment center, and complimentary bathrobes, slippers, pool and beach towels. Light meals can be taken at the pool bar and lounge, while the gourmet restaurant features Mediterranean gastronomy–only fitting on the island that is the birthplace of Nicholas Tselementes, the Greek chef whose surname means “cookbook” in the Greek vernacular. The hotel organizes wine and olive oil tastings, while facilities include tennis court, gym center, and spa featuring products and services developed with Cocoon Urban Spa. The resort’s private speedboat is also available for private excursions.

PELOPONNESE Olympian Village, Royal Olympian Spa & Thalasso

Nestled in a pine forest by the sea, Rosy’s Little Village has the atmosphere of an island village yet is conveniently located near Athens on the island of Agistri, accessible from Aegina just opposite the Piraeus coast. Accommodations include 14 cozy double guestrooms and 3 family rooms facing the island of the Saronic Gulf. Sunbathing, swimming, sailing, and cycling are among the activities guests can indulge in (mountain bikes for exploring are free), while the “village” meeting point is the Petit 36 May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY

Skafidia 271 00, Pyrgos, Peloponnese tel.: 26210 82000; fax: 26210 54647 • www.aldemarhotels.com • ov@aldemarhotels.com Accommodations: 288 rooms, 49 apartments & 19 suites

The Aldemar Olympian Village is an ultramodern complex of autonomous bungalows, luxurious suites, spacious apartments, and beautiful rooms right by the sea, spread on sandy seashores and ornamented with swimming pools and gardens of unique beauty. It’s a hospitable, lively, tourist village, ideal for sport lovers and children. Voted World’s Leading Spa Resort 2007, Aldemar Olympian Village is distinguished for its service–discreet,


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exceptional, professional and warm hospitality. The superb quality of the spa treatments, the purity of the ingredients used and the stylish beauty of the surroundings come together to create a fabulous mosaic of precious individual moments.

Villa Condessa

Villa Condessa

Amalia Nauplia Hotel Amalias Street, N. Tiryns, Nafplion tel.: 27520 24400; fax: 27520 24404 • www.amaliahotels.com • nauplia@amaliahotels.com Accommodations: 172 rooms

Epidaurus tel.: 210 721 5530 • www.whitekeyvillas.com • info@whitekeyvillas.com Accommodations: private villa (6 rooms)

This Tuscan styled villa is set on a 400-acre estate above the historic village of Epidavros, on the Peloponnese peninsula, a 1.5hour drive from Athens. The olive groves, stone walkways dotted with cypress trees and vineyards that surround the villa are all encircled by a private forest offering total seclusion from the outside world. While set in a private location with exclusive access to an enormous country estate, the beautiful beaches of Epidavros are just a 10-minute drive away and resorts such as Hydra, Spetses, Nafplio, Poros, and Porto Heli can be easily reached within less than an hour. From here guests can enjoy a day trip to many archaeological sites such as Mycenae, Tyrins, and Corinth or attend one of the numerous plays that are organized every summer in the ancient theater of Epidaurus, located at only 15 minutes from the villa. Featuring high wood-beamed ceilings and flagstone floors, the house is luxuriously furnished with antiques, all hand-selected by the owners. The shady loggia, with its ample rattan furniture, invites you to relax with a good book or enjoy al fresco meal. Lazy summer afternoons can be spent sunbathing around the large pool or taking a stroll around the immense grounds of the estate. With a home cinema, snooker table and gym this villa, built in 2007, combines modern conveniences with traditional charm. It has a heated pool, central heating and two fireplaces that make it a great holiday retreat in the cooler winter months as well as the summer.

The Amalia Nauplia Hotel–a five-star facility with luxury premises and service–opened its doors to the visitors of Nafplion in March 2008 after a complete renovation in all rooms, banquet halls, and public areas. Built near the entry to the town, this beautiful neoclassical building welcomes visitors in a spacious, relaxing lobby filled by light. Comfortable sofas, warm corners with discreet details and in the centre a unique atrium offer moments of relaxation before setting off to explore the town. The 172 rooms and suites offer a superb view to Palamidi, the sea, or the amazing green gardens with the palm trees and the blooming flowers. Ground-floor conference rooms have natural lighting and can host conferences for up to 400. The gardens are the ideal setting for any kind of social event and are able to host events for up to 800 guests. The area around the pool can host up to 400 people. May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY 37


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The hotel’s two restaurants serve Greek and international cuisine. Guests can enjoy cocktails in the bar and light snacks, coffee or other refreshments while relaxing by the pool. There’s also a barbecue station to tempt the palate.

Villa Georgina Inn Neapolis, Laconia tel.: 27340 29029; fax: 210 9648595 • www.villa-georgina.com • info@villa-georgina.com Accommodations: studios

The Villa Georgina Inn Studios are located in the seaside resort of Plaka Neapolis, which is a region in the prefecture of Laconia, in the Peloponnese. The hotel is built next to the beach, offering visitors a spellbinding view of the sea and the sunset, making it one of the most attractive Peloponnese hotels. Its fully equipped studios accommodate 2 to 5 persons, guaranteeing a comfortable and relaxing stay. The Villa Georgina Hotel Studios combines modern and traditional features both in the exterior and the interior areas of the hotel. The hotel is comprised of spacious, well-designed studios and a variety of dining and entertainment facilities. The superb Panorama Cafe Bar Restaurant in Neapolis, Peloponnese, is located on the ground floor of the Villa Georgina Studios complex and is considered to be one of the finest Neapolis Peloponnese restaurants. The outdoor Panorama Peloponnese Restaurant is decorated with wood paneling, artistic photographs and stylish furniture and includes a tastefully-designed bar, creating a cozy place during the winter months. There is also an impressive gazebo, from which guests have a beautiful sea view.

MACEDONIA Porto Palace Hotel 26th Octovriou Ave 65, Thessaloniki tel.: 2310 504504; fax: 2310 540384 • www.portopalace.gr • info@portopalace.gr Accommodations: 178 rooms

Porto Palace offers a combination of a luxurious and friendly environment; you can enjoy your stay in one of the 154 deluxe rooms, 16 business suites and 8 suites of the hotel, equipped with all modern comforts available. As early as its first year of operation, Porto Palace Hotel has been established as an excellent choice for any type of business, social or personal events. Its excellently trained staff guarantees your irreproachable servicing, while choosing the perfect site, among the 10 multiple usage rooms, is more than easy. Grand Pietra Hall, the largest hall of all in Thessaloniki, of a capacity up to 2000 people, constitutes the trade mark of the hotel and has accommodated international events, big conferences and social events in full success.

Les Lazaristes Kolokotroni 16, Thessaloniki tel.: 2310 647400; fax : 2310 647484 • www.domotel.gr • leslazaristes@domotel.gr Accommodations: 74 rooms

The ultimate city Art Hotel “Les Lazaristes” is minimal, elegant, with discreet care from the experienced personnel, a unique place to stay reflecting simplicity and the hotel’s art philosophy. Works of art from well known Greek artists decorate the hotel since the Museum of Modern Art is situated close. Relaxation, comfort and, most of all, pleasure is the motto of Les Lazaristes, while the magnificent pool view in conjunction with gastronomical suggestions of the chef will drift you away at a journey of innovative flavors .

Danai Beach Resort & Villas Nikiti, Halkidiki tel.: 23750 20400 fax: 23750 22591 • www.dbr.gr • info@dbr.gr Accommodations: 62 rooms

The Danai Beach Resort & Villas, member of “The Leading Small Hotels of the World”, is a luxurious hideaway perched on the bluffs of the Aegean Peninsula in Sithonia, Northern Greece; surrounded by the flawless beauty of Mediterranean pine trees, lush gardens, white sandy beaches, clean turquoise waters and azure skies. The Danai Beach Resort and Villas is a leisurely 50 minutes drive from the International Airport “Macedonia” in Thessaloniki (SKG). During the summer various events take place in Halkidiki such as the Sea Crossing in the golf of Toroneos with concerts and traditional dances and the Sani Festival.

La Moara Nimfeo, Florina tel.: 23860 31377; fax: 23860 31131 • www.lamoara.gr • reservations@lamoara.gr Accommodations: 8 rooms

La Moara is a guesthouse representing the architecture of the locale in Nimfeo. It is creation of winemaker Yiannis Boutari’s family. La Moara has six guestrooms that can accommodate up to four persons, and two attic rooms for up to two guests. These rooms, which are equipped with a bathtub, are usually 38 May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY


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given to newlyweds or other guests who seek a romantic ambience. All rooms are furnished with television, mini bar, hair dryer, and complimentary toiletries. La Moara has two lounges rooms, one in traditional style and a TV room with billiard table and library. Breakfast and dinner are served exclusively to La Moara guests in the dining room.

Imaret Th. Poulidou 30-32, Kavala tel.: 2510 620151; fax: 2510 620156 • www.imaret.com • info@imaret.gr Accommodations: 24 guestrooms & suites

The historical edifice dating back to the beginning of the nineteenth century has been completely refurbished. It successfully combines the charm and architectural influences of East and West. All rooms and suites are positioned around interior courtyards: one is a garden with a water feature in which the arches and columns are reflected. Some guestrooms have a sea view or look onto the picturesque port of Kavala. With every imaginable comfort, they restore the feeling of mysterious charm inherent to oriental houses. A traditional hamam invites you to share the delights of relaxation, the restaurant the delights of Mediterranean and European cuisine.

family and following the most modern specs, it changes the standards referring to the hospitality spaces in Epirus. The unique art hotel of the Dodoni valley, creative result of the designer’s style and the owner’s passion, composes an avantgarde model of traditional hospitality which combines the pleasurable staying with the art. Mirtali Art Hotel’s 10 goddess rooms include 3 exclusive suites with fireplace, 1 mini exclusive suite with fireplace, 1 mini exclusive suits, and 5 special comfort rooms–all with a view of the ancient theater of Dodoni and the Dodoni valley. The relaxing atmosphere of Hestia (coffee and lounge bar) is perfectly completed by the music, home-made brews drinks and aphrodician desserts, creating an enjoyable spot for all hours of the day. Demeter, the restaurant of the hotel offers traditional breakfast as well as an a la carte meal during the day which are served in the indoor and outdoor space of the motel. Creating a unique atmosphere, the space of the restaurant, coffee and lounge bar become one and are decorated with unique objects and furniture. The restaurant offers a variety of dishes from the Greek, Mediterranean and local cuisine. Great recipes all made from hand-picked ingredients cooked with family care.

Aristi Mountain Resort Aristi, Zagori tel.: 26530 41330; fax: 26530 41311 • www.aristi.eu • info@aristi.eu Accommodations: 18 rooms

EPIRUS

Mirtali Art Hotel

Manteio, Dodoni, Ioannina tel.: 26510 82288; fax: 26510 82210 • www.mirtali.gr • info@mirtali.gr Accommodations: 10 rooms

Mirtali Art Hotel is the last creation of the well-known designer Evaggelos Michelis. Created based on the vision of the Micheli May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY 39


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Aristi Mountain Resort, a traditional structure made of stone in the middle of Aristi, with breathtaking views of the gorge of Voidomatis river and the imposing mountain range of Astraka, has 14 rooms (suites, triple rooms and double rooms). The resort is located in the heart of the village, and is connected with the central village square through a scenic trail. It also provides car accessibility up to the entrance of the main lobby and plenty of parking next to the hotel. Surrounded by nature, Aristi Mountain Resort offers to its guests the complete experience of luxury and service. A lot of festivities take place during August in all of the 46 villages of Zagorohoria

Papaevangelou Hotel Megalo Papigou, Ioannina tel.: 26530 41135; fax: 26530 41988 • www.hotelpapaevangelou.gr • info@hotelpapaevangelou.gr Accommodations: 10 rooms, 4 cottages

Megalo Papigo lays tucked away among Greece’s loveliest villages, looking over the flanks of the Vikos gorge, dwarfed by the towering monsters of Astraka’s cliffs. Papigo is the most beautiful village in the region of Zagori with a view to the Astraka peak (2,436m) and the gorge of Vikos. The hotel’s facilities include a parking space, a garden, a bar lounge with a fireplace for breakfast and seating in general. The hotel is built in the traditional way with the use of stones as has been the case for hundreds of years before. There are 10 rooms and 4 studios to accommodate guests. Out of the 10 rooms two are doubles, with the option of a third bed, and seven rooms are triples. All rooms have baths, telephone facilities, autonomous heating arrangements and needless to say amazing view. The studios have a TV and a fridge additional to the aforementioned facilities.

MAINLAND Thermae Sylla Spa Wellness Hotel Posidonos 2, Loutra Edipsou, Evia tel.: 22260 60100; fax: 22260 22055 • www.thermaesylla.gr • info@thermaesylla.gr Accommodations: 108 rooms

Thermae Sylla Spa Wellness Hotel is a luxurious spa-hotel with unique architecture and one of the best 10 Thermal Spas of the world according to Conde Nast Traveller magazine. It has 100 luxurious rooms, 8 suites (one presidential), with every comfort that a luxurious hotel can provide. Guests will enjoy the two swimming pools (indoors and outdoors) with thermal water, Jacuzzi, sauna, gym, medical care, dietetic program from experts, 3 conference rooms, 2 restaurants using primary products from the hotel’s farm, 4 bars, a piano bar, a play room for kids, a lounge and a variety of shops. During their stay, guests will enjoy volcano steam baths, clay therapy, massage and facial and body treatments. What makes Thermae Sylla Spa unique is its thermal water.

Xenonas Kyriaki Amfiklia, Parnassos tel.: 22340 29011; fax: 22340 29012 • www.xenonaskiriaki.gr • info@xenonaskiriaki.gr Accommodations: 13 rooms

The traditional village of Amfiklia is located 165 km from Athens and only 17 km from the Parnassos ski resort. Amfiklia provides the ideal surroundings for an amazingly rich variety of excursions and outdoor activities. Guests can start by strolling along peaceful mountain paths, visiting archaeological sights and exploring the rich nature of the area. In winter, the nearby ski resorts is the main draw, whilst every season is perfect for mountain climbing or biking, canoeing, paragliding and horse riding, rafting or kayaking excursions provide guests with activity options to complement the hotel’s friendly service.

Archontiko tis Pepos Ilarhou Tzavella 11, Nafpaktos tel.: 26340 38185; fax: 26340 29130 • www.arxontiko-pepos.gr • info@arxontiko-pepos.gr Accommodations: 7 rooms

Pepo’s boutique hotel is one of Nafpaktos’s most cosmopolitan spots. Just a breath away from the Venetian port, the castle, and the commercial center, the hotel complements its conveniences with high-quality services (internet, plasma TV, personal amenities Apivita, Kourti’s furniture, Coco-mat mattresses), by converting every guest’s stay into a special experience of a lifetime.

CRETE Galaxy Hotel Dimokratias 75, Irakleio, Crete tel.: 2810 238812 fax: 2810 211211 • www.galaxy-hotel.com • galaxy@economouhotels.com Accommodations: 127 rooms

The Galaxy is Heraklion’s premier destination for business and leisure. Completely renovated in 2008, it delivers an unrivalled experience in world-class luxury. Modern facilities complement warm, professional service, the decadent food & beverage and the convenient location, 40 May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY


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making it the ultimate choice for all discerning travellers. Its 127 rooms and suites are the epitome of style, elegance, comfort, and functionality. All feature elegant European design with luxurious furniture and fabrics, airconditioning, spacious desks with enhanced connectivity, complimentary WiFi and wired hi-speed Internet connection and plasma TV with video on-demand. Premium Egyptian cotton bed and bath linen (with duvets and bathrobes), slippers, select bath amenities and safe boxes are all here, exactly what you would expect from a hotel of international standards. Other services and features of the hotel include: large fresh-water swimming pool, fully equipped business center, complimentary wellness club with hammam and state-ofthe-art gym. The superb dining choice of Per Se all-day restaurant-lounge-café-bar, the poolside Vetri gourmet restaurant and room service are just some of the extras that make this hotel unique. Event facilities are also second to none, with conference hosting, parking, car rental, golf and concierge services all available, along with assistance for those with disabilities.

Elounda Beach Hotel & Villas Elounda, Crete tel.: 28410 63000; fax: 28410 41373 • www.eloundabeach.gr • elohotel@eloundabeach.gr Accommodations: 249 rooms, bungalows, suites, villas

All rooms, suites, and villas offer exceptional comforts befitting a member of The Leading Hotels of the World. Designed to rival the finest in luxury accommodation, the new Yachting Club Villas, surround guests with unmitigated opulence. With no less a goal than achieving heaven at sea level, the resort aims to capture the essence of the privileged Greek island lifestyle in every facet.

Elounda Mare Hotel

Elounda Mare Hotel Elounda, Crete tel.: 28410 68200; fax: 28410 62220 • www.eloundamare.com • mare@elounda-sa.com Accommodations: 82 double rooms, bungalows with private pools, and Presidential Suite

Elounda Beach Hotel & Villas presides on the idyllic northeastern coast of Crete. The resort, a staple on Condé Nast Traveler’s Gold List, continues to gratify visitors with an international standard of hospitality and immersion in the good life of the Greek isles, a region steeped in myth and ancient history.

A quiet cove with crystal clear waters provides the perfect setting for the Elounda Mare, the only member of the Relais & Chateaux in Greece. Luxury in this family-owned establishment is of the cultured kind, with antique pieces of folk art adorning every corner and traditional architectural themes incorporated throughout. May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY 41


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Here guests can enjoy the sun in the seclusion of a privatepool bungalow, in an isolated corner of the lush gardens, or by the calm sandy beach. One never ceases to be enchanted by the incomparably intimate character of the Elounda Mare. Renowned for its courteous people and attentive service, it offers three magnificent settings for some of the finest dining of the Eastern Mediterranean. Sea sports like ski, scuba diving and sailing are offered, in addition to lovely green-set tennis courts and a 9-hole golf course at walking distance.

Avli Lounge Apartments Rathamanthios 17, Rethymno (Old Town) tel.: 28310 58250; fax: 28310 58255 • www.avli.gr • info@avli.gr Accommodations: 7 suites

Seven charming suites of exquisite beauty complement Avli’s gastronomy and wine facilities. Each suite pays homage to a unique architectural style inspired by a fifteenth-century ambience and provides luxury comforts that meet guests’ every need in the spirit of Cretan hospitality. Avli helps guests arrange tours of local organic farms and wineries. A good time to visit is in July, when Rethymno hosts its annual Renaissance festival.

The famed Elafonissi beach is only a 15-minute drive from the villas, while another local sight is the Chrisoskalitissa monastery where a festival is held on August 15.

Athina Luxury Villas Xamoudochori, Platanias, Hania, Crete tel.: 28210 20960 ; fax: 28210 20970 • www.athinavillas.gr • info@athinavillas.gr Accommodations: 3 villas

Athina Luxury Villas is a complex of luxury villas that have been built in an extraordinary natural environment of 6 acres in Xamoudochori, close to the tourist resort of Platanias in the picturesque city of Chania. The villas are surrounded by olive groves and vines yards. Each villa has its own private pool, vast gardens and large verandas where you can enjoy the breathtaking view. There is a playground and especially arranged gardens where you can enjoy special moments of relaxation with your friends and family.The villas are characterized by a sense of distinct luxury, supreme elegance and high construction quality offering accommodation of unparalleled standards. Kissos, Myrtia and Rodia are independent two-story villas that can accommodate from 2 up to 7 persons in their wonderful, fully air-conditioned rooms where wood and stone prevail. They have a spacious living room with fireplace, a fully equipped kitchen, Satellite TV, CD-and DVD player, internet access, dishwasher, washing machine as well as a safe. Each villa has a large master bathroom with Jacuzzi, where the visitors can relax, as well as a spare WC with shower on the ground floor. In there you will find bathrobes, slippers, luxury cosmetics and hairdryer.

Minoa Palace Resort & Spa Platanias, Hania, Crete tel.: 28210 36500; fax: 28210 36555 • www.minoapalace.gr • info@minoapalace.gr Accommodations: 254 rooms

Amygdalia Villas Livadia, Kissamos, Hania, Crete tel.: 28210 33097; fax: 28210 33097 • www.amygdaliavillas.gr • contact@amygdaliavillas.gr Accommodations: 1-, 2-, 4-bedroom villas

Amygdalia Villas are situated in Livadia village on the western part of Hania, about 95 kilometers from the airport. The villas are built on the slopes of hills with a panoramic view of the sea just 200 meters ahead. It is a complex of 7 villas for 2, 4, 8 persons. Each villa has its own private pool and entrance gate. A mini-market is located on the complex so that guests not only have the chance to make their supplies but also order home-made food which is delivered to their villa. A wide selection of wines is available. Greek buffets are organized twice a week with traditional food. Shiatsu massage is available on request. Rental car can be arranged. The beach is rocky & pebbly ideal for fishing & snorkeling. 42 May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY

Minoa Palace Resort & Spa is a luxury 5* sea-side hotel, built within 35,000 sq.m. of maintained gardens at the cosmopolitan area of Platanias, 12 klm west of the picturesque town of Hania and 24 klm from Hania International Airport. The hotel enjoys majestic views of the White Mountains and of the endless golden beach with the shimmering sapphire bleu Aegean beyond. It offers 254 stylish decorated rooms, bungalows, and


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suites of discreet luxury and complete comfort, including the unique, water front Imperial Suite of 300 sq.m. Its 5 restaurants and 4 bars satisfy even the most demanding gourmet tastes, whereas at the Spa & Wellness Center guests enjoy unique moments of relaxation and pampering. Combining pleasure with business, the hotel also offers unique in the whole western Crete conference facilities, with conference rooms of total capacity 1,700 delegates.

Angela Suites Boutique Hotel Sissi, Lasithi, Crete tel.: 28410 71121; fax: 28410 71176 • www.angelasuites.com • reservations@angelasuites.com Accommodations: 60 sooms

Angela Suites Boutique Hotel is ideal for a relaxing getaway. This new hotel is located in the village of Sissi, on the northern coast of Crete, between Iraklio and Ayios Nikolaos. Centrally located yet close to the beach, the hotel provides tasteful modern accommodation and great care taken to create a friendly, tranquil atmosphere in stylish surroundings. Guests can choose from a range of spacious room types each with its own unique style, relax on a sun-bed by the swimming pools with a cocktail from the Aqua Bar, and enjoy an invigorating outdoor Jacuzzi before indulging yourself in the Wellness Centre & Spa. The poolside restaurant offers an a la carte menu, while the Night Lounge Café offers refreshments and drinks.

Cavo Tagoo

CYCLADES Cavo Tagoo Mykonos tel.: 22890 20100; fax: 22890 20150 • www.cavotagoo.gr • reservations@cavotagoo.gr Accommodations: 80 rooms

Built amphitheatrically into the most impressive natural cliff facing both whitewashed Mykonos town and the best sunsets of the Cyclades, Cavo Tagoo and Spa offers an unmatched Greek and international five-star getaway experience. Guests can live their myth bathing their senses in the hotel awarded the Greek government’s “Applied Architecture” prize. The ‘barefoot chic’ chill-out attitude fuses heightened themes of golden luxury with excellence in dining, service, fitness, and spa. With its renovated sanctuaries and Golden Villas, both the list for activities and amenities is simple: everything to heighten pleasure in a setting ideal for both the romantic and business sides in everyone.

Santa Marina Resort & Villas Ornos Bay, Mykonos tel.: 22890 23220; fax: 22890 23412 • www.santa-marina.gr • info@santa-marina.gr Accommodations: 96 rooms, suites, villas

Luxurious accommodations, unparalleled service, spectacular May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY 43


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Ikies Traditional Houses Oia, Santorini tel.: 22860 71311; fax: 22860 71953 • www.ikies.com • info@ikies.com Accommodations: 11 guestrooms

Santa Marina Resort & Villas views, gourmet cuisine–the lifestyle. These are the hallmarks of Santa Marina Resort & Villas located in stunning Mykonos, Greece. Nestled on a secluded peninsula overlooking the beautiful Aegean Sea and a mere 3 klm from cosmopolitan Mykonos town, discover a resort featuring 96 sea view guestrooms and suites, including suites and villas with private pools located in the picturesque hillside. Our Marine Club, Colonial Pool and Beach Restaurants tantalize the taste buds in a stunning seaside environment and attentive services. Be pampered with the finest Spa services, relax on a 150m sandy private beach or refresh with a dip in one of two infinity pools overlooking the crystal blue sea. A distinguished member of The Luxury Collection, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Santa Marina welcomes you to a resort unmatched in Mykonos.

Mykonos Grand Hotel & Resort Ayios Yiannis, Mykonos tel.: 22890 25555; fax: 22890 25111 • www.mykonosgrand.gr • info@mykonosgrand.gr Accommodations: 107 rooms

The Mykonos Grand is a unique resort on the beautiful island of Mykonos, barely three miles from Mykonos Town, on one of the island’s most famous beaches Ayios Yiannis known for the glorious sunsets as seen on the movie Shirley Valentine that was filmed here. The resort’s Cycladic architecture of cube shaped whitewashed buildings linked by pathways and terraces is combined with classic interior ambience. The hotel offers 107 bedrooms and suites including Superior sea view rooms and luxurious Suites with private pools. The hotel’s gourmet Dolphins of Delos Restaurant offers a dramatic open-air dining experience with stunning views. In addition the Aqua e Sole Restaurant is a tranquil poolside location. The resort’s facilities include an outstanding spa, tennis and squash courts, an impressive stone-built amphitheatre for inspiring yoga sessions and the recently renovated fitness centre. Mykonos Grand is a member of “Small Luxury Hotels of the World”. 44 May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY

Ikies is a special type of hotel. With only a handful of rooms, service at ikies is intimate, personalized but also discrete. From the signature breakfast served on your personal terrace to the afternoon turndown service while you watch the sunset, our staff’s attention to your every need and desire will make you feel pampered and relaxed. According to your mood, we can recommend and arrange for you many activities such as a sailing trip on a catamaran, from the south of the island to the volcano, horseback riding on the beach, trekking from Oia to Fira along the ancient “caldera trail”, water sports and wine tasting at one of the many wineries around the island.

Enigma Apartments & Suites Fira, Santorini tel.: 22860 24024; fax: 22860 24023 •www.enigmahotel.com • info@enigmahotel.com Accommodations: 8 apartments

The Enigma Santorini Apartments & Suites are perched on the cliff side of western Santorini, in the heart of Fira, the capital of the island. Its wonderful location provides its guests with a spectacular view of the famous Santorini volcano and Caldera complex, the Aegean Sea, the island’s traditional old port and, best of all, the celebrated Santorini sunset. This view, along with the hotel’s excellent service and facilities, places it among the finest Fira Santorini hotels. The Enigma Santorini luxury hotel provides an amazing atmosphere for your holidays in Santorini. Enigma’s luxury hotel suites, apartments and studios are elegantly-designed and feature a plethora of modern amenities that fuse harmoniously with the charming island-style architecture, creating one of the most picturesque Fira Santorini hotels.

Melian Hotel & Spa Pollonia, Milos tel.: 22870 41150; fax: 22870 41152 • www.melian.gr • info@melian.gr Accommodations: 15 rooms, honeymoon & junior suites

Melian Hotel & Spa is a luxury hotel on Milos built in 2008 and situated in the picturesque fishing village of Pollonia. Occupying a secluded location, the Melian offers its clientele an


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Best Hotels 2009 exclusive experience, ultimate relaxation and luxury set against an idyllic Cycladian backdrop. Traditionally designed, this boutique style hotel offers outstanding standards and an intimate and personalized service. Featuring a range of suites, each individually designed with handcrafted furniture, luxurious en-suite bathroom and private terrace, many with their own Jacuzzi, the Melian is the perfect fusion of style and comfort and promises the very best Milos has to offer. Exquisite uninterrupted views of the sea and one of the most breathtaking sunsets on the island are enjoyed from each private terrace as well as the hotel’s outdoor Jacuzzi. Immerse yourself in blue Cycladian dreams.

Anemomilos Apartments Hora, Folegandros tel.: 22860 41309; fax: 22860 41407 • www.anemomilosapartments.com • info@ nemomilosapartments.com Accommodations: 16 studios and 1 suite

Anemomilos Apartments are located in Hora, the main village of Folegandros and is named after the settlement’s sole windmill that once stood on this spot. Perched atop a steep cliff, Anemomilos offers guests breathtaking views of the Aegean. Respecting the island’s original character, Anemomilos Apartments demonstrates a simple and yet warm authenticity in all of its features, from its architecture to the personal way by which visitors are treated. Guests can enjoy a rich breakfast with homemade cakes or an evening drink, either from their private balcony or at the bamboo-shaded terrace by the recently renovated pool with its a spectacular view.

Yria Ktima Luxury Villa Sarakiniko, Paros tel.: 22840 24154; fax: 22840 21167 • www.yriavilla.com• info@yriavilla.com Accommodations: villa

Yria Ktima and Luxury Villa bring the true meaning of luxury holidays to Paros, an island rich in history, beauty and gastronomy. This luxury villa in Paros was built for joyful gatherings. Secluded Yria Ktima and Luxury Villa is set apart on the hill, comprising a centennial mansion considered as an architectonical Paros treasure, the Greek Villa, the Luxury Cottage and two acres of fragrant gardens with their own wellspring. Picturesque Paroikia, charming Naoussa and Parasporos Beach are just to a short driving distance. The Luxury Villa has a clean Cycladic inspiration; wooden and

marble floors cover 420 square meters of indoors spaces gracefully decorated. The Greek Villa has four spacious suites with en-suite bathrooms, a comfortable living room, an open kitchen where guests may experiment with the tastiness of some of the villa’s own organic products, a dining salon for long epicurean meals, a harmonic lap pool and a second pool with jacuzzi. The open terraces offer the spectacle of colorful sunsets and the views of Paros with its eternal companion, Antiparos. The Luxury Cottage is independent, built with local stones and encloses one comfortable bedroom, living room, kitchenette, spacious bathroom and a shaded veranda with sea views.

DODECANESE Melenos Lindos Exclusive Studios Lindos, Rhodes tel.: 22440 32222; fax: 22440 31720 • www.melenoslindos.com • info@melenoslindos.com Accommodations: 12 suites

Melenos Lindos is set just below the fortified acropolis, site of the Temple to Athena, with a sweeping view of the sea and the distant coastline below. The hotel blends with the historic village of Lindos, with its 17th century mansions of Byzantine, Medieval, Arabic and Ottoman influences. Using this rich heritage, the designer Donald Green adapted these elements to orchestrate the highly detailed layout of the interior and exterior spaces. The twelve rooms of the hotel branch from a central stairway creating the appearance of a village within a village. Terraces, citrus gardens, trailing bougainvilleas, frangipani, lavender and jasmine enhance this sensuous setting where ancient history is integrated with 21st century comfort. This beautiful boutique hotel is a showcase for the owner’s collection of rare treasures from his travels in Greece, Turkey and the Middle East. Some architectural fragments have been built into the structure. Member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, this is a truly romantic hideaway with heavenly views over the South Aegean Sea. May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY 45


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Spirit of the Knights Boutique Hotel

Rodos Park Suites & Spa

Alexandridou 14 (Old town), Rhodes tel.: 22410 39765; fax: 22410 39773 • www.rhodesluxuryhotel.com • info@rhodesluxuryhotel.com Accommodations: 6 rooms

Riga Fereou 12, Rhodes tel.: 22410 89700; fax: 22410 24613 • www.rodospark.gr • info@rodospark.gr Accommodations: 59 rooms

Spirit of the Knights, an exclusive eco-friendly boutique hotel, is set in the medieval old town of Rhodes. Originally built by the Crusaders and later altered by the Ottomans it has a wonderful mix of architectural influences and has been classed as a monument of special importance. The hotel houses collected items and art works from many parts of the world including Greece, Morocco, Turkey, Persia, and the Far East. Carpets from Persia and Turkey and a wonderful mix of furniture, some hand carved, creates a stunning combination of historic building with modern amenities. Every room is architecturally different. The public areas are large and airy and include a lounge, library area, bar, inner courtyard garden and outer courtyard with water feature creating a wonderfully tranquil and spacious environment to relax in privacy.

Synonymous with providing the right blend of luxury, warm service and quiet efficiency, Rodos Park Suites & Spa boutique hotel welcomes guests in a place, where everything is designed to combine business and leisure.

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Best Hotels 2009 This elegant hotel, member of the small luxury hotels of the world and awarded as the best city hotel of Greece in 2006 was recently renovated. The hotel embodies the highest of traditional values, with spacious rooms and suites of great charm, glorious dining and entertaining, and a spa of exquisite indulgence. For over ten years the hotel has remained a pinnacle of luxury and comfort for people who recognize quality and demand excellence. Luxurious and stylish, yet cosy and inviting, all 59 renovated rooms and suites reflect a distinctive design with exclusive materials. Refined residential elegance is well appointed in each guest room, fully equipped with every comfort, decorated with fine aesthetics for the ultimate experience.

Nikos Takis Fashion Hotel Panetiou 26, Rhodes tel.: 22410 70773; fax: 22410 24643 • www.nikostakishotel.com • info@nikostakishotel.com Accommodations: 7 rooms

Right in the heart of Medieval Town of Rhodes, and just a few steps from the Great Magistro’s Palace and the Knight’s street, the brand new Nikos Takis Fashion Hotel was recently created by fashion designers Nikos and Takis. Every single corner in this hotel reflects a great oriental atmosphere with bright colors, and of course all the modern facilities that make it the perfect choice for a short or even longer stay. The hotel has three superior suites, one junior suite and three double rooms. The suites of course have all the necessary amenities: Jacuzzi, AC, Satellite T.V., CD player, Safe and a Mini Bar. The double rooms have all the suite characteristics apart from the Jacuzzi as they have showers instead. Aside from these services, guests can request internet connection, fax:, photocopy and courier service.

Petra Hotel Grikos, Patmos tel.: 22470 34020; fax: 22470 32567 • www.petrahotel-patmos.com • info@petrahotel-patmos.com Accommodations: 12 rooms

The island of Patmos is considered by many to be the secret gem of the Greek islands. Patmos, a charming and peaceful vacation spot in the Dodecanese Islands, features a variety of truly beautiful village settlements, scenic beaches, elegant

restaurants, and traditional tavernas. It is a place ideal for visitors who seek a relaxing holiday on an intimately authentic Greek island. Among the Patmos hotels, Petra Hotel has differentiated itself as a charming Patmos island vacation spot, enchanting guests who expect the highest levels of hospitality and service from a small Greek islands boutique hotel. With just 12 rooms and suites forming a miniature village in traditional island architecture, the Petra Hotel has thrived in an atmosphere of personal attention and ease unprecedented on Patmos. The people at the Petra Hotel welcome guests to be immersed in the refined hospitality that elegantly combines the intimacy of a private residence and the mystique and beauty of the spiritual Patmos island.

Archontariki of Patmos Hora, Patmos tel.: 22470 29368; fax: 22470 29368 • www.archontariki-patmos.gr • info@archontariki-patmos.gr Accommodations: 4 suites

Archontariki mansion dates from the 17th century and is classified in the ten top samples of traditional architecture in Greece. It has an introvert character like all the other houses of the settlement. Behind its beautiful door you can discover a treasure. A yard with continues arches drives in the house and also in contiguous yards and rooms and ends to a higher room, with a magical view to the monastery and to the sea. This magnificent mansion operates as a guest house and has 4 suites: ‘Joy’ and ‘Wisdom’, each 75 sqm. and ‘Love’ and ‘Hope’, each 45-sqm. junior suites. Another guest room called “Faith” is operated as double room. Guests can savor traditional breakfast with all the homemade delicacies of Patmos. Other facilities that are offered are room service, air condition & laundry.One of the houses with unique architecture, atrium, private yards, rooms with special charm and atmosphere, protected by Unesco, is the mansion Gazi. May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY 47


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Marnei Mare

NORTH AEGEAN Marnei Mare Karlovasi, Samos tel.: 22730 30830; fax: 22730 38005 • www.marneimare.gr • info@marneimare.gr Accommodations: 3 villas

Without compromising privacy, Marnei Mare creates a refuge of tranquillity and wellness. From dawn, when the sun rises from behind the mountains, to dusk, when the sun slowly sinks into the sea, this organic, eco conscious environment delights with its calming atmosphere, and rejuvenating energy.Occupying the secluded and tranquil peninsula, Marnei Mare’s cluster of three beautiful private villas and the discreetly withdrawn reception cottage are set 48 May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY

in a 40,000 sq.m. orchard. Each of the three villas are carefully designed and equipped as would be a luxury private family vacation home. The villas are light and sunny, and thoughtfully decorated with a blend of local and European objects and fabrics, and furnished with comfortable and modern sofas and beddings. The bedrooms are cool and spacious, offer distinctive views while maintaining privacy, and have Greek marble-finished en-suite bathrooms. Once through the gates, guests enter the carefree environment of Marnei Mare, where all logistical and practical burdens can be handled by staff, while turning the focus on acquiring ones personalised holiday pace. Samos has an International airport, making it easy for visitors from around the world to visit this evergreen island, known for its Muscat wine, its rich flora and fauna, crystal waters, rich history and vicinity to Patmos and Ephesus.


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Best Hotels 2009 Argentikon Luxury Suites Kambos, Chios tel.: 22710 33111; fax: 22710 31465 • www.argentikon.gr • info@argentikon.gr Accommodations: 8 deluxe suites

On the magnificent island of Chios, at a superb location, is the 32,000-sqm. Argentikon Estate built in the sixteenth century by the Argenti family, and recently designated a historic monument. Selected among the 100 best villas in the world, the Argentikon is a perfect example of medieval Genoese architecture in the Levant. Each suite is uniquely individual embracing the style and furniture of the period, with fireplace, chandelier, marble bathrooms and lovely appointments. Exquisite Old World craftsmanship and 21st-century amenities have been combined to create an estate unsurpassed in beauty and refinement and great care has been given to the ceiling decoration of each suite. Warm summers are enhanced by a light sea breeze, enabling the guests to dine outdoors in the romantic surroundings by candlelight, while soft music fills the air. High walls of stone surrounding the mansion, shady pathways leading to secluded corners, and lovely gardens provide privacy and beauty for those who wish to enjoy the tranquility. The Argentikon Luxury Suites is a member of the Great Small Hotels, member of the Exclusive Island Hotels & Resorts and is recommended by Conde Nast Johansens Hotels. It is a gracious estate for the distinguished and most demanding clientele.

IONIAN

modate around 30 persons. Built in a special spot and in such a way, so that they offer an unlimited view of the horizon, where the sky, the sea and the olive trees mingle together. The houses are built on a hill slope at the edge of the village “Katouna”, one of the most beautiful on the island of Lefkada. Each house has its own unique style, decorated with elegant antiques, gravures and everyday use items from the last century. Upon arrival you will find delicatessen or Lefkada’s local wine awaits guests. A perfect combination of yesterday’s glamour and simplicity with today’s comforts.

Pavezzo Country Retreat

Villa De Loulia

Katouna, Lefkada tel.: 26450 71782; fax: 26450 71800 • www.pavezzo.gr • info@pavezzo.gr Accommodations: 9 houses

Peroulades, Corfu tel.: 26630 95394; fax: 26630 95145 • www.villadeloulia.gr • info@villadeloulia.gr Accommodations: 9 rooms

The Pavezzo Country Retreat is a group of old renovated houses, built in the late 19th century. Back then, 10 families used to occupy them. Today, they have been converted into houses, maisonettes, apartments with pool and an independent villa with a private pool. In total, they can accom-

Situated in one of the most beautiful corners of the Greek island of Corfu, the Villa de Loulia is a small luxury hotel that offers all the facilities you would expect in a four or five star hotel in Greece. The Villa de Loulia welcomes its guests in the main villa, May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY 49


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Once a favoured retreat for golden-era jetsetters and royalty. Now, an island hideaway on the most exclusive peninsula of Corfu. The resort brings back to life the glorious summers of Queen Victoria and Empress Sissy with legendary service for an experience unparalleled in Greece. The most stunning resort of the Ionian islands, the Corfu Imperial reflects the peninsula’s gorgeous natural setting, with luxuriant, splendid gardens, bungalows snugly embraced by pine groves, and pastel-coloured villas in the colours of the flaming Ionian sunsets. The Elixir Beauty Spa & glass walled indoor pool and varied dining with 6 uniquely appointed restaurants & bars. Superb water sports & great sports facilities and personalised VIP services. This regal hotel has one of the most extensive selections of types of accommodation–from main building rooms, bungalows and suites to Royal Pavilions–all with sea views.

Perantzada 1811 Art Hotel Odissea Androutsou, Vathi, Ithaki tel.: 26740 33 496; fax: 26740 33493 • www.arthotel.gr • perantzada@arthotel.gr

a historic mansion located within beautiful gardens that has been carefully restored to its original splendor. The hotel is an ideal, quiet and comfortable place for those wishing to taste the simple delights of Greece in the island of Corfu. Always available, the owners are devoted to creating an environment that adds to guests’ well-being. Villa de Loulia fulfils all the expectations of an exclusive property enhanced by a personal touch.

Corfu Imperial, Grecotel Exclusive Resort Kommeno, Corfu tel.: 26610 88400; fax: 26610 91881 • www.grecotel.com • sales_ci@grecotel.gr Accommodations: 301 bungalows, suites, villas

Ithaca is an ideal holiday resort with lovely beaches spread around the island. The turquoise colour of the water and the shade of the trees that sometimes touch the sea water are a sight to enjoy. Perantzada 1811 Art Hotel is located at the picturesque port of Vathi on the island of Ithaca, off the western coast of Greece. The hotel is housed in a light-blue, neo-classical 50 May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY


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building designed by the 19th century German architect Ernst Schiller. The traditional design of the building is innovatory combined with modern elements, while a slight ethnic touch and selected works of art by prominent artists, create a unique atmosphere. The open-sided entrance terrace is made from village stone, down lights add to the atmosphere. Inside, there’s a stark white Marrakech-meets–Clockwork Orange lounge, and 19 charming rooms and suites with white walls and furniture, pleasantly patterned bedspreads, drapes, and lampshades; it’s all a few cuts above the narrow pine bed and whitewashed poured concrete that’s standard in the islands. There’s room service till midnight, which you might not need, seeing as you’re in the port with its alternative dining options. There are double rooms with sea view and balcony, Junior suites with sea and pool view, and one Executive suite. All rooms provide double bed and shower, air conditioning, satellite television, cd and DVD players, mini bar, safe box, hair dryer, direct dial phone, internet access, Korres’ bath products, bathrobes, slippers.

Porto Zante Villas & Spa

Porto Zante Villas & Spa Tragaki, Zakynthos tel.: 26950 65100; fax: 210 822 8834 • www.portozante.com • info@portozante.com Accommodations: 5 villas

Standing majestically on a private sandy beach of a secluded bay, on the island of Zakynthos, just west of Greece’s mainland and famous for its turquoise waters and Venetian villages, Porto Zante is a boutique villa-hotel where guests enjoy the ultimate privacy of a home away from home and an exceptional 24-hour, five-star hotel service. Dining at the Club House restaurant offers an exquisite experience of Greek and Mediterranean cuisine while the resort’s Spa and Thalassotherapy provide absolute rejuvenation. One of the top Greek resorts by Condé Nast Traveller and Europe’s Leading Villa by World Travel Awards for years now, Porto Zante has been the choice of famous clientele, including political leaders, important businessmen and artists. A truly unique resort, decorated and furnished with selected pieces of Armani Casa and paintings of prominent Greek artists, it comprises world class luxury villas, some with private heated pools, and a Spa. May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY 51


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Reforest

the Greek mountains & countryside Subscribe to ODYSSEY magazine & $7.00 of your payment will be donated to Plant Your Roots in Greece For every subscription to Odyssey you may choose to donate $7.00 from your payment to the Plant Your Roots program by checking the box. Plant Your Roots is dedicated to reforest Greek mountains and countryside. You will receive an acknowledgement certificate for your contribution.

Plant Your Roots Be part of this program and help preserve Greece’s natural beauty If you request for a tree to be planted in honor of or memory of anyone you designate please fill in your information at the bottom of Plant Your Roots advertisement. For even faster service please e-mail us at info@odyssey.gr.


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Plant your roots in Greece To Reverse the Loss of Greece’s Forests Someday our descendants will see the rich, lush mountains of Greece, and that will be our living leg gacy to them. Make the dream a reality… “Plant Your Roots in Greece”

The Plant Your Roots in Greece Foundation The program will be of a magnitude unmatched since the Greek Americans came to Greece’s assistance after the devastation of World War II and the ensuing civil war.

Be a Part of a Historic Event! Since ancient times – even more so now – the value of trees to Greece has been immeasurable and their loss has been heartbreaking. “Plant Your Roots in Greece” offers you a unique opportunity to become an integral part of this splendor now and forever. Today the enemy of Greece’s forests is not warfare but forest fires, which with subsequent erosion, create a vicious cycle of forest and soil loss. Where mountains were once lush, they are now barren, the rich soil washed away, the once plentiful flora and fauna gone. The Greek government has recognized the critical problems and is committing major resources to this reforestation effort.

The program centers around the ability of anyone, of Greece descent or not, or anyone who is concerned and wishes to restore, to plant a tree in Greece in their name or in the name of a loved one or friend. At a minimum donation of $20 for two trees, including an inscribed certificate, the program is affordable to all. It is expected that millions of trees can be planted through this program and there will be vast forests in the name of individuals, associations and corporations as a manifestation of their love for Greece. In addition to tree planting, an aggressive program of firefighting has been instituted and in 1999, for the first time in millennia, reforestation has exceeded destruction from fires. The first forest was planted in Sounion in 1999 with

YES, I will join the “Plant Your Roots Program” to reforest the Greek mountains and countryside.

K K K K K

$20 – 2 Trees (minimum donation) $50 – 5 Trees $100 – 10 Trees $1000 – A “Grove” of 100 Trees $5000 – A “Glen” of 500 Trees Enclosed is my check for $……………

for …………… trees. Make checks payable to: “Plant Your Roots in Greece Foundation Inc.” 2155 W. 80th Street, Chicago, IL, 60620, U.S.A. (773)994-2222 Deposits in Greece: ALPHA BANK Acct. No. 143-0021-1-1-037288

the help of the Federation of ENOSIS and was named the “Forest of Illinois”. Since then, three other plantings have taken place at Sounion. Trees have also been planted on the island of Samos, at Olympia, Kalavryta, Arcadia, Delphi, Maniaki, Thraki, Crete, Messinia and Patras.

Marching Funds by the European Community The Plant Your Roots in Greece program could reforest the hills and mountains of Greece fully by 2010. It is the single largest environmental program in the European Community and will be one of the most massive efforts in history involving the planting and cultivation of seedlings. The government of Greece has also arranged with the European Community for the EC to match on a one-to-one basis the dollars generated through the Plant Your Roots program. Thus, for every tree we plant, the EC will match funds for additional trees.

K Mr. K Mrs. K Ms. Name……………………………………….................... Address……………………………………................... ……………………………………………….................... Telephone…………………………………..................

Plant Your Roots in Greece Foundation is a non-profit tax exempt corporation incorporated in Washington, D.C. The trees will be planted in honor of or memory of anyone you designate. All gifts will be acknowledged with a beautifully inscribed certificate of classic green elegance of the Greek mountains. Please indicate in whose honor or memory the gift is being made and the name and address of the person who should receive the certificate. SEND CERTIFICATE TO: Name…………………………………………………………………………………........ Address……………………………………………………………………………........... To Honor/In Memory of (Circle one)………………………………………………..


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Starry nights More than sixty years after leaving his home province in northern Greece, NASA scientist Thanasis Economou plans to build a telescope near the village where he grew up. Alkman Granitsas profiles the nuclear scientist and his journey back to his native province of Grevena.

I

t was a little over a year and-a-half ago, on a visit back to his native province of Grevena, that Thanasis Economou first came up with the idea. Inspired by childhood memories of the starry night time skies, Economou, a 72-year-old not-quite-retired nuclear physicist who works for NASA, put forward the idea of building an observatory just down the road from the village where he grew up. As far as places to build a telescope go, the site could not be better. And if everything goes according to plan, construction of Southeast Europe’s newest observatory will begin sometime this year atop a remote mountain in northern Greece on the eastern flank of the Pindos range. “I grew up in that area as a kid, I left when I was eleven years old. So I have a vivid memory, of the nights and the amount of stars that

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were visible in the sky,” says Economou. “And that’s where the idea came from.” Dubbed the Observatory of the Pindos, the 4-5 million euro project is supposed to be completed by 2012, and will host a complex of telescopes–including a 1.3- or 1.4-meter optical telescope for scientists, a second forty-centimeter educational telescope for visiting school children, and a third specialty telescope for gazing at the sun. The Aristotle University of Thessaloniki will help run the observatory. The province of Grevena and the European Union will fund the project. But it’s not the technical details of the project that matter so much as the story of how it came to be. It is an intimate story of both the personal journey of Economou, and of the province he left behind as a young boy.


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It begins in 1948, at the height of the Greek Civil War. Economou was growing up in the village of Ziakas in a large family of six brothers and sisters. All around him, the Civil War was being waged and Grevena, to this day one of the poorest provinces in Greece, was a stronghold of the Communist partisans. In the midst of the Civil War, the Communists began a controversial policy of removing children from strife-torn Greece and taking them to live behind the Iron Curtain. The so-called paidomazoma, is still one of the most-disputed events in Greek history–depending on which side you believe, the children were either forcibly taken from their parents, or else left willingly. In Economou’s case, it was the latter. So one day in April 1948, leaving behind his parents and all of his siblings, Economou crossed the border into neighboring Albania, before being resettled in

Czechoslovakia a month later. After the war ended with the Communist defeat in 1949, his parents, two younger sisters and an older brother joined him. “I left without my parents at first and they joined me later,” says Economou. “The purpose of the policy was to protect the kids from the war. Because in our area, there was fighting every day between the partisans and the army. So in many ways it was a good solution for us children.” It was in Czechoslovakia that Economou belatedly started his schooling, at the ripe age of eleven years old. He excelled at mathematics and in due course was accepted for university studies in nuclear physics. In 1961 he graduated from Charles University in Prague with an M.S. in Nuclear Physics, before completing a postgraduate degree at the Prague Institute for Plasma Physics in 1964. Even by the itinerant standards of the Greeks, Economou has traveled further than most–if not in person, then at least by proxy. That’s because soon after finishing his studies in Czechoslovakia, Economou and the entire family migrated to America, where he landed a coveted job at the University of Chicago building space instruments for NASA–a connection he still maintains today. His specialty, based on his background in nuclear physics, is super-sensitive spectrometers, the instruments used on space missions to analyze everything from lunar soil to space dust. Over the last four decades, Economou’s instruments have traveled the solar system, from the moon to Mars, from passing comets to the rings of Saturn. “After finishing my graduate studies in Prague, I came to the U.S. looking for a job. At that time NASA had appointed a group to build instruments for the lunar missions and I was lucky to be accepted into the group,” he says. “We were sending missions to learn about the surface of the moon and its physical properties ahead of the moon landing in 1969. Because at that time we did not know much about the moon, for all we knew it was made of green cheese.” Today, he’s still involved in what is arguably NASA’s second biggest success–the two hardy Martian rover missions that landed on the Red Planet in early 2004. Against all odds the two tiny robots, Spirit and Opportunity, are still roaming the surface of Mars five years on, in their solitary search for water and, ultimately, clues of life. Meanwhile, back in Grevena, those accomplishments did not go unnoticed. About a year and-a-half ago, the provincial government, at the direction of its new governor, decided to honor Economou as a native son of the province. It was during the visit back to the province, when Economou went to receive his award, that the idea of building an observatory first came up.

Back to Grevena One thing to know about Grevena is that it is shrinking–not in size, but in population. The province (or, technically, prefecture) has a population of just about 35,000 people, making it the least densely May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY 55


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populated region in Greece. And, according to data from 2006, the number of deaths in the province exceeded the number of births by almost two to one. Another thing to know about Grevena is that it is poor, one of the half-dozen poorest provinces in Greece where almost half the population lives below the poverty line and per capita income is less than 10,000 euros per year. Most of the province is mountainous; there is little industry to speak of; it has no natural resources. Save one. Grevena has one of the most strikingly beautiful and pristine environments in all of Greece. And in the last three years, the local government has been trying to turn that natural beauty into a competitive advantage. Tourism, mainly from fellow Greeks in winter, has increased: the province boasts a popular ski resort, many traditional stone bridges, as well as one of the country’s finest national parks. The near completion of the long-delayed Via Egnatia highway–which cuts directly through the province and connects it with Thessaloniki, an hour anda-half away–has also helped bring more visitors. But it’s the future that the province is looking towards to really set it apart. Work has already begun on a new paleontological museum which will display the largest mastodon tusks ever found, unearthed nearby in 2007. There is a plan to better develop and exploit the water resources of the province–a potential boon in a dry, Mediterranean country like Greece. There is also talk about a new environmental studies center and a planetarium. And, of course, there is the Observatory of the Pindos. “Grevena is one of the poorest and most remote provinces in Greece,” says Petros Soulis, general secretary for the province. “We don’t have many opportunities for development. We don’t have any natural resources except for our beautiful environment and our scientists.”

Dark Skies There are two things a telescope needs to function properly: a clear sky and a dark sky. That’s one reason why most of the world’s telescopes are built on mountain tops. A mountain offers two advantages: one, the higher the mountain the thinner the atmosphere; two, 56 May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY

since most mountains are located far away from urban centers, there is less light pollution from nearby cities and towns. But the very things that make mountains good places to locate telescopes also make them difficult places to work. By definition, the taller and more remote the mountain, the colder, harsher, and more inaccessible it is. Crete’s Skinakas Observatory, for example, is forced to close during winter, while no one has ever tried to build an observatory on Mount Olympus–Greece’s tallest mountain, but which is known for its stormy and changeable weather. What’s striking about the location in Grevena, on Mount Orliakas, is how ideal the site is proving to be. The observatory will be built at an altitude of 1,450 meters making it the third highest of Greece’s six existing observatories. But the biggest advantages are that the site is located just 400 meters from the nearest road, a road that connects the villages of Ziakas and Perivoli and that is open all year round. And, even more important, is that the Grevena nights– remote and sparsely populated as the province is–are among the darkest, not just in Greece, but in all of Europe. Indeed, if you take a look at a satellite image of the earth at night, Europe is awash with light. In the northwest corner of the continent, the urban areas around southern and central England, the Netherlands, and Belgium have all fused into bright glowing blobs. But further to the southeast, the lights dim. And in the bottom right hand corner, you can clearly make out the dark spine of the Pindos mountain range as it rises in the center of Greece and joins to the north with the long dark line of the Dinaric Alps of Albania, Bosnia, and Croatia. That dark line is one of the last places in Europe without light–or, more exactly, without light pollution. “The site we have picked for the Orliakas observatory is in a very, very good location,” says John Seiradakis, a professor of astronomy at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. “The area is so good, in fact, that I believe that, in few years and if everything goes according to plan, scientists from all over Europe will come to the observatory.” Proof positive that the skies of Grevena are one of the best places to see the stars at night. Just like Thanasis Economou reO members.


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Secrets of the sea The more modern technology advances, the more we are able to learn about the past thanks to DNA analysis and other techniques. Vicki James Yiannias spoke with Brendan Foley, a pioneer in the field of forensic archaeology, about the secrets being gleaned from the cargo of ancient shipwrecks raised from the sea.

Fish serenely swim around Dr. Theotokis Theodhoulou as he explores a reef in the Chios Strait. Image: Brendan Foley.

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eaborne trade fueled human development as early as the Bronze Age, 3000-1000 B.C., and shipwrecks were a constant occurrence. Those sunken ships and all their cargo are silent witnesses, now ready to share the secrets of how civilized societies suddenly emerged 4,000 years ago. A combination of the latest forensic science and most advanced undersea robotics are coaxing these witnesses into testimony. Prehistoric artifacts that have lain in wait for millennia can now be recovered from the deep blue sea. In the not-so-far future, DNA analysis of their contents will reveal the very beginnings of civilization. Swab the inside of a ceramic artifact, such as an amphora, and DNA can reveal what ancient people were eating and what they were trading. Compared to a CSI-like “forensic archaeology”, this futuristic application of DNA analysis was conceived by Dr Brendan Foley, Research Associate at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and his Greek colleagues Dr. Dimitris Kourkoumelis and Dr. Theotokis Theodhoulou, with molecular biologist Dr. Maria Hansson of Lund University, Sweden. DNA analysis is one of several new scientific techniques this group is applying to archaeological questions. There will be no shortage of material to study. “I think there are countless–certainly thousands–of wrecks in Greek waters and throughout the Mediterranean and vast areas underwater around the Mediterranean where archaeologists have never looked, Foley reports. “Now we have the technology to get to these places.” At present the Hellenic Ministry of Culture has lists in excess of 250 wrecks that are known but not yet investigated by archaeologists. Just as vital to the advance of underwater archaeology as new methods and technologies are the relationships the Hellenic Ministry of Culture’s Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities has nurtured with Foley and his interdisciplinary team of scientists, and other scholars around the Mediterranean. Dr. Foley has been working with colleagues in the Hellenic Ministry of Culture since 2001, particularly with the archaeologists of the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities. The Ephorate archaeologists are responsible for management and investigation of Greece’s underwater antiquities: shipwrecks and other submerged cultural heritage sites. The Directors of the Ephorate in those years have been Katerina Dellaporta and Calliopi PrekaAlexandri; the partnership has blossomed under their leadership. Foley explains that together with the Ephorate archaeologists he and his team plan research programs that the Greek government is interested in pursuing. These include applying advanced technologies to underwater archaeology, developing new methods, and taking technical systems from other scientific fields and applying them to the humanities. The scientist speaks of the beauty of his long-term relationship with the Ephorate. “We have established a solid foundation of mutual trust, and a great deal of respect for each other’s talents and knowledge. This lends continuity to our research from year to year, and also allows us to react very rapidly to sudden opportunities.” Adds Foley: “This relationship is absolutely key to discovering shipwrecks that will be fundamentally important not just to Greeks or Greek Americans, but to the entire world.” While Foley keeps in mind that “Many things are possible, given enough patience. Siga, siga!” He is so excited about what he does for a living that he wakes up at night thinking about it. “My passion is the Bronze Age. The technical systems and methods we’ve been develop-

ing for rapid assessment of archaeological sites and the relationships we’ve created with the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and other scholars around the Mediterranean...it’s all really geared toward my ultimate research goal. That is, to understand the critical moment in prehistory when humans invented civilization.” That happened about 4,000 years ago, says Foley. “The way I tell the story is that the human species evolved some 200,000 years ago, and for ninety-eight percent of our time on this planet we’ve been living in very simple clan groups and very simple societies. But then about 4,000 years ago, beginning in the Mediterranean and in Mesopotamia, there was a fundamental shift in the human experience on this planet. In the blink of an eye, in terms of evolutionary or geological time, we went from living in simple societies to living in the modern world.” By “modern world” Foley means “urban living” with monumental architecture, rule of law, long-distance trade and exchange, and a host of enabling technologies. Not least of these inventions is written language, originally an accounting technology. “I think our ancestors developed writing as a necessary partner to the enabling technologies of seaborne trade.

Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities archaeologist Dr. Theotokis Theodhoulou hands off the digital camera and provides final wreck survey instructions to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution archaeologist Dr. Brendan Foley. Image: Dimitris Kourkoumelis.

Trade is an essential characteristic of civilization, and accounting for it was impossible without written language. From that accounting tool, the ancients began to apply written language to other tasks. They launched the beginning of history. Everything I’ve been doing for the last ten years is directed toward accessing the deep sea floor and locating shipwrecks dating back to that protohistorical moment, when the modern world was invented.” Foley’s vision for the future is to build more long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with colleagues around the Mediterranean, modeled on the successful partnership in Greece. With the new technology and methods international teams can investigate huge swaths of unexplored sea floor. They will find “not one or two Bronze Age shipwrecks, but dozens, even hundreds, of them. And then, and only then, we’ll begin to understand how our ancestors invented civilization.” May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY 59


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Hellenic Ministry of Culture Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities archaeologists Dr. Dimitris Kourkoumelis and Dr. Theotokis Theodhoulou with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution archaeologist Dr. Brendan Foley. In the background is the Chios Strait, operations area for the 2008 field season.

The oldest seagoing shipwrecks yet discovered lie off the southern coast of Turkey at Ulu Burun and Cape Gelidonya. Both are from about 1300-1200 B.C., the very end of the Bronze Age, almost contemporary with the Trojan War. “Those vessels are not that big–maybe 60 feet, that is 20 meters long or thereabouts. Iconography from that period shows double-ended ships; think of the frescoes from Akrotiri,” says Foley, who wishes that tomorrow the team would stumble across a 3,000 B.C. vessel in Greek waters. Finding one vessel wouldn’t be enough, however. “To do proper science we need to have baseline archaeological data, then we can very quickly build a statistically significant database of wrecks from any and all periods.” DNA analysis and new robotic technologies that rapidly process and document wrecks regardless of water depth allow this interdisciplinary team of scientists to solve the problems of finding underwater sites, accessing them, and investigating them in a cost-effective and time-effective way. Foley reports that robotic vehicles make it possible to investigate a shipwreck site in a few hours and extract that baseline archaeological information. “After a robotic survey we can sit back and say, ‘We’ve got a photo mosaic that shows us in two dimensions everything on the surface of the wreck. We have sonar maps (basically terrain maps) to give us the three dimensionality of the site. We have this ancient DNA technique to tell what was actually carried in the vessels, what the cargo was composed of, what the people were eating, and what was being traded.’ With all that information we can arrive at a very educated and well-informed decision about where to direct the major resources for a full-scale excavation.” Although Foley is a diver and worked mostly by scuba diving before 1997, almost all his work since that time has been too deep, “beyond scuba diving”. This means using a variety of deep submergence technologies and robots (both Greek and American) for investigations. These come in four different “flavors”: human-occupied vehicles, remotely operated vehicles that are connected to the surface ship with a cable, completely freeswimming robots known as autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), 60 May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY

and a hybrid ROV-AUV recently built at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. But sudden opportunities can shift focus back to scuba diving, as in spring 2008, when the Hellenic Ministry of Culture suggested a survey of several shallow-water wrecks in the Chios Strait. There was not time enough for the team to obtain funding and to schedule robotic vehicles, but diving operations were possible. “Ephorate archaeologists Drs. Kourkoumelis and Theodhoulou suggested we go to Chios to see how rapidly and efficiently we could investigate these shipwrecks. In ten days of diving we investigated ten shipwrecks and an ancient anchorage,” says Foley. “It was quite a productive summer.” The team examined wrecks from Archaic and Classical Greece, the Hellenistic period, and the Byzantine era. In fact, they unveiled the greatest concentration of ancient shipwrecks ever documented by archaeologists. The archaeologists collected an artifact from each of the ten shipwrecks and are now performing DNA analysis to determine the original contents of the jars. That 2008 expedition made it clear that the next step in scuba diving archaeology should be to integrate various scientific sensors into diver-operable packages allowing archaeologists to generate the types of data sets that physical scientists routinely collect, but without the expense of a ship and robotic vehicles. Diving into the watery blue underworld at Prasonissi in the Chios Strait, the archeologists saw on the sea floor beneath them a field of amphorae, almost undisturbed since approximately A.D. 400-600 (the late Roman/early Byzantine period). An even more significant archaeological site was a fifth-century-B.C. (the middle of the Classical period) wreck surveyed off the island of Oinousses, just to the east of Chios, a vessel that was carrying a cargo of amphorae from Chios. Foley conveys a dramatic context for the wreck’s probable sinking date by observing that “possibly Plato or Socrates was alive when the ship went down.” But the most exciting find was a much older shipwreck from the Archaic period (seventh century B.C.), with a cargo of amphorae. The dis-


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covery was made on the last dive of the last day of operations, as the diving team was coming up-slope from a deep water to decompress. That was “Just fantastic!” One application of “forensic archaeology” was the analysis of the first artifact collected in the 2008 expedition, an oil lamp from one of the later Roman-early Byzantine wrecks about which Dr. Theotokis Theodhoulou asked: “What were the ancient sailors using for fuel for illumination? The conventional wisdom was that they were using olive oil in their lamps but we are skeptical: olive oil is so liquid, and think of olive oil in an open lamp on a wooden ship sealed with pitch, on a rough sea….” Foley adds, “I’ve researched nineteenth-century shipping records from the U.S. Department of Commerce. The second leading killer of ships then was fire at sea. Project that back into the ancient world where oil lamps provided illumination and there are all kinds of combustibles being moved around. I would be willing to bet that fire was, if not the number one, then certainly the number two, killer of ships... after running into things or being overwhelmed by the environment.” Olive oil in lamps therefore seemed, literally, like a recipe for disaster, so the team considered the possibility that tallow or some sort of animal fat was being used. They looked for DNA from olive and from mammals: cows, pigs, and goats. The results came back negative, leaving the question of what fuels were burned in the lamps unsolved for the present. Foley is convinced that there are more antiquities on the sea floor than in all the museums of the world put together, which leads to the question of whether divers other than underwater archaeologists chance upon wrecks. It happens all the time, Foley reports, but the phenomenon is a double-edged sword. “Fishermen often find shipwrecks, but some commercial fishing techniques are completely destructive from the archaeological standpoint. Deep-water factory trawl fishing, for instance, vacuums the sea floor, destroying ancient shipwrecks. Off of Sicily a few years back a fisherman trawled up a piece of a bronze statue from the Roman period in his fisherman’s net. Then a year later another piece of it came up in the same fisherman’s net. The breaks were new, so I think it’s pretty clear that it was the trawling that was destroying the statue.” As for the near future, the Ministry of Culture’s work continues, and Foley hopes to be in the field with his colleagues again soon. “We had planned a great survey for this spring, but the economic crisis is forcing a delay. We’re looking to our private sponsors to help fund the project, in place of government sponsors, so are in a hold-our-breath-and-seewhat-happens mode. But we always take the long view: our research partnership is secure, and we’re studying wrecks that are thousands of years old. It doesn’t matter if we wait one more year to unlock their secrets… they are not going anywhere (we hope).” Meanwhile, Foley and his team are analyzing DNA from the 2008 field season artifacts, as well as several Classical amphorae from the Ministry of Culture collection. To Foley, an investment in science and archaeology training in the next generation is all-important. “If ten years from now the Ephorate archaeologists and I are the only ones working with robotic vehicles and deep-water archaeology I’ll feel that I have failed. We need more users of these technologies, asking all sorts of scientific questions. For that to happen, it is critical that our governments fund new science and technology. America must make an investment in our next generation, particularly for students’ exchanges between the USA and all of our partner countries. If that happens then I really believe that over the next twenty-five years and beyond we’ll be making discoveries underwater that will rival O the wonders of Tut’s tomb.” May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY 61


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Small steps forward

In April 2008, the Ledra Street checkpoint was opened, allowing Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots to cross freely after three decades. But a year later, after the initial euphoria, the number of those using the crossing has declined. Kerin Hope reports. he wall that split Ledra Street in the center of Nicosia’s old town disappeared during the night of April 2, 2008. On the Greek Cypriot side, soldiers abandoned a blue-andwhite guard-post. Piles of sandbags were taken away, along with publicity material about “Europe’s last divided city”. A metal bridge on the Turkish Cypriot side also vanished. Erected by the Turkish military, its presence had delayed the re-opening of Lokmaci Street as a pedestrian boulevard for more than a year. Under the supervision of United Nations peace-keepers, bullet-scarred facades in a short stretch of no-man’s-land were masked using colored drapes. The street’s surface, untrodden by shoppers for more than thirty years, was renewed.

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While the celebrations lasted, Ledra/Lokmaci street pulsated with cheerful crowds. Mehmet Ali Talat, the Turkish Cypriot leader, sat down for an ice cream during a walkabout on the Greek side. White-haired Greek Cypriots, who used to take their grandchildren up to the top floor of Shacolas’s department store in the old town in order to point out their lost homes in the north, strolled across to buy hazelnuts and almonds in the cavernous covered bazaar. But the euphoria quickly waned. Within a few weeks most people showing passports or IDs at the Ledra Street checkpoint were foreign tourists. One year on, hopes that the re-unification of Ledra/Lokmaci would swiftly transform commercial activity in the old town, and also help consolidate a fragile

reconciliation between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, appear to have been over-optimistic. According to Greek Cypriot statistics, the number of Greek Cypriots using the Ledra/Lokmaci crossing declined from 47,000 in April 2008 to 20,000 in February 2009. In the same eleven-month period, the number of Turkish Cypriots making the crossing fell from 29,000 to 16,000. “Opening a new crossing right in the middle of the old town was a very positive symbol, but the results haven’t really lived up to expectations,” says Yiannis Papadakis, associate professor of social anthropology at the University of Cyprus. One reason is that few Cypriots live in the old walled city. Most of its residents are


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A United Nations officer directs pedestrians at the Ledra Street checkpoint after its opening in April 2008.

immigrants–Turkish settlers on the north side, and in the south, a mosaic of nationalities from Asia and the countries of the former Soviet Union–living in crowded conditions in older buildings left unrefurbished after the city’s forcible division in 1974. Yet there are positive signs, Papadakis says. “Young people from both communities have started to meet up in the old town on Friday and Saturday nights. They’re a bit alternative, there’s nothing organized, but it’s happened since Ledra was re-opened.” Events followed a similar pattern in 2003 after the Turkish Cypriot authorities ended a longstanding policy of self-isolation by allowing some freedom of movement across the Green Line, the 1974 cease-fire line that forms an unofficial border between north and south. A rush by Greek Cypriots to visit former homes in the north and meet old neighbors was quickly followed by disillusion at how much had changed. In the absence of a government-backed effort to engage civil society in a broad-based reconciliation program, regular traffic has dwindled to trips by gambling enthusiasts to casinos (which are banned in the Turkish-occupied south) and a small

number of academics, artists and intellectuals who promote cross-border activities. On the other hand, trade is growing, although from a very low base. The value of goods crossing the Green Line tripled last year to 8.5 million euros, according to the Turkish Cypriot chamber of commerce Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriots lined up in south Nicosia to apply for Republic of Cyprus passports giving them the benefits of European Union citizenship, most importantly the right to travel and work throughout the 27-nation bloc. Several thousand Turkish Cypriots took higher-paid jobs in the south, mostly in the booming construction sector, which provided full social security and medical benefits. A report published in April by the Cyprus outpost of Norway’s International Peace Research Institute (PRIO), based on interviews with Greek and Turkish Cypriot users of the crossing and fifty local shopkeepers from each community, confirms that re-opening of Ledra/Lokmaci street has so far brought positive but modest results. It says the opening “appears to have resulted in a slight increase in contact with the other side for Greek Cypriots and a marginally more substantial increase for Turkish Cypriots.” Local retailers said that more Cypriot customers from both sides of the island, as well as foreign tourists, now go shopping in Ledra/Lokmaci. Higher spending by Greek Cypriots–who have much larger disposable incomes on average than Turkish Cypriots– has driven a rise in turnover for shopkeepers on both sides of the Green Line. Stores owned by Greek Cypriots have benefited more from tourist-related business than Turkish Cypriot ones. But Turkish Cypriot traders are more optimistic about the future than their Greek counterparts. As the PRIO report points out, the re-opening is helping “dispel the myth that the re-unification of the island would have severely negative consequences for the economy of either community.” Shopping patterns are similar in both communities. Greek Cypriots mainly buy clothes when they cross to the north, while Turkish Cypriots buy both food and clothes in the south. Restaurants and opticians in the south saw the biggest increase in business after the re-opening but clothing, electronics, and souvenir stores also did well. Similarly, restaurants in the north had the

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largest rise in turnover followed by souvenir and clothing stores. “Whether it was coffee or clothes, customers suddenly had more choice. So you find Turkish Cypriots buying brand-name clothes in the south, and Greek Cypriots getting basics, socks, for example and cheap jeans imported from Turkey, in the north,” says Stelios Orphanides, a co-author of the report. Although tourists were not interviewed for the PRIO report, it is clear that higher turnover for Greek and Turkish Cypriot retailers and restaurant owners along Ledra/Lokmaci also reflects spending by increased numbers of foreign visitors using the crossing. As crossings by Cypriots declined, tourists made up the shortfall. In the AprilFebruary period the number of foreign tourists who crossed over rose from 21,000 to 34,000, suggesting the re-opening had contributed to making the old town significantly more attractive to visitors. The Green Line splits the walled city, with its eleven Venetian bastions shaped like the ace of spades, into two almost equal halves. There is plenty for tourists to explore. Each side of the city boasts a series of historic buildings, from Byzantine churches and a colonial Gothic cathedral transformed into a working mosque to an Ottoman inn and a hamam, restored and back in use. The United Nations has funded co-coordinated restoration programs for monuments on both sides of the city, as well as helping to renovate crumbling sections of the sixteenthcentury walls. Elsewhere, backstreet cafes, bars, and workshops occupy the ground floors of grand but crumbling stone mansions. In the dry moat that surrounds the walls, activities include playing tennis in the south and vegetable-growing in the north. Yet commercial co-operation has to deepen if Ledra/Lokmaci is to fulfill its potential and become one of Nicosia’s not-tobe-missed shopping streets. Greek and Turkish Cypriot entrepreneurs, meeting at a roundtable session last November, suggested a raft of measures. They included setting up a shopkeepers’ platform to promote bi-communal contacts; organizing a joint fair in the center of buffer zone; restoring damaged and neglected buildings in the buffer zone; promoting acceptance of the Turkish lira by Greek shopkeepers (Turkish Cypriot shopkeepers readily accept both the euro and the British pound); and creating a

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a year, revenues have stagnated and the contribution of tourism to the economy has fallen from twenty per cent to around twelve per cent over the past ten years. Hoteliers are being sold to developers and converted into apartments for second-home buyers from northern Europe. “In a unified Cyprus, there will be higher foreign demand but costs and prices will converge. The additional tourist inflow will be allocated between north and south, according to available capacity, with most gains accruing to the south, the larger market,” the survey says. If Cyprus is re-unified, Greek Cypriot respondents expect an increase in arrivals from all major markets, especially the UK, Germany, and Russia. Expectations for attracting Turkish visitors to the south are high, with a majority of Greek Cypriot re-

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Nicosia town map with advertisements from businesses on both sides. So far none of the proposals has been taken further, in spite of the Ledra/Lokmaci traders’ recognition that the opening has resulted in a win-win situation. One reason, Orphanides says, is that “it’s never really been spelled out to people that having economic and business contacts with Turkish Cypriots is one of the best ways of building trust, and that society as a whole benefits from inter-communal business.” In the tourism sector, however, views on strategy have already converged. A survey by the Nicosia-based Management Center of the Mediterranean indicates that hoteliers and travel agents on both sides would back a joint strategy to promote high-earning special interest tourism rather than compete to offer low-priced “sun-and-sea” holidays.

Turkish Cypriots return after a stroll and shopping in the Republic of Cyprus.

Based on responses and interviews with tourism businesses on both sides of the island, the survey was published four months before the Ledra/Lokmaci opening. Enthusiasm for co-operation ran high, with more than fifty per cent of Turkish Cypriot operators confident that joint tourist industry would result in a twenty to thirty per cent increase in revenues within two years. More than fifty percent of Greek Cypriot operators predicted a ten per cent increase in three years. The survey highlights a shift in attitude by Greek Cypriot hoteliers and tourist operators. More than eighty per cent of the island’s hotel beds are in the south. But visitor numbers have stalled at around 2.5 million 64 May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY

spondents looking forward to doing business with Turkish operators. Turkish Cypriot operators, for whom Turkey is already the biggest market, expect a sharp rise in UK and German visitors. According to another recent study of the economic benefits of a settlement, increased tourism from Turkey would raise yearly revenues by almost 400 million euros. At the same time, Cyprus’s overall income from tourism would increase by around 700 million euros annually as the island re-branded itself for the global market and opened additional air and sea gateways. Both Greek and Turkish operators are pessimistic about the future, if the current round of re-unification fails to bring a solu-

Divided Cyprus: Timeline 1960 – Cyprus wins independence from Britain. 1963 – United Nations peacekeepers arrive in Cyprus after fighting between Greek and Turkish Cypriots. The two communities start to live separately. 1974 – Turkish troops invade Cyprus in the wake of an Athens-inspired coup aimed at uniting the island with Greece, and occupy 37 per cent of its territory. More than 30,000 Turkish troops are stationed in the north. UN peacekeepers monitor the Green Line marking the ceasefire line across the island and a surrounding buffer zone. 1978 – Greek and Turkish Cypriots agree on a UNsupported proposal to re-unify the island as a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation. 1983 – The Turkish Cypriot community in the north unilaterally declares independence, The Turkish Cypriot republic of North Cyprus is recognized only by Turkey. 2003 – Cyprus signs a European Union accession treaty, along with Malta and eight central European states. 2004 – Greek Cypriots reject the latest UN re-unification proposal, known as the “Annan Plan” by a two-thirds majority in a referendum. The plan is overwhelmingly backed by Turkish Cypriots in a separate vote. As a result, only the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus–the Greek Cypriot-conOCT trolled south–joins the EU. 2008 – President Demetris Christofias and Mehmet Ali Talat, the Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders, start fresh UN-backed reunification talks, with the aim of reaching a an agreement that would be approved by the two communities in separate referendums within 2010.

tion. A still-divided island would have fewer opportunities to re-vitalize its tourist product and move up-market, making it harder to fend off competition from new Mediterranean destinations like Croatia and Montenegro as well as Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast. At the moment only about ten per cent of Greek and Turkish Cypriot tourism businesses co-operate in facilitating visits to both sides of the island. Aeolos, a leading Greek Cypriot company handling incoming tourism, heads the pack. Its “Nicosia mixand-match” sightseeing tour, which takes visitors around both sides of the old city on foot, using the Ledra/Lokmaci crossing, is “a very successful product that’s much in deO mand,” says Orphanides.


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G orilla Greeks claim to have invented technology, and two thousand years later a generation of Greek immigrants and first generation Greek Americans have left an indelible mark on both Silicon Valley and Silicon Alley. One successful Greek American entrepreneur in particular has taken technology and entertainment to new heights. Through his company, GorillaSpot, an interactive online video advertising platform, rising star Athan Stephanopoulos has changed the dialogue between corporate entertainment and the online consumer into an interplay of our creative urges. Savas Abadsidis unveils the wizard behind the curtain.

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Technology 1615, “discourse or treatise on an art or the arts,” from Gk. tekhnologia “systematic treatment of an art, craft, or technique,” originally referring to grammar, from tekhno- (see techno-) + -logia. The meaning “science of the mechanical and industrial arts” is first recorded 1859. High technology attested from 1964; short form high-tech is from 1972. Tech as a short form of Technical College (Institute, etc.) is Amer.Eng., attested from 1906. From the Oxford English Dictionary Like I said, it all started with the Greeks. Athan Stephanopoulos founded his company, GorillaSpot, on a relatively simple concept: to develop a web based video technology that allows marketers the opportunity to engage their consumers through the use of video online. “We created a video ‘mixer’ platform that allows advertisers to capitalize on the power of the social web by allowing their audiences to interact with their video content in a meaningful way, while at the same time providing a simple tool to consumers that invites them to become creative story tellers through video,” says Stephanopoulos. “In essence, we created an online guerilla marketing application that invites consumers into the creation and distribution of the marketing message, thus the play on words and the name GorillaSpot.” He’s definitely onto something. Based in New York City, with a satellite office in Los Angeles, the company has been incredibly successful and grown very fast in just two years. GorillaSpot currently licenses its proprietary interactive technology to film studios, television networks, sports leagues, music labels and video game publishers. Some notable campaigns that have utilized the company’s “video mixer” technology have been Paramount Pictures film Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, CBS Sports college basketball tournament March Madness, MTV’s hit reality show The Real World: Brooklyn, and FX Network’s break out hit It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The results of these campaigns have been staggering. One studio campaign alone witnessed thousands of user-generated trailers created on a weekly basis, with more than one million total views, of the videos which had been distributed to various social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. Stephanopoulos comes from a storied family–both religiously and politically. He is the son, grandson, and nephew of prominent Greek Orthodox priests, and he is the first cousin to George Stephanopoulos, who served in the first Clinton White House and now serves as the host of This Week on ABC News. Born the youngest of six children to Effy and the late Fr. Elias, Stephanopoulos grew up in Portland, Oregon, where his father served the Greek community of Holy Trinity for close to twenty years before succumbing to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1994. Although Portland was thousands of miles away from the family’s native Greece, Stephanopoulos grew up with a keen awareness of his culture and religion. His father’s family hailed from Neohori, a small village nestled along the Ionian Sea in the northwest Peloponnesus and his mother’s family, whose maiden name was Drakos, was from an area near Constantinople by the name of Aretsou. His paternal grandfather, Fr. George Stephanopoulos, came as an immigrant priest to the United States in 1937, having accepted an invitation by then-Archbishop Athenagoras to serve the growing Greek community in the Americas. Two years later he had saved enough money to bring his wife and three children at the time to join him in the United States in 1939. It’s a common story of the diaspora–of someone who leaves the homeland and works hard to bring his fam-

ily over to a land of new opportunities. “I often think of the struggle my Papou and Yiayia made to leave their homeland to come to this country, clearly facing so many unknowns about their family’s future. It must have given them great pride to witness the success of their children and grandchildren within only one generation.” Coming from a family of clergymen–which carried high visibility within the Greek community–may have been stressful and full of unreasonable expectations for some, but not for Stephanopoulos. “I always enjoyed growing up with such a strong sense of community, and I learned early on from both my parents the importance of public service and giving back to other.” These lessons clearly had an impact on the decisions he has made over his life. “In our home there were usually two central topics of conversation around the dinner table–religion and politics–and I always believed I would follow a career in either one of these two disciplines.” In fact, right after graduating from high school Stephanopoulos spent the summer as an intern at the White House during the Clinton Administration, serving as one of the youngest interns in history. He returned to Oregon that Fall to attend Willamette University where he, not surprisingly, double majored in Religious Studies and Political Science. It was during his junior year that he spent the year studying abroad in Greece at the program College Year in Athens, where he had a chance to connect more deeply to the land of his father’s birth. “That year formed a connection to the Greece that can’t be explained, it is just something I feel and experience every time I am there.” With college graduation fast approaching, Athan faced the harsh reality of what he wanted to actually do with his life, and whether he wanted to pursue a life in politics or religion. “Truthfully, growing up where the family vocation was that of a clergyman, it was impossible not to consider the notion of life as a priest. All of my brothers and cousins–at varying degrees–considered it at some point.” Still deciding if life as a priest was for him, Stephanopoulos took a six-month internship following his graduation to work for the Orthodox Church in Hong Kong. While there he had the opportunity to travel to India, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines to participate in various philanthropic and mission efforts of the Church in Asia. While in India, he shot and produced a video of the philanthropic efforts of a priest-monk from Greece who was working in Calcutta building an orphanage for girls, providing medical care to the needy and offering daily food to local street children. “The time I spent in India left an indelible mark on me and how I view the world today, and creating that documentary definitely began my interest and passion in the art of storytelling through video.” Ironically, it was during this time that his inspiration for becoming an entrepreneur developed. “Upon my return to the States I ended up working for the Orthodox Christian Mission Center, in St. Augustine, Florida, where I became responsible for the major gift fundraising for the Church’s overseas programs.” Through his efforts of raising money for the Church he was exposed to many successful Greek Americans– May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY 67


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many of them who achieved their success through their own entrepreneurial zeal–and he developed personal relationships with many wealthy and prominent Greeks. “I learned an invaluable lesson from many of these successful Greek Americans who I had admired, and that was they had all taken certain risks and worked incredibly hard to achieve the level of success that they had.” These individuals and their stories would ultimately inspire him to start his own company. “I was learning and inspired by people like Isidoros Garifalakis, a man who came to this country with nothing more than skills of a welder and ultimately went on to start his own business and grow the company to several manufacturing plants around the country.” Again and again he heard the stories of people like Garifalakis who had humble beginnings; an immigrant from a small village in Greece who through hard work and perseverance went on to become quite successful in whatever their endeavor. “I always believe that much of the success of these individuals comes from their Greek spirit and mentality.” Knowing at this point that the life of a priest was not the course he would take, Stephanopoulos decided to return back to graduate school, where he received his MBA at Fordham University in New York City, with a concentration in communications and media management. His break into interactive advertising came through the world of traditional advertising, when he started working for Shoolery Design, a leading Hollywood entertainment advertising agency that specialized in the design of film and television posters and outdoor artwork. Stephanopoulos was hired to start and run their New York-based office, overseeing all business development and client relation operations out of the East Coast. His accounts included the likes of MTV, AMC, A&E, HBO, and TBS. While working at Shoolery he began to observe the explosion of video content on the internet and saw firsthand how media companies were attempting to respond to the idea of having their content virally distributed throughout the web. “What I saw happening was that advertising dollars were beginning to shift from traditional sources like television, print and radio–of which I was working in–to digital media sources like the web.” The question for Stephanopoulos then became how to tap into the burgeoning market of interactive advertising in an efficient and effective way. Since the company he was working for focused exclusively on print, he felt strongly that he would need to go off on his own and develop an interactive platform that would attract the advertising dollars now shifting online. So in January 2007 Stephanopoulos incorporated GorillaSpot and raised his first round of capital, with many of his early investors coming from Greek Americans he had gotten to know throughout the years of working for the Church. “Many in the Greek community have been 68 May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY

incredibly supportive of our efforts in GorillaSpot.” One such prominent Greek American, John Vidalakis, who has also developed his own successful software company and is a prominent figure in the Church, sits on Stephanopoulos’s board. Vidalakis and his family, who achieved financial success in commercial real estate, are investors in the company. They, and many others, saw Stephanopoulos’s vision in the technology and entertainment media space as a huge opportunity from a business standpoint. The company has witnessed incredible growth over the past two years and has ambitious plans for the years ahead. “We are continually building our licensing division, as well as aggressively penetrating the video game market with our portal mashup site, which sits at the intersection of user generated content and the explosive gaming market. This is exciting year for us because we are planning to scale the business through another round of financing, which will allow us to penetrate new business verticals that utilize our core video mashup technology.” One growth opportunity for the company has been their video game initiative, Mashade.com, which is a joint venture with an Los Angeles-based gaming company. The new business is now working with video game giants like Activision, EA, Sony, and Ubisoft to create an online destination for video game mashups. One of the specific video game sites they have just launched, in partnership with IGN Entertainment, is the hugely successful Tom Clancy’s HAWX (High Altitude Warfare) game, which is being sponsored by the U.S. Air Force. For Stephanopoulos the segue into his entrepreneurial endeavor stemmed from the lessons he learned from other successful Greek Americans. “I’ve always been inspired by the success of our community throughout various disciplines.” Stephanopoulos, whose wife is expecting their first child in late April, hopes to instill this same spirit in his own children one day. “I hope to be able to take my children to Greece every year to remind them of their cultural heritage. My wife is Armenian and we both share strong cultural sensibilities that we want to maintain for our children.” It is this Greek spirit that Stephanopoulos harnesses in running his business. “Greeks have always been innovators, and I find that inspirational when working with our team to develop innovative technologies that change the way we create and consume content online. We are providing a social tool that allows advertisers and consumers the opportunity to express themselves creatively and to participate in cultural conversations not possible just a few short years ago.” So next time you encounter these campaigns remember the genius at the center and whatever he does next we’ll be watching, creating and interacting with it–all from the same humble beginnings that many of us have sprung from; living the American dream and that of our fathers’.


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Peter Angelos

George Argyros

John Calamos

Michael Capellas

John Catsimatidis

C. Dean Metropoulos

Evangeline Gouletas

Peter Georgiopoulos

Lily Haseotes Bentas

Michael Jaharis

The Midas touch James Dimon

Jennifer Aniston

John Thain

Ted Leonsis

George Phydias Mitchell

From the restaurant business to high tech, the fifty wealthiest Greek Americans have built small

Pete Sampras

empires and left their mark on the economy. Dan Georgakas reviews this year’s ‘Super Fifty’ list. Peter Peterson

Stratton Sclavos

70 May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY

Angelos Tsakopoulos

Rita Wilson

John Paterakis

Alex Spanos


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ince the 1970s, Greek Americans consistently have been among the three most affluent ethnic groups in America. This high standard is largely due to the circumstances that, unlike numerous ethnic groups, there are relatively few Greek Americans living at or below the poverty line. Greek America also has more than its share of the superrich. For example, the number of Greeks on the Forbes Listing of the 400 Richest Americans is 500 per cent greater than the Greek American percentage of the general population. Novelist F Scott Fitzgerald famously observed in The Great Gatsby, “The rich are different than you and me.” This is only a partial truth regarding the lives and achievements of the wealthiest Greek Americans. Their personal histories often reflect many of the realities of Greek America, an extraordinary cultural mix of dynamic change and vibrant tradition. Each year the National Herald, the English-language edition of Ethnikos Kyrix, publishes a list of the wealthiest fifty Greek Americans. The data derived from that list reveals some interesting patterns. Many of the ‘Super Fifty’ are in pursuits long-associated with Greeks: real estate, the food industry, finance, furs, and shipping. Just as many, however, are at the cutting edge of new technology and bioscience. Like most Greek Americans, their outmarriage rate is quite high and most have earned college degrees. There is also a marked preference for privately-held or familyowned businesses or both. Most of the Super Fifty are second-generation Greeks from rather humble origins, and all but one of the Greek-born embody the rags to riches dream beloved of American folklore. Topping the Super Fifty list this year is the Haseotes family (net worth 3.8 billion), which owns the Cumberland Farms chain of convenience stores and gasoline stations prominent in New England. The name of the chain stems the farm started by their father, a poor immigrant who arrived in America early in the twentieth century. The single wealthiest Greek American is George Phydias Mitchell (2.8 billion). His father, an immigrant from Tripolis, arrived in the United States in 1919 and settled in Galveston, Texas. Mitchell fondly remembers church years spent in a congregation of Greeks and Serbs, but he and his wife, a former Catholic, subsequently became Episcopalians. The Texas environment led Mitchell to an interest in oil, the field in which he made his fortune. During the second world war, he fought in the forces led by General Patton. Part of his eventual success stemmed from his study of geology at Texas A & M. Like most of the Super Fifty he has been a generous supporter of his alma mater and higher education in general. Mitchell is particularly proud of creating The Woodlands, an environmentally friendly, planned community launched in 1974. Peter Peterson (2.2 b), one of the most famed of the Super Fifty, also is among those who least identify with Greek ethnicity.

His achievements include being co-founder of the Blackstone Group, Secretary of Commerce (a Nixon appointee), Chairman of Lehman Brothers (1973), and member of the Federal Reserve Bank of NY (2000-2004). His wife is founder and chairman of Children’s Workshop Television, the producer of “Sesame Street”. Four other Super Fifty associated with high finance are James Dimon (60 m), Stratton Sclavos (255 m), John Thain (300 m), and John Calamos (1.4 b). Dimon is currently CEO of J.P.Morgan and Sclavos directs three enterprises worth billions: Juniper Networks, Intuit, and Salesforce.com. Thain became chair of Merrill Lynch in 2008 and has been CEO of the New York Stock Exchange. John Calamos, a legendary investor in mutual funds, is the only one of the quartet who has been much involved with Greek America. He is particularly renowned among Chicago Greeks for donating two million dollars to the Hellenic Museum and Cultural Center which he would like to see become the centerpiece for advancing Hellenism in America. Michael Jaharis (1.8 b), who made his fortune in pharmaceuticals, is one of the most generous among the Super Fifty in his support of Greek culture. He is a major benefactor of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s groundbreaking Byzantine shows and as-


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sociated educational projects. Since 2000, he has served as ViceChair of the Archdiocesan Council of the Greek Orthodox Church in America. His other philanthropies have focused on biomedical and nutritional science. Like Jaharis, George Behrakis (900 m) made his fortune in pharmaceuticals and possesses a strong sense of Hellenism. In 2001, he donated two million dollars to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts to support Christine Kondoleon’s position as curator of Greek and Roman Art. He has subsequently made even larger donations. Behrakis is a member of the Archdiocesan Committee, Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and publisher of the Hellenic Voice. The only person in the Super Fifty active in the traditional Greek economic bastion of shipping is Peter Georgiopoulos (400 million). His family, one of the few Greek immigrants of the 1800s, became quite Americanized. He jokingly notes his favorite foods are hamburgers and steak. Two years ago, however, he and his wife converted to Greek Orthodoxy. He told the National Herald, “.…while I still like plain foods best, I’ve learned to like and even cook Greek food, too. But I never forget that if I hadn’t been brought up American, I might never had made it so big in a classic Greek career.” The only women among the Super Fifty are Evangeline Gouletas (215 million), Rita Wilson (200 million), and Jennifer Aniston (160 million). When Gouletas, a Chicago real estate tycoon, married Hugh Carey, Governor of New York (1972-1982). she became part of the Democratic political world that includes Ted Kennedy, Michael Dukakis, and Jimmy Carter. She also traveled in the social circles of Donald Trump. Less well known is that the late Patriarch of Jerusalem named her Grand Commander of the Holy Sepulcher and Commander of the Temple of Jerusalem’s Sovereign Military Order. Rita Wilson’s career in Hollywood is highlighted for Greek Americans by her production credits for My Big Fat Greek Wedding, the highest-grossing independent film in American history. Her film roles include parts in hits such as Sleepless in Seattle and Runaway Bride. Her television credits include Frasier, and she starred as Roxie Hart in the Broadway revival of Chicago (June-August, 2006). One condition of her marriage to superstar Tom Hanks in 1988 was that Hanks would convert to Greek Orthodoxy. The couple retains a close relationship to the local Greek Orthodox priest who officiated at Hanks’s baptism. For many Americans, Jennifer Aniston will forever be Rachel Green of Friends, the television super hit that ran for ten seasons. Now in syndication Friends is aired somewhere in the world every day. Aniston’s subsequent film career has been less spectacular, but includes hits such as Bruce Almighty. She has, however, earned the respect of film critics for her decision to play film characters quite different than her Rachel Green alter ego. Aniston is the daughter of daytime soap opera star John Aniston (Days of Our Lives). 72 May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY

Prominent among Greeks in the traditional food trade sector is John Catsimatidis (1.8 billion), owner of properties such as the Red Apple supermarket chain in New York. Catsimatidis publishes the Hellenic Times and runs the Hellenic Times Scholarships which have assisted Greek American students for over 17 years. Catsimatidis has long voiced an interest in running as an independent for mayor of New York. Also expressing considerable interest in politics has been. John Paterakis (250 million), head of various baking concerns, who has taken a long-term interest in the political life of Maryland. He has supported former Vice-President Spiro Agnew, retired Senator John Sarbanes, a number of former Baltimore mayors, and the present governor. His commercial enterprises include a firm that produces the buns used by McDonalds. John Payiavlas (650 million), C. Dean Metropoulos (1.3 billion), and Louis Katopodis (150 million) are also food magnates. John Payiavlas operates the nation’s largest family-owned food contractor, which is involved with vending machines, institutional dining, and coffee services. He has been chairman of the Leadership 100 endowment and is Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. He is a major supporter of institutions such as the Cleveland [Health] Clinic. Louis Katopodis is CEO of Fiesta Mart, a grocery chain that offers ethnic foods to Mexican and Asian families in the Texas area. He describes his success as “serving the underserved.” C. Dean Metropoulos operates a chain of supermarkets in New England Real estate moguls usually are most active in a specific geographic region. George Argyros (1.4 billion) has major holdings throughout California. One of the top Republican fundraisers in America, he was appointed by George W. Bush as Ambassador to Spain (2001). George Marcus (400 million), another Californian, has important links to Greek American intellectual life. He and his wife have been instrumental in raising funds for the Nikos Kazantzakis Chair in Modern Greek Studies at San Francisco State University. Peter Dion (275 million) combines his real estate holdings with the fur industry, another traditional Greek trade. Dion is a founding member of Leadership 100 and Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Estathios Valiotis (600 m) is well-known to Greek Americans in New York due to his role in creating the Marathon Bank, which has frequently supported Greek American endeavors. Two real estate giants, Angelo Tsakopoulos (600 million) and Nicholas Gouletas (300 m), are among the Super Fifty born in Greece. Gouletas, who now controls considerable property in Chicago and Las Vegas arrived in the US with his poverty-stricken parents in 1944. Tsakopoulos arrived in l951 on the day of his fifteenth birthday. As a young man he was a shoeshine boy, a farmhand, and a waiter. Since his financial successes, the hard-driving Tsakopoulos has been a power broker in California’s Democrat Party. He has strong ties to Nancy Pelosi the powerful Speaker of the House and to Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer.


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He was an enthusiastic backer of Phil Angelides who was California State Treasure for eight years but lost a gubernatorial bid to Arnold Schwarzenegger. Tsakopoulos has been hosted in the White House by the Clintons, and he has hosted Constantine Mitsotakis, former Prime Minister of Greece, and Dora Bakoyannis, current Foreign Minister of Greece and former Mayor of Athens. His pride in Greek culture has led him to establish Hellenic Studies chairs at Georgetown, Stanford, and Columbia. Many of the Super Fifty have an interest in professional sports. The most obvious of these is Pete Sampras (60 million), who dominated professional tennis for decades. Among his achievements is a record-breaking six consecutive years as winner of the US Grand Slam men’s singles title and seven wins at Wimbledon, a record shared with William Renshaw. Peter Karamanos Jr. (340 million), operating from a company based on computer technology, is owner of the National Hockey League’s Caroline Hurricanes. Alex Spanos (1 billion), a real estate tycoon, owns the National Football League’s San Diego Chargers. Peter Angelos (425 million), a prominent trial lawyer, is more famed as CEO of the American League’s Baltimore Orioles. Angelos is an avid Democrat who was elected to multi-terms in the Baltimore City Council but lost a mayoral bid in l964.

Ted Leonsis (700 m), vice chairman emeritus of American Online and among the founders of Apple MacIntosh, meshes interests in technology, sports, and cinema. He is founder/majority owner of a firm that owns the National Hockey League’s Washington Capitals. He also is one of the owners of the National Basketball Association’s Washington Wizards and the Baltimore-Washington Ticketmasters. Recently, he has developed an interest in making film documentaries that advocate social change. His Nanking premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. His most recent production is Kicking It. Newer industries involving computer technology and biomedics have been fertile ground for Greek Americans. George Perlegos (100 million) controls corporations heavily involved with manufacturing semiconductors and memory devices. Michael Kalogris (400 million) has been CEO of Suncom Wireless, which serves the southeastern United States and Caribbean. Sotiris Fassoulis (200 million) is chairman of a firm that produces military technology such as night vision systems, helicopter parts, and sophisticated military ammunition. James Demetriades (315 million) was a child prodigy who began writing software programs when he was only nine years old. Nicholas Galakatos (350 million) has devised new methods for dealing with a variety of ill-

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nesses. including kidney disease, sleep diseases, and circadian rhythm abnormalities. Emmanuel A. Kampouris (350 million) has served as CEO of American Standard Companies the leading global manufacturer of technologically advanced air conditioning systems, bathroom and kitchen hardware, and vehicle control systems. Prior to working for Standard in the United States, Kampouris worked for Standard in Greece and Egypt. He is an advocate and financial supporter of organizations such as the Hudson Institute, which work to promote global peace. He is convinced the Orthodox Church can become a voice of prophecy and moral consciousness. To that end he is publisher of Kairos, a journal that seeks to educate, support, and embolden the Orthodox clergy. D. James Bidzos (350 million) is founder, chairman, and interim CEO of Verisign, the world largest provider of Internet and telecommunications security software. Bidzos arrived in the US as a young boy. His father was a barber and his mother managed a restaurant. Michael Capellas (300 million) has been CEO of First Data Corporation for two years and is on the board of Cisco Systems. Capellas credits his work ethic to his father who fought in the Greek Army during the second world war before immigrating to the United States where he first worked as a day laborer. A national leader in waste management, a need accelerated by the new technology, is John Rangos Sr. (423 million), a decorated veteran of the Korean War. His Chambers Development Corporation has developed initiatives regarding commercial recycling programs and non-polluting landfills that protect the water supply. He is founding chairman and honorary lifetime president of the International Orthodox Christian Charities. This year he was honored by the American Hellenic Institute for his public service and heritage achievements. John Leontakianakos (120 million) and John Pappajohn (700 million) are two Greek-born Super Fifty members who have demonstrated a strong concern for the welfare of young people. Leontakianakos heads enterprises that combine biotechnology and homeland security. He was born in a house adjacent to the Acropolis but raised in Queens where he attended the Transfiguration School. Later, he served in Lebanon as a US Marine. He is founder of the Children’s Research Institute for Personalized Medicine, a charity that helps children with seemingly incurable disease to find alternative treatment. John Pappajohn arrived in the United States at age nine months in the 1930s. His father died when he was sixteen and he had to pay his own way through school. In due course he earned a business management degree at the University of Iowa and established investment firms specializing in advanced biomedical and biotechnology products. He has established a college scholarship fund that in a single year made $366,500 in grants. Thirtytwo of the grants went to members of St. George Orthodox Church in Mason City, Iowa. Pappajohn also funds the Pappajohn Clini74 May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY

cal Cancer Center and five Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Centers at Iowa universities and colleges. Unique among the Super Fifty is George Andreas (700 million), who has combined careers in the military, the arts, and commerce. Born in Athens, early in his life he became associated with prominent Greek painters and helped restore the interior of Saint Basil’s church in central Athens. He later attended military academies in Athens and Thessaloniki. With the onset of the junta of l967, Andreas, a respectable military officer, exiled himself to America where he established a mammoth car dealership and made excellent investments in real estate. His major interest, however, has been the arts. His current artwork-in-progress offers a social critique of the anarchist movement. Nicholas Bouras (250 million) is among the few Greeks who prospered in a traditional manufacturing industry. Born in Pontiac, Michigan, he grew up in Chicago where he gradated from nearby Northwestern University’s School of Commerce. Bouras enlisted in the US military in 1942 and flew forty-four combat missions in medium bombers as a bombardier and navigator. He won the Distinguished Flying Cross, eight air medals, five battle stars, and achieved the rank of Major. He worked for US Steel during the 1940s and 1950s, the period when that firm was extraordinarily prosperous. He then founded manufacturing firms associated with making steel and steel products. Dion has made many philanthropic contributions to the Orthodox Church, served as president of his parish council, and has been chair of the parish’s building committee for over thirty years. He is a member of the Archdiocesan Council’s Executive Committee and Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Excelling at another traditional industry are Kosta and Tom Kartsotis (325 million) who design and manufacture quality watches and associated leather goods. Their worldwide enterprises feature designs that have even impressed the Swiss, the masters of fine watch making. Their Fossil Inc. distributes famous brands of all types and produces populist lines associated with films such as Pirates of the Caribbean. Two years ago they teamed with the National Football League to make the official watch collection for each team. What emerges from this capsule overview of the Super Fifty is that their success is rarely linked directly to ethnicity but often reflects Hellenic cultural values. They are generous philanthropists but they are not particularly interested in Greek American institutions. The majority, in fact, has limited connections to the intellectual and social life of Greek America. Association with the Orthodox Church is not prevalent and when it does exist, it is not generally manifested at the parish level. Although the Super Fifty cannot be regarded as a group offering much direct support to their fellow Greek Americans, they are certainly spectacular models of what can be achieved in America by those of O Hellenic heritage.


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Giving to Greece The Challenge of Cross-Border Philanthropy

T

he tradition of charitable giving by Greeks, both at home and among those living in the diaspora, has been well documented. For Greeks residing in the United States, the charitable income tax deduction has always offered an additional incentive to make charitable gifts. Unfortunately, Americans do not generally receive an income tax deduction for gifts to foreign charities. If structured properly, however, Greek Americans can receive a tax deduction for gifts that ultimately benefit Greek charities and the Greek people. Additionally, following a recent case from the European Court of Justice, Greeks residing in the European Union may also receive a tax deduction for making gifts to Greek charities. The city-state of Athens in the fifth century B.C. was the first to promote philanthropy among its wealthiest citizens following the philosophical school of Stoicism, as was observed by Elizabeth Phocas in her article “The Art of Giving” (Odyssey, January/February 2008). During last three decades of the eighteenth and the first two decades of the nineteenth centuries, following 400 years of Ottoman rule, private philanthropy facilitated the development of an independent Greek state. Merchants living throughout the Mediterranean, the Balkans, and central Europe endowed schools and libraries, published books, and encouraged higher education for young Greeks, as observed by the noted historian, Richard Clogg in 76 May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY

By Stephen Liss and William J. Kambas

A Concise History of Greece (1992). Greeks living outside of Greece continued this tradition through the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The gifts from frugal, hard-working and enterprising Greek migrants back to their families in Greece constituted a key element in the Greek balance of payments. There can be no doubt that Greece, has benefited considerably from the philanthropy of the Greek diaspora, which numbers in the millions. Of this diaspora, it is reasonable to conclude that Greek Americans are particularly generous in their charitable giving because, in prior years, charitable giving by Americans appears to be more than double that of the their English counterparts (as a percentage of gross domestic product). This may be accounted for in part by the generous tax deductions available in the United States for charitable gifts, although the UK has introduced a number of tax reforms in recent years, such as income tax relief on gifts of land and quoted shares. As was recently observed by George D. Tselos and Vicki J. Yiannias in “Giving Back” (Odyssey May/June 2008) many high-profile foundations associated with names such as Costopoulos, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, Archbishop Spyridion, Behrakis, Jaharis, Catsimatidis, Calamos, and Tsakopoulos have provided meaningful gifts to support American and Greek-American causes benefiting life in education, art, and medicine.


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Hurdles in the U.S.

Overcoming hurdles

It is not unusual to find that Greeks living outside of Greece harbor a strong attachment to Greek culture and society. Supporting Greece through charitable giving is a meaningful way through which one can connect with the place and people of Greece–while furthering the culture that enriches the lives of many. Most countries, however, limit incentives to charitable giving to gifts that benefit the host country. The U.S. has no restriction on where charitable funds can be used, but individuals in the U.S. cannot claim a tax deduction for contributions to foreign charities. Similarly, contributions to organizations formed in the United States that simply transmit such funds to a foreign charitable organization are not deductible to the taxpayer. In the U.S., this is commonly referred to as the “anti-conduit rule”. Under this rule, a charitable income tax deduction may be denied for contributions made to any U.S. charity if they are earmarked for a particular non-U.S. donee. In essence, the test for determining the deductibility of charitable contributions is whether the U.S. charitable organization has full dominion and control over the donated funds and the discretion as to their use, so as to insure that such funds will be utilized to carry out the U.S. organization’s functions and charitable purposes. So long as it is determined that a U.S. charity has dominion and control, a US citizen or resident can receive a tax deduction for a charitable contribution, even if the funds are ultimately expended abroad.

There are a number of ways that Greeks living in the U.S. can make charitable donations that benefit Greek charities, while still qualifying for the charitable income tax deduction. The most flexible way for a donor to make gifts is through a private foundation. A private foundation gives the donor maximum control and allows the donor to tailor the charitable activities to be exactly as desired. However, a private foundation also brings with it the highest administrative burden, including an obligation for expenditure responsibility on grants made to non-U.S. charities. Expenditure responsibility consists of three elements (i) a pre-grant inquiry, (ii) a grant agreement, and (iii) reporting mandated by the grant agreement. As a result, while the law requires expenditure responsibility, in many ways it represents a best practice and one that is often embraced by donors who wish to ensure their charitable donations are used wisely. In addition to flexibility, establishing and funding a US private foundation enables the assets to grow tax free until distributed as grants. Once contributed to a private foundation, any assets, such as stock, securities, real estate or fine art, can grow free from income tax or capital gains tax. Investments through the foundation are subject only to an excise tax of one to two per cent Therefore, in addition to the income tax deduction for the donor described above, the assets may grow faster in a foundation, and ultimately a donor can

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thereby give more money to charitable causes. However, private foundations are not for everyone and other options exist. Many Americans choose to contribute to a U.S. public charity that itself operates in Greece. Such donations qualify for a U.S. income tax deduction since use of the funds is under the complete control of the U.S. charity. The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), Plant Your Roots in Greece Foundation, and The International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) are each excellent examples of U.S. Public charities with a strong tradition of giving to Greek causes and projects in Greece. Prospective donors can also contribute to a Greek charity through a “friends of” organization. These are typically public charities, but they carry on their charitable mission by supporting the activities of one or a small group of foreign charities. As above, this would entitle the US donor to a full U.S. income tax deduction. These types of charities are sometimes referred to as “supporters of” or “feeder” organizations, although they are operated carefully to ensure compliance with the anti-conduit rule. Such “friends of” organizations may have already been formed by another group, or they may be newly formed. Either way, they do tend to limit a donor’s direct contact with the charitable mission compared to a private foundation. At the same time they tend to have very narrow missions, so the donor can be confident how funds will be expended. A good example of a “friends of” organization is the Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York, Inc. Another option is a community foundation or their commercial brethren, the donor-advised fund. Such organizations account for the donor’s donation and its’ presumed investment return in a segregated account, and the donor then suggests, or “advises”, on what charitable purposes it should be used for. A donor should be careful to determine if a particular organization is willing to make grants to foreign charities if that is the preference of the donor. Some donoradvised funds will, others will not and you should determine this ahead of time. In addition to understanding this formal policy, a potential donor should seek some assurance that the organization would be willing to make a donation to any specific foreign organizations the donor intends to benefit. Donor advised funds are not required to follow the suggestions of their donors, although they do in almost all instances unless the requested grant would violate a legal restriction or a formal policy. While relatively straightforward, public charities, “friends of” organizations, and community foundations are considerably more limiting than private foundations because in each case the donor places his or her charitable goals into the hands of others. Private foundations, on the other hand are less straightforward and require the advice of counsel in formation an management, but offer greater flexibility. In addition, private foundations provide direct control over the investment of the foundation assets, which may ultimately generate materially more wealth for the donor to put towards his charitable endeavors. The investment options offered by most other vehicles tend to be limited. In the end, however, Greeks residing outside of Greece should know that they have many options and should not hesitate to talk with their advisors about them. 78 May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY

European Union residents In an important development, the European Court of Justice has ruled against certain territorial limitations to cross border philanthropy. As a result of these rulings, residents of the European Union should be able to receive a charitable deduction for gifts to a charity formed in any European Union country as though it was formed in their country of residence. The legislative response to this decision, however, is not yet clear. Like the United States, many European countries restrict charitable deductions by their residents to gifts made to a charity organized within their country. In a recent case, Hein Persche v. Finanzamt Ludenscheid (largely following the logic of a slightly older case: Centro di Musicologia Walter Stauffer v. Finanzamt Munchen fur Korperschaften), the ECJ held that permitting Member States to disadvantage charities solely because they are established in another Member State would constitute an obstacle to the free movement of capital and therefore is counter to the goals of the European Union. Where an organization is formed in one Member State, it must be treated as a charity by a second Member State so long as it satisfies all of the requirements for charity status in that Member State other than the state of formation requirement. The second Member State cannot deny the organization charitable status solely because it is not established in its territory. Under the authority of Hein Persche, Greeks residing in the European Union, but outside of Greece, should be free to donate to many Greek charities and still receive the same charitable deduction from their home country as it they had made a purely domestic donation. This should greatly facilitate cross border philanthropy for EU citizens and residents, but the law in this area remains in a state of flux and it is too early to know exactly how any particular EU Member State will respond to these rulings.

Dual ctizens and residents Certain individuals and/or families with inherently international concerns might be characterized as dual citizens or residents of two countries. This is particularly common for Americans who are subject to U.S. income tax because of their citizenship, regardless of their residence. In these cases, a charitable deduction under one of the two relevant tax regimes usually does not actually reduce the overall income tax paid by the person. They need a charitable deduction under both tax systems or the deduction is effectively wasted. It is often possible to create a charitable giving structure that allows for tax deductions in both the countries of citizenship and residency. Such planning includes qualifying a charity (including, but not necessarily limited to a private foundation) in each of the subject countries. This “dual qualified structure” can be highly effective in the right circumstances. Advisors familiar with cross border philanthropy can offer important insight on establishing and operating such structures. While the long tradition of the Greek diaspora giving to Greek charities continues, maximizing the tax benefits of such gifts requires a great deal of care. At the same time, there are more opportunities for effective cross-border philanthropy then ever before, and tremendous tax benefits can be achieved for generous members of the Greek O diaspora.


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Everybody studies Greece, but...

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Greece is one of the world’s great nations, and Drexel University students are right in the middle of its culture. Drexel continues the legacy of its Greek-born president Dr. Constantine Papadakis. The University’s ties to Greek and Cretan society offer outstanding opportunities to students.

An Academic Focus In 2006, Drexel appointed Dr. Maria Hnaraki to develop a Greek Studies program that introduces our students to Cretan and Greek culture and the modern Greek language. A Cultural Hub Drexel has become a center for Greek culture in

America. Here are just a few events our students and the Greek American community have been privileged to attend: a recital and reception by Ada Karmiri, Greek classical pianist; a lecture and book signing by Dr. Andrew J. Ekonomou, Greek American scholar and attorney; a discussion and sampling of Cretan cuisine with Nikos Psilakis, Cretan author and food critic; a theatrical performance by Theatro, the New York-based bilingual Greek theater company; and a concert by The Chorus of Nafpaktos, Greece.

Direct to Crete! Drexel has a thriving program that carries both its outstanding academic tradition and its commitment to experiencebased learning abroad. Drexel students in Crete gain an invaluable international perspective. • Vidalakis Family Foundation Cretan Scholars Program • Partnership with the Technological Educational Institute of Crete • Drexel in Crete Summer Abroad For more information, contact Dr. Maria Hnaraki at 215.895.6143 or maria.hnaraki@drexel.edu.

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travel

A rural r

The best way to get back to nature is to be a part of nature–not just observing the land, its flora and fauna, but participating in rural life. Tradition lives in the countryside and the best way for a traveler to discover Greece’s secrets is to experience Greek culture, from the day-to-day workings of a household or workshop to the celebrations of special feasts, from the inside. Agrotourism invites visitors to experience rural life firsthand, by taking part in the activities that link man and nature. And Greece, with its unequaled diversity and rich cultural heritage, is the ideal country for a unique holiday.

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travel

romance

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One of the pleasures of visiting a country is sampling its traditional cuisine, from fresh seafood and wines made from local grapes to sweets and desserts, like the loukoumi and 'ipovrihio', a sweet called 'submarine' because a spoonful of taffy-consistency mastiha is submerged in a glass of cold water and eaten slowly between sips.

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A

Greece stands at a crossroads of cultures and civilization. It’s a place where the grandeur of history and the warmth of being are felt, a place where one can discover the evolutionary process of thought, influence, and experience. Greece is a country with a uniquely rich historical past, a country inhabited by people gazing confidently and optimistically into the future. It’s a country that although statistically small, is vast in its diversity. Greece is a country of beautiful contradictions, a constant journey through time, from the present to the past and back again. It’s a land of monumental achievement but also a land that hasn’t lost its human dimension or scale. And this you live in the Greek countryside, where you can walk through the olive groves and ancient sites, move to clusters of sparsely inhabited islands, roam from beaches to rocky mountains and explore the breathtaking scenery. Though large urban centers like Athens and Thessaloniki set the pace of contemporary society and life, it’s the countryside that sustains Greece’s roots. And it’s in the countryside and day-to-day activities that link humans to the cycles of nature that one can feel the essence of Greece. Greece’s traditions live on in the countryside where every custom and every feast is an inextricable part of the relationship between the local society and the land. You can observe this as a visitor or experience it through agro-

tourism–a way of not just seeing the land and life but of being a part of it. Agrotourism is a mild form of sustainable tourist development that introduces visitors to the full range of rural life. It’s a way to live and breathe the culture by seeing first-hand, and participating in, traditional occupations, tasting but also helping make local products and the diverse local cuisines these products have created. It’s a way to understand the daily life of the people, as well as the cultural elements and the authentic features of the area, while showing respect for the environment and tradition. Agrotourism brings visitors closer to nature and rural activities in which they can participate, be entertained and feel the pleasure of touring, learning, and discovering. At the same time, it mobilizes the productive, cultural and developmental forces of an area, contributing in this way to the sustainable environmental, economic and social development of the rural area by promoting traditional products and lifestyle as well as preserving local culture. Agrotourism engages the visitor through a host of activities linked to traditional local lifestyles. The entire concept of agrotourism is based on the interpersonal, humane, direct and hospitable relations the inhabitants of a region and visitors. By participating in activities such as weaving or embroidering or threshing, visitors do more than simply learn techniques for making products but savor them in a different way. Imagine taking part in a grape harvest and truly experiencing how the land produces the


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bouquet and color of local wines. Picking saffron or gathering chestnuts brings the visitor close to nature and to rural lifestyles, and is often combined with other activities such as hiking expeditions through wooded paths, kayaking across lakes or down streams, exploring old churches and monasteries and taking part in local festivals. Agrotourism is a way to see Greece from a different and exciting perspective, living in traditional inns that offer visitors a chance to take part in activities from threshing or mushroom picking to cheese-making, weaving, horse-back riding, and learning folk dances. Cuisine is a basic element of every folk culture. Before globalization made a variety of products widely available, local cuisines were rooted in what the land produced. Greek cuisine

is a part of rural tradition as it was shaped by practical considerations–what foods were available–and the natural cycle of producing these foods. In turn, traditional feasts were also developed around the cycle of cultivation, from sowing to harvest, following both seasons but also the Orthodox calendar with its fasts and celebrations. The festivals and activities briefly described below, compiled from agrotravel.gr–the Greek National Tourism Organization’s official information gateway to Greek rural tourism–offers a sampling of these local traditions and ideas for organizing an agrotourism holiday–a way to do more than just see Greece, a way to become a part of Greek country life, for exploring roots and putting down new ones.

Rural Greece has assimilated modern agricultural methods, yet preserved many of its traditions. It's not uncommon to encounter herds of sheep or goat grazing the mountains while traveling. Wild flowers provide food for bees and flavor the amazing range of honey produced throughout the country. These same elements of the environment, especially the soil and air, also give wines the subtle aroma that distinguishes the wines of each region.

Agrotourism Festivals The Cherry Festival of Metochi in Euboea Metochi lies in a lush green valley framed by cool, shaded mountains and the ruins of the fortifications of ancient Cerinthus. The picturesque two-story stone-built houses of Metochi are perched at the verdant foot of Mount Xerovouni, opposite Mount Dirfi, girdled by a large number of orchards, chestnut trees and imposing plane trees. The region abounds in crystal-clear water springs. The image of blossomed cherries, especially in spring, is magical. Metochi hosts a

cherry festival which has become famous all over Greece. The festival is organized every year, in early June. It constitutes a special, purely traditional event organized by the local council, the inhabitants of the village and the municipality of Kymi. The objective of the feast is to help both the inhabitants of Euboea and tourists come into contact with the cherry, the chief rural product of Metochi, whose excellent quality is known in Kymi and the wider region. May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY 85


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Most festivals throughout the country are linked to both religious feast-days and agricultural traditions like the grape-harvest. And at each, special foods are served that highlight the production of each area.

The Agrotourism Festival at Epidaurus The fruits of the Argolid and its land, as fertile in land as it is in history and culture, are celebrated at an impressive agrotourism festival held in the small port of Palea Epidaurus (Old Epidaurus) every summer, on weekends from late June through early August. Stands featuring artisan products line the old harbor, inviting visitors to taste and touch–and learn about how each one is made as they explore the lesser-known, authentic side of Argolis. The Epidaurus agrotourism festival highlights the link between culture and cultivation as its held in tandem with the Greek Festival, which includes the Musical July series at the Small Epidaurus Theater at the edge of the port and the world-famous Festival of Epidaurus at the large ancient theater where classic tragedies and comedies are performed). The exhibition of products opens every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Various events and excursions of agrotourist, cultural, traditional and folklore nature as part of the Epidaurus agrotourism festival.

Earth Festival at the village of Vlasti in Kozani The Earth Festival of Vlasti in Kozani is an attempt to resist to the leveling off and homogenization of art, culture, and entertainment. It is an alternative ethnic festival that takes place in July under the auspices of the Community of Vlasti. Greek and foreign artists take part in a 86 May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY

multicultural feast whose objective is to highlight the positive existence of differences among peoples and support the coexistence of cultures. It’s also a public awareness campaign about the importance and the protection of the environment. The Earth Festival is an established national cultural event, an alternative summer option attracting the interest of all those who seek something different. More than 50,000 visitors have attended the festival since 2002, over the 35 days of culture. It encompasses activities for children, music, paintings and other conjectural arts, ecological movies, shadow-theatre, environmental education, outdoor activities, seminars, and food tastings.

The Agrotourism Festival of Chios The agrotourism festival of Chios is held every year in the Municipal Garden, under the auspices of the SE Chios Tourism Department, in co-operation with the municipality of Chios. The main objective of the festival is to acquaint visitors with Chian products, traditions, and culture and thus promote the productive wealth and cultural heritage of the island. While the display and sale of local products remains at the core of the festival, organizers’ interest is also focused on the organization of a series of artistic and visual arts events pertaining to local art and tradition. The festival brings together local producers, traders, cooperatives, cultural clubs, photogra-


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phers, owners of art galleries and visual arts studios as well as municipal agencies from all over the prefecture of Chios.

flavored spirit) and raki are served during the feast. Island dances and songs are performed.

Cultural May in Kalabaki The Lesvos Agrotourism Festival An agrotourism festival is held every summer on Lesvos. Thousands of tourists visit the Sigri Natural History Museum of the Lesvos Petrified Forest to taste and buy choice local products. The festival lasts from July through October. Special stands on the premises of the museum exhibit quality standardized agricultural products, organic produce, traditional and modern crafts as well as the creations of the pioneering local women’s cooperatives.

An important feast is held during the May in Kalabaki in Drama, under the auspices of the local cultural association. Traditional dances, local folk music, and other cultural events as well the locals display the dishes they have made on tables set up at the main square of this small country town. People dance to the accompaniment of traditional music and drink wine and “tsipouro”, a strong distilled spirit. Some events are dedicated to the traditional cuisine and the old games of Kalabaki.

Τhe first grapes are always harvested on August 6, the Feast of the Transformation (Metamorphosis) and offered to the church; the seeds are offered to the Virgin Mary on November 21 and a sweet pulp made from the grapes is offered to the parish on December 4.

The Olive Festival The Fisherman’s Feast on the Koufonissia islets Koufonissia is an exquisite, virgin cluster of small islands linked to each other by a strait. You will realize that if you visit them until late June, as tourist trade is relatively low then. The local fishermen have chosen to celebrate in the first month of summer. The inhabitants of the Koufonissia islets stop their work and participate en masse in the traditional festivities organized in honor of local fishermen. The few lucky visitors can enjoy the pure lifestyle of the Small Cyclades and taste a wide range of sea dishes , the fruit of fishermen’s labor. Moreover, wine, ouzo (an anise-

North of Sparta, in the municipality of Oinountas [Inous]–named after the Oenus River–there are 420,000 olive trees producing the famous local olive oil and table olives. The inhabitants of Oinountas feel blessed for the ‘liquid gold’ with which the Laconian land has been endowed. This is why they labor in their fields to make full use of this gift. So in August every year they organize a festival to promote their products and improve their quality. The main themes of the festival are the history of olive, olive oil, and their production methods, the ecology of olive, the organic farming of olives, and the use of olive by-products for artistic or energy purposes. There are stalls where locals put on display basic olive May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY 87


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Olive oil, honey, and wine are three traditional products that have inspired countless recipes.

products, visual arts creations made from wood and olive leaves, old farm tools, books on olives, and other items linked to the cultivation and use of the olive. During the festival, special exhibitions of photographs and paintings, while visitors interested in learning more about the olive, its history, and its place in folk culture and regional traditions can tour the Olive Museum and follow discussions on these topics. One of the festival’s biggest draws is the chance to sample Mediterranean cuisine. And where there’s food, there’s music and dance that highlight the cultural heritage of Laconia.

Fokida’s Summer Festival

September, the month of grape harvest, is synonymous with happiness. The inhabitants of the wine-producing towns of Arcadia pay tribute to the new vintage by organizing various feasts. Locals and visitors have the chance to mingle while dancing to the accompaniment of traditional music, sampling wine and acquire relevant tasting expertise. The atmosphere is festive and merry. The wine feasts of September constitute the ultimate expressions of Arcadian lifestyle. They are a celebration of joy and nature.

A wine festival is held at the historic village of Gravia every August. It involves feasting to the accompaniment of traditional music. Sweet wine flows in abundance. On the weekend after the Assumption of the Virgin, people from seventeen villages of North Doris meet at PrattaLakkos location. The “Fokika” festival lasts for one week and includes artistic and sports events. Concerts and theatrical performances are organized throughout summer at the wonderful ancient stadium of Delphi. The European Cultural Centre of Delphi hosts international meetings, conventions, exhibitions as well as scientific and cultural events, thus contributing to the cultural happenings of Europe.

The Honey Festival of Nikiti

Chestnut Festival

The objective of the festival is to promote the history, the rural tradition, and the cultural heritage of Nikiti as well as to highlight the quality

A chestnut festival takes place at Arna every year, on the last weekend of October. It gathers both the locals and tourists who want to have a

The Wine Festival of Mantineia

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characteristics of honey as well as the benefits its daily use incurs. While sampling some of the rarest honey varieties, visitors have a chance to learn the characteristics of each and what makes their flavor distinctive. Visitors also have the opportunity to learn the secrets of bee-keeping, taste and touch other products like pollen, royal jelly, and propolis–as well as a range of traditional Greek sweets made with honey.


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close-range experience with the highest peaks of Mount Taygetus in the Peloponnese. The festival includes sampling of chestnut delicacies and demonstrations of gathering and processing techniques. Visitors can also take part in the chestnut harvest, learning hands-on how to pick and then prepare chestnuts. the square of the village, visitors can savor baked and boiled chestnuts, various tidbits made of chestnuts and a wide range of local products. What sets the festival apart is that the program of folk music and dance is often complemented by recitals of classical and jazz selections, while the local cultural association hosts a photographic exhibition on chestnut and its harvesting.

The Wine Festival of Nemea Nemea, in the Peloponnese, is one of the best-known wine producing areas of Greece and is famous among oenophiles for its Agiorgitiko grapes. During the annual wine festival, wineries and neighborhoods join together in a village-wide feast virtually around the clock. In Nemea’s neighborhoods, traditional music accompanies the revelry as folk ensembles wander the village lanes playing their music. The municipality also organizes a program of formal cultural events such as choral music and plays. During this festival, visitors can taste Nemean wines, tour vineyards, and learn the secrets of cultivation.

Loukoumades at Soroni Making honey puffs (“loukoumades”) or pancakes is a custom that warms the senses in the cold winder days. It revives every year all over Greece on the occasion of the feast of Saint Andrew. In the past it delighted the hungry children and was considered absolutely necessary, as the saint was believed to punish all those who breached this custom by making a hole in the frying pans of housewives if they did not use them to make honey puffs on the occasion of his feast. This is why people called him “Trypotiganas” [Pan Hole-Maker], as if they were afraid of his punishments. Saint Andrew is considered to be the first to be elected on the Patriarchal Throne in Constantinople. In Constantinople (Istanbul), this historical event is celebrated with the distribution of golden brown honey puffs to the congregation after the end of the Mass in the Ecumenical Patriarchate. (Indeed, in villages throughout Europe, locals make crepes or double pancakes during this period so as to prevent their crops against worms and to expel evil spirits.) It is possible that the Greek custom of making honey puffs conceals a sort of magical-religious-propitiatory motive–that is, it may stem from the will to placate Saint Andrew, the saint whose feast coincides with the end of autumn, so that he protects seeding. The custom is revived at Soroni, on the island of Rhodes, in November.

When you say Greek cheese, people naturally think of feta. But one of the joys of traveling around Greece is discovering the impressive range of local cheeses.

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Activities Aside from popular, now globally-known, dishes like spanakopita, Greek cuisine is quite localized as it is rooted in the rural traditions. Thus beans, a staple of the Greek cuisine, are prepared differently on the mainland and on different islands, largely as a result of environmental conditions that once determined cooking times and ingredients for flavoring or pairing.

Traditional threshing Valtesiniko (or Valtetsiniko) hosts a wide range of events in mid-August, on the occasion of the feast of the Assumption of the Virgin. The most important is the re-enactment of the traditional threshing process. Since its establishment in 1998, the custom is revived on August 16 every year and has become a favorite attraction. Local farmers gather their sheaves of grain at an old threshing floor near the Monastery of the Dormition of the Virgin. The harvest is threshed with the help of six or seven horses which start work early in the morning. The process lasts for several hours. The inhabitants of neighboring regions and visitors from Tripoli or Athens become acquainted with traditional threshing methods. A little farther away, they are offered the chance to taste boiled doe meat and wine to the accompaniment of folk music.

Pottery on Lesvos The island of Lesvos was once one of the most important pottery centers in Greece. Despite the fact that there are few ceramics kilns left on the island today, the inhabitants of Mytilene use the clay to create true works of art. There are pottery workshops, known as “tsoukaladika” or “koumaradika”, mainly in Mantamados, Agias90 May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY

sos, and Mytilene. Pottery crafts are exhibited in various halls on the entire island. The old, historic olive press of the village of Mantamados has been restored and proclaimed industrial monument. Every year, the village hosts the Pan-Lesvian Pottery Exhibition which attracts artists not only from all corners of the island but also from the Asia Minor coast.

Art and Organic Cuisine in Arcadia The village of Demetra in the magical region of mountainous Arcadia can serve as a short escape route from the ordinary, offering a chance to combine relaxation and creativity, be initiated into the traditional and modern art of tapestry, and come into contact with traditional decorative weaving methods. Visitors can participate in the fascinating process of thread dyeing, explore the Ladonas gorge through trekking activities and, taste traditional local cuisine based on organic products. The weaving seminars take place in a traditional guesthouse built in 1850 and recently restored. The seminars take the form of open workshops where participants are initiated into the art of tapestry and come into contact with decorative weaving methods as well as with the use of vegetable dyes. Participants choose the workshop they wish to attend depending on their interests and time they have available. These seminars are designed to meet both be-


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ginners’ and advanced students’ needs. After a brief introduction to the tools used (frame looms, threads), participants get acquainted with the weaving process. They create their first simple tapestry crafts which they will keep as a

souvenir of their participation in the seminars. Moreover, they can explore the Ladonas gorge to collect dyeing material and then take part in the fascinating process of dyeing threads in different colors.

Folk traditions The Songs of Eratyra Eratyra, a large village of western Macedonia, has a long, rich musical tradition associated with the local history and social life. There are songs for every occasion (for the period between Christmas and Epiphany, for carnival, Easter, engagement, wedding and, generally, for happy moments). Serenades, table love tunes, “tsamika” songs and songs of the klephts are also an integral part of this tradition. This collection is an effort of the School of Informatics of the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki (Digital Media Department, Artificial Intelligence and Information Analysis Laboratory) to rescue our cultural heritage. The change in lifestyle has brought with it the sliding into oblivion of this age-old music tradition. As a result, young generations are not familiar at all with the richness of their musical heritage. Most of the songs of Eratyra have been recorded, digitized and restored. There are about 200 songs featur-

ing in thirteen collections. Their thematic variety and styles are really impressive.

The “Koupa” custom In the village of Kallithea, in the Drama prefecture, the “Koupa” carnival custom serves as a means of forgiveness and soul’s purification. It has a religious meaning. Its origins are lost in the mists of time. The custom takes place in the yard of the primary school of Kallithea at six o’clock in the afternoon of Cheesefare Sunday every year. The word “Koupa” denotes a huge heap of cedar wood set on fire. A big party is organized; attendants are treated to abundant wine and various local dishes, including bean soup, boiled goat meat and traditional pies.

Traditional Feasts on Karpathos Although it’s a small island, Karpathos has a large and rich popular culture and has greatly preserved its traditions. It is known that its peoMay/June 2009 I ODYSSEY 91


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ple adore music and dancing and it appears that their songs number more than 70 or according to some, more than 100. Apollo, the God of sun and music seems to have bequeathed this adoration to the island, as he was seen as its protector. Traditional food is usually served which is made by the church and given out for free. Bread and watermelon are given out in some villages like Olympus. Dances and songs follow played by traditional instruments (laouto, Lira, tsabouna). Wedding ceremonies are of particular importance on Karpathos. The duration of the ritual has been reduced from eight to two or three days. The whole process comprises “siasmata”, i.e. matchmaking, the engagement, the wedding (“gamos” in Greek) and “antigamos”, the next day of the wedding. The “seven days” custom is exclusively characteristic of Karpathos and includes a celebra-

tion which takes place seven days after the birth of a child. It involves the gathering of relatives and friends who make a cot for the newborn baby, if there is not one. Then they lull it to sleep by singing wishes.

Meals are built around the seasonal availability of vegetables, as the tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and zucchini of summer give way to the cruciferous and root vegetables of fall.

The Feast of Saint Paraskevi at Polyfyto Known for its large artificial lake, Polyfyto is an almost deserted settlement which livens up on July 26 when the few locals organize a fete in honor of Saint Paraskevi. People from Polyfyto and its neighboring villages pack the church of Saint Paraskevi, a monument which dates back to 1916 but has been built upon an older church of 1750. A custom called “kurbani” takes place after services on that day. It involves an animal sacrifice. The delicious meat of the sacrificed animal is cooked with bulgur and served to everyone present. The locals wear their traditional costumes and perform folk songs and dances. O May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY 93


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Amusements photography • film • poetry • music • dance • opera • theater

Perpetual motion As the noted American photographer Steve Anchell observes, Popi Tsoukatou “has moved beyond the limitations of the camera to render images of time flowing through her images.” This is evident in “Objects in Motion: The Photographs of Popi Tsoukatou” exhibited through May 30 at Pireos 123, Gazi, in Athens.

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On the cutting edge

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he DESTE Foundation for Contemporary Art, a non-profit organization established in 1983 by art collector Dakis Joannou is dedicated to supporting contemporary art and culture. Its aim is to raise the profile of contemporary art in Greece, exemplified by the foundation’s innovative exhibition program, often featuring pieces from Dakis Joannou’s astounding collection of contemporary art–one of the most important in Europe–including works by Kippenberger, Basquiat, and Koons. The DESTE Prize was established in 1999 to support and recognize the work of young contemporary Greek artists. Held biannually, a six-member selection committee made up of Greek curators, critics, collectors, and artists nominate thirty-six candidates, from which six are shortlisted. A public exhibition presenting the finalists’ work ensues, and a five-person international jury presided over by Dakis Joannou will decide the winner. This year, the exhibition will be held at the Museum of Cycladic Art through September 30, with the winner announced on September 14. Marking the first collaboration between the Foundation and the Cycladic Museum, the prize coincides with the Museum’s ‘Young Views’ program, aimed at creating a discourse with the younger generation while involving the public in developments within contemporary culture and artistic production. Hoping to establish a space by which the dynamic exchange of ideas can take place, the partnership between a major gallery of contemporary art and major museum of historical Greek art and ancient artifacts makes this year’s prize an exciting one. The six finalists–a diverse group of artists–have all developed an aesthetic and conceptual language to observe the world around them. For conservatory-trained musi-

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Rallou Panagiotou, Company I (Calypso), mixed media, 2008

cian Athanasios Argianas, sound and metaphysical concepts expressed through structure and form have driven his work as a painter, sculptor, and composer. Abstract projects include a piece featuring vocalists performing a vocal canon around a moving sculpture, created with Nick Laessing for the Serpentine Gallery, London, illustrating Argianas’s innovative and systematic approach to his constantly evolving practice. According to Yorgos Sapountzis, the intermediate space between public monuments

and the private domain is the foundation of his own investigations. Undertaken through video, performance, and fragile, roughly-assembled sculptures, perhaps influenced from his time in eminent installation and performance artist Rebecca Horn’s studio at the Berlin University of the Arts, the core of Sapountzis’s ‘artistic interventions,’ is the premise that “Public monuments that celebrate rather than reflectively undercut a culture suppress the very question of memory, which they were supposed to raise.”


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Left to right: Yorgos Sapountzis, After Electricity, the remains of a start, performance, 2007; Athanasios Argianas, Proposal for reading consonants (one copper silver), mixed media, 2008

In the case of Rallou Panaigiotou, the spectacle of human life is expressed through the building of ‘stages,’ with an interest in the sculptural process and its interplay with situation. Often bordering on installation, like Sapountzis, there is a theatrical element to her sculptural pieces. “Through reference to personal memory, as well as to a great extent art history, I stage situations of psychological ten-

ture–are vague in meaning. Dark undertones bubble to the Technicolor surface, and unexpected placements of images against an abstract soundtrack narrate stories which displace, confuse, yet captivate. Like Epaminonda, images from the past play a major role in painter Eirene Efstathiou’s work. However, Efstathiou, who paints from found source material, treats these images as

lis Vlachos, who composes narratives through the collection of archival material, though his drawings, collages and sculptures are completed with a methodical adherence to the research process. Thought-provoking and highly political, Vlachos’s architectural drawing and models made of grey cardboard produced to the scale of 1:50 are based on buildings chosen according to the date of de-

Eirene Efstathiou, Fences, Neighbors, Wars, Decadence, oil and acrylic on wood, 2007

sion, isolation, loss of power, or luxury. The works seek a balance between peak and decadence, often using symbolic replacements and formal juxtapositions,” Rallou explains. Moving away from the sculptural is visual artist Haris Epaminonda. Ephemeral montages, from paper collages to edited videos piecing together archival footage from Greek and Cypriot soap operas and movies from the Fifties and Sixties, produce surreal, otherworldly tales that–due to their fragmented na-

historical documents that reflect, annotate, interpret, and refute the past. Efstathiou attributes her childhood with two television channels as key to her appropriation of sources, her views on the media, and her aesthetic development. The tension between source material, the time they existed, and their incarnation as present-day artworks reflect the concerns of memory, nostalgia, loss, ideology and conflict Efstathiou confronts. Continuing the historical theme is Vange-

sign and construction, such as the Piraeus Tower which was designed during the military dictatorship of George Papadopoulos. With the caliber of artists on show, all of whom have an established presence internationally as well as numerous participations in various Biennales, the finalists’ exhibition promises to be an intriguing insight into Greek contemporary art and how it is developing both locally and abroad. Stephanie Bailey May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY 97


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Café culture

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our years ago, Melbourne-based writerdirector Stephen Helper was on the lookout for a theme for a multicultural arts project, when he came across some old rebetika albums among his wife’s record collection. “I saw these pictures of old rebetes in the fish markets, or somewhere in Piraeus and thought, ‘these are real people and they must have a story’,” Helper recalls. “My wife, who has a Greek background, had the albums from before I met her and we’d never really played them. I started listening to the music and immediately was hooked. It was fantastic and very accessible; so unusual, yet so beautiful. It intrigued me and made me want to find out more of the history and who these people were.” What began as an arts project exploring Australia’s cultural diversity took the theater veteran on a journey through the underbelly of 1930s Greece and one of the most fascinating periods of Greek musical history. He also found the music very much alive in Melbourne–eighty years and more than 9,000 miles away from the urban slums and Piraeus hash dens where rebetika thrived.

Stephen Helper

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Tony Nikolakopoulos

“I set out to find collaborators and people who knew about the music and it built its own momentum,” says Helper, who received a grant for the project from the Australia Council for the Arts. In April this year, the curtain was finally raised on his theatrical production, Café Rebetika, for its premier season at the Victorian Arts Centre, Melbourne’s pre-eminent theater venue. Set in a teke (hash den) in Piraeus in the mid-1930s where people escaped their lives through rebetika, the show is a love story that weaves in elements of the sub-culture of the times, with a colorful cast of rebetes, refugees, prostitutes, and manges. “It is really about the history, it is about this time and place and what happened there. It is set in Piraeus just as Metaxas was coming into his own. There was so much going on…the rise of communism and unionism and the fallout from the catastrophe of 1922…you could create a hundred shows from all this history there are so many facets.” Performed in English, with songs in the original Greek, casting presented some unique

challenges, requiring performers who knew enough Greek and could sing and act as well. The cast of seven includes accomplished theater and television actor Tony Nikolakopoulos (Head On, The Wog Boy) in the lead role of Stavrakas, the Zorba-esque café owner. Helper was fortunate to be able to do most of his research in Melbourne, where he not only had access to leading rebetika experts such as Stathis Gauntlett, but also could collaborate with rebetika exponents such as musical director Achilles Yiangoulli and the band Rebetiki, who perform and wrote one of the songs in the show. “I think outside of Greece there would be very few places you could put on a show like this. We did the show in Melbourne because this band of talented and informed musicians is here. In terms of their knowledge of the time and the history and, of course, the songs, they just have a great mental library of rebetika songs which was really great. We could develop the story with the confidence that no matter where the story took us there was bound to be a rebetika song that would apply.” Helper hopes the show–and the music– will reach a broader audience in Australia and beyond. “If I can get into it, then there’s got to be a lot of other Anglos and non-Greeks who would really love this stuff and be interested in what this is all about and why these people wrote these songs.” Originally from Colorado, Helper has produced shows on Broadway and across Australia. His next gig is back on Broadway, directing and co-producing Syncopation, a play set in New York in 1913 about Jewish and Italian migrant workers who dream of being ballroom dancers. Victoria Kyriakopoulos


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haos precedes creation, at least, that’s what stories and myths that have shaped civilizations and cultures across the world seem to imply. From the great flood, that erased and rebooted a civilization, the Greek depiction of Chaos as creator responsible for the establishment of the gods, to science’s big bang theory, it seems only in pieces can things be assembled into coherence. Perhaps that is why there was something so invigorating about the chaos that took place in Athens in the autumn of 2007, when the city often regarded as the cradle of western civilization was metaphorically destroyed at the hands of curator Xenia Kalpaktsoglou, artist Poka-Yio and art journalist Augustine Zenakos, the trio known as XYZ, responsible for founding the Athens Biennale. The first Biennale, Destroy Athens, proved to be a dynamic cultural revolution within the contemporary Greek art scene. Featuring over sixty international artists, the aim was to dismantle the concept of art, culture and society and its brazen title gave organizers, curators and artists free reign to express–through any means possible– observations not only on Greek culture, but on the world itself and man’s place within it. In doing so, a chaotic and urgent attempt to erase a multitude of stereotypes afflicting contemporary art in Greece was made and consequently, a new image of Athens as a city and creative hub began to form. The second Athens Biennale, Heaven, which runs June 15 through October 4, will focus on the aftermath of the destruction instigated by Destroy Athens. With a title that contrasts the call to arms transmitted through the highly-charged inaugural Biennale, Heaven aims to evoke the contemplative calm that follows devastation. Designed by architect Andreas Angelidakis, the exhibition will take place in various buildings and public spaces along the coastline of Paleio Faliro; a far cry from the inner-city density of its previous host venue, Technopolis. Placing the event in proximity to water has not been accidental. A symbol of cleansing, purification, creation and rebirth, the event’s publicity image, a woman gazing out into the sea, is suggestive of what exactly the organizers are going for; composed reflection in times of uncertainty. Pondering the ideas of lost innocence, nature, ecology, utopias and ideal communities are seven curators, Dimitris Papaioannou, creative director of the 2004 Olympic Games opening ceremony and creator of Medea [2], artist Zafos Xagoraris, independent curator Nadja Argyropoulou, curators and writers Diana Baldon and Christopher Marinos, chief curator at Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Chus Martίnez, and Cay Sophie Rabinowitz; faculty member of Parson’s New School of Design. Again, the number seven appears deliberate. Destroy Athens was separated into seven sections, or seven ‘days’, reflecting the seven biblical days

it took to create earth. With such a clear narrative, the object is clear; whether Athens likes it or not, it’s time to be reborn…again. As most of the event’s details have been kept under wraps, expectation for the second Biennale has been mounting, though with the participation of more than one hundred international artists including unseen works by Ettore Sottsass, a project by Adrian Williams involving a ship anchored in harbor, and participation from 2005 Deste Prize winner Christodoulous Panayiotou, Heaven promises to be just as challenging as Destroy Athens. Having destroyed, demolished and dismantled stereotypes, space has been cleared for the discussion of possibilities and ideas, and in doing so, produced an opportunity for viewers and participants to enter into a discourse that not only looks at the world, but also analyses the position of contemporary art in Greece and where it is headed. Stephanie Bailey

amusements

Heaven can’t wait

Nikos Takis Fashion Hotel Panaitiou 26, Medieval city, Rhodes Gr 85100, Greece Tel: +30 224 10 70773 Fax: +30 224 10 24643 • info@nikostakishotel.com • www.nikostakishotel.com Right in the heart of Medieval Town of Rhodes, and just a few steps from the Great Magistro’s Palace, and the Knight’s street, you will meet the brand new “Nikos Takis Fashion Hotel”, which was recently created by the well known fashion designers Nikos and Takis.


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From the heart

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n the atrium of the Benaki Museum stand six regal horse figures, groupings of elegant horse heads and bold torsos and armor made of driftwood, metal, and cast bronze. Sculptor Alexandra Athanassiades is showing work spanning the years 2000-2009, thirty pieces in all, focusing on two subjects she loves: the human torso and the horse figure. The sculptures seem at home in the Atrium like in her garden and studio where they were created and exposed to the natural elements of wind, rain, and sunlight. The exhibit starts off with earlier works from the Father series she created in the late 1980s and 90s; two sculptures of wood and metal that beckon the viewer to touch, reflect on the pain, love, movement and life in each torso. Paying homage to her own father, Athanassiades created this series when her father’s life came to a tragic and violent end when he was assassinated in Athens in the late 1980s. Her resilience as a person is evident in her development as an artist moving from the closed torso figures, the sleek armor series to a series of torsos that have openings slightly flipping open in to the chest cavity, slits in several places expose the vulnerability and strength of what armor is there to shield from all: the heart. Her human torsos in several renditions from driftwood with metal to the cast bronze in lines reminiscent of clean straight Cycladic fig-

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Alexandra Athanassiades with her dogs; on these pages various works from her 'Horses' series

ures. Athanassiades takes a bold step playing with cast bronze for the first time. It is “a part of life that remains, the dialogue between spirit and matter that interests me,” she says commenting on the relationship between the fragility of wood and the durability of bronze, the invisible with the visible and her love of ancient Greek art. Six large silhouettes of wooden horses stand guard in the middle of the exhibit space, caught as if in movement, seemingly ready to scratch a hoof to the ground. The largest horse figure of all, aptly named Horse LXXV: The Gate, is about passages; reflecting what the artist is experiencing, opening up herself, moving beyond events and feelings to new areas of life. The Gate is the central part of her exhibit and it questions internal and external space, the relationship between the sculpture boundaries and the viewer who moves among them. One can actually walk through the body of The Gate horse figure and like the cave drawings in La Lascaux with the textured layerings of animals running in movement, Athanassiades’s horse sculptures are set up in groupings where one can see through the opening of the body, follow the curve of the next piece on to the next one a bit further back. “I wanted to show how we affect each other, we don’t live alone and the proximity of each piece in the exhibit reflects the relationship of one with the other and ultimately the viewer,” Athanassiades says. Dr. Malcolm Wiener, Trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York who has followed Athanassiades’s work for a decade


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said “these works speak powerfully to the contemporary consciousness, in their fragile beauty and their longing to be whole, and in their desire to capture the enduring spirit of humanity.” Serendipity played a part in how they met. While trying to avoid getting soaked on a rainy stormy day in Manhattan, Weiner walked in to Kouros Gallery on Madison Avenue where Athanassiades’s sculptures were on display and he immediately bought a piece. Since then Wiener has had a keen interest in the development of her artistic talent. Christine Kondoleon, Senior Curator of Greek and Roman Art at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston says “Athanassiades’s monumental full bodied horses stand guard at the Benaki Museum tossing their heads, at once phantoms and bodily presences, transparent and yet firmly absorbed by us, her appreciative viewers.” Kondoleon describes the sculptures at the Benaki exhibit as standing “close to the sculpture of the American artist Cy Twombly who has lived in and around Rome most of his life and engages on a deep level with antiquity. They share a passion for the line as a medium for expressing form of shaping space, and creating intense somatic experiences.” Athanassiades reflected on the circle closing for her regarding the series of torso sculptures. In her garden before the exhibit, she stood by the Horse-The Gate and said “the more fear is created around us, inside of us the more violence is created to (toward) each other, if you feel part of this world you have less chance to move toward hatred. The less closed you are the more open you are to possibility.” While her work seeks communion with the viewer in an esoteric way; the Father torsos, the Armor series and the Horses reflect an artist who struggles to find balance between the private and the public expressions of fragile time.

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Athanassiades’s work was recently exhibited at the Benaki Museum and she has had solo and group showings in Paris, New York and in Delphi and Athens in Greece. Her work is in many private collections. Amalia Melis

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Women without men

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hirin Neshat has spent her career dissecting the social, political, and psychological dimensions of women’s experience in contemporary Islamic societies through video, photography, and film, attributing her fascination with the subject to her own life. Iranian-born, Neshat went to the United States to study in 1973. Six years later, the Islamic Revolution took place and Neshat was effectively exiled, an experience that pushed her to art. “The reason I became an artist was this absence of resolution between me and my country,” Neshat explains. “It began as a way of facing my own personal anxieties and helped me deal with my situation.” This personal way of making sense of life events also influenced Neshat’s freestyle approach to her craft. “My ideas and concepts decide what medium I should use,” Neshat explains, admitting the approach can be risky as she often chooses a medium she has never worked with before. Nevertheless, Neshat views this as an extension of her development both as an artist and as a person, considering “the idea of starting over again a very familiar topic, as I constantly have to adapt to cultures, situations and cities.” The result has been nothing short of breathtaking, with her breakthrough photographic series Women of Allah achieving monumental status. A pivotal point in Neshat’s career came in 1990, when she returned to Iran after twelve years. Carrying a strong nostalgia, Neshat was confronted by the cruel realities of life in the country after the Islamic revolution. “Coming from an individualistic society like the United

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States, it was a huge shock,” Neshat remembers. “Iran had changed beyond my recognition.” Consumed with questions related to the drastic changes she had witnessed, Neshat began to visually navigate the complexity of the revolution and its broad impact on Iranian society–particularly on women–a theme evident in her latest exhibition Women without Men, at the National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST) in Athens through May 31. The exhibition presents two of Neshat’s seminal works; Video installation Turbulent, first shown at the Venice Biennale in 1998. Dis-

secting the relationship between men and women in Islamic society, Turbulent acts as a prologue to Neshat’s opus magnum, Women without Men, a feature-length film divided into five segments. Based on a book of the same name written by exiled Iranian author, Sharnush Parsipur, whose entire literary oeuvre is banned in Iran, the book narrates the lives of five women who experienced social, cultural, and political oppression in Iran around the year 1953, when democratically-elected prime minister Mohammad Mossadegh’s attempt to avert a coup d’état mounted by American and British forces failed. For Neshat, the fight for democracy in 1950’s Iran was not unlike the

struggle for independence Iranian women were experiencing. The intensely psychological portrayal of women retains the mystic realism characteristic of Iranian poetry that was employed in Parsipur’s novel and each segment of the film relies heavily on fragmented rhetoric loaded with symbolism and ambiguity. Favouring mood over narrative, with an emotive soundtrack and camera work that sweeps over entire frames, lingering on chosen subjects, Neshat creates a certain voyeuristic accent to the film, heightened by the notable lack of translation for a number of the Farsi dialogues. On multiple levels, the idea of being an outsider is explored through the viewer as a foreigner, the storytellers Neshat and Parsipur as exiles, and the five women as outsiders within society. Nevertheless, Mahdokt’s insanity, Zarin’s damaged vulnerability, Munis’s passiveness, Faezeh’s naivety and Farokh Legha’s accomplished arrogance eloquently communicate the fight to achieve an elusive freedom. Putting the spotlight on the female experience, the five stories transcend nationality, evident in the first film, Mahdokt, which opens with a direct reference to Sir John Everett Millais’s iconic painting of Ophelia singing before drowning in a river. Driven to madness by Hamlet’s own insanity, the Ophelia reference reminds the viewer that although the five segments feature Iranian women in a very specific historical period in Iranian history, many of the themes and issues raised in the work are universal and ongoing. Stephanie Bailey


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Gastronome By Gourmed.gr

THE BEST INTERNATIONAL GREEK MUSIC CHANNEL GREEK HITS TOP 10 BY MAD

This Is Our Night Σάκης Ρουβάς

Περαία Μου Stereo Mike

Αν Είσαι Εσύ C:Real

A flowering of flavor The artichoke has featured in Greek cuisine since Roman times. A flower rather than a vegetable, it features in a number of dishes, both as a main ingredient and as a complement to various meats. Artichokes on the table are a sign spring has arrived. Artichokes stuffed with roasted red peppers and feta

Ανάποδα Μιχάλης Χατζηγιάννης

8 very large globe artichokes 3 roasted red peppers, peeled and drained 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped 1/2 cup ground walnuts 1 1/2 cups crumbled Greek feta pinch of thyme 2 Tbs of ouzo

Πυροτεχνήματα Έλενα Παπαρίζου

1/4 cup olive oil salt and pepper to taste

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8 tsp plain bread crumbs (optional)

Clean the artichokes according to the directions in the article “Artichokes”, but leave the very tender inner leaves around the base intact, so that the cleaned artichokes are like a cup. Cut away the stems and snip the base so that the artichokes can sit upright. Scrape away the hairy pink choke. Drop the cleaned artichokes into lemon water to keep the from discoloring. Place the peppers and garlic in a food processor and pulverize them until they become a loose paste. Remove from the processor and place in a bowl. Next, add the walnuts and pulse on and off until they are fine and mealy. Remove and add to the peppers in the bowl. Toss in the crumbled feta, the thyme, the ouzo, and the olive oil. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil and blanch the artichokes for about 4-5 minutes, just to soften. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in an oiled, ovenproof glass baking dish. Fill the artichokes with the pepper mixture. Sprinkle, if desired, with breadcrumbs. Bake the artichokes in a preheated oven at 350°F (170°C) for about 25 minutes. Remove and serve.


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Artichokes with shrimps and marjoram

Lamb with artichokes and fava beans

12 artichokes

olive oil

2 kilos lamb (leg or blade pot roast)

2 dry onions

2 tbs fresh or 1 tbs dry marjoram

8 artichokes

2 garlic cloves, grated

½ bunch parsley

500 g fresh fava beans

500 g shrimps, No 3

salt, pepper

2 onions

500 g potatoes Clean the artichokes, cut them into thin slices and leave them in water with lemon. Finely chop the onions and cut the potatoes into thin slices or into small balls with the special parisienne spoon. Sauté in some olive oil the garlic, onion, potatoes and artichokes. Add salt and pepper, add some water or vegetable broth until it covers the vegetables and boil over medium heat for about 30 - 40 minutes. Clean the shrimps and sauté them in some olive oil with the marjoram. Add salt and pepper and add them to the cooked artichokes and leave over the heat for 2-3 minutes for the flavors to blend. Garnish with finely chopped parsley and serve.

4 fresh onions 2 garlic cloves 1 bunch dill 1 cup white wine 1 tbs. thyme ½ cup olive oil juice of 2-3 lemons 2 tbs corn flour ½ cup fresh cream or yoghurt

Chicken and artichoke stew with egg-lemon sauce Heat the olive oil in a large pot and brown the chicken in batches over high heat. Remove with a slotted spoon. In the same pot, add the scallions, lower the heat and cook until wilted.

Artichokes a la Polita 10 artichokes 150 ml of olive oil 3 Tbs cut fresh dill 1/2 kg small potatoes 2 or 3 sliced carrots 15 small, whole onions 2 or 3 lemons 3 Tbs chopped spring onions salt, pepper to taste Clean the artichokes. Drop them in salted water, containing a little lemon juice to prevent browning. Peel the onions and potatoes and put them whole in another pot of water. Prepare all the other ingredients. In the hot oil of a large pot, lightly sauté the whole onions and the finely chopped spring onions, only until they begin to change color. Then add 2 cups of water, the carrots and dill and cook for ten minutes. Add 1 more cup of water and the juice of 1 to 1 1/2 lemons. Use the rest of the lemons to rub the artichokes. After all the ingredients have boiled, add the potatoes, well washed, and the artichokes placed in the pot with the stems pointing upwards. Add salt and pepper. Then cover with a round piece of oiled paper, cut to the size of the pot and with a hole in the center. Cover the pot (the artichokes must be almost covered with water) and let the meal simmer for almost one hour and until only oil remains as juice.

Clean the fava beans, boil them for 5 minutes and peel them, clean the artichokes and cut them in four and put them in water with lemon. Sauté in the olive oil the finely chopped dry onions with the garlic, add the meat cut into servings and add salt and pepper. Add the thyme, pour over the wine and add some water or meat broth. Leave over medium heat for 1 hour and then add the artichokes and fava beans. Leave for another half an hour until the meat is tender. When cooked, stir in the fresh cream or the yoghurt half a cup of cold water, the lemon juice, the fresh onions, the finely chopped dill, the corn flour and add the mixture to the pot. Leave for another 5 minutes over medium heat and serve.

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil 10 scallions, coarsely chopped (up as far as possible on the greens) 1 large stewing chicken, cut into serving pieces 8 large globe artichokes, cleaned water or light chicken broth ½ cup chopped fresh dill ½ cup chopped fresh parsley Salt and pepper to taste 2 large eggs fresh strained juice of 2 large lemons

Place the chicken back in the pot. Season with salt and pepper and add enough water or broth to cover. Cover and bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 50 minutes. Add the artichoke hearts and herbs to the pot, and toss gently to combine. Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, and additional water or broth if necessary. Cover the pot and simmer until the artichokes are tender, about 30 to 35 minutes. Whisk together the eggs and lemon juice in a medium-size metal bowl. Take a ladleful of pot juices and add them to the egg mixture in a slow steady stream, whisking all the while. Pour the avgolemono into the pot, remove from heat, and tilt pan so that the sauce is evenly distributed. Serve immediately. Note: Although the taste of frozen artichoke hearts comes nowhere near that of the freshly cleaned hearts, you might opt to use them for convenience’s sake. If that is the case, they need less cooking time than the fresh ones, about 15 minutes, so adjust recipe accordingly.

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Oenophile THE BEST INTERNATIONAL GREEK MUSIC CHANNEL GREEK HITS TOP 10 BY MAD

Χαρταετός Κόκκινα Χαλιά

Wine with a blush

Μέρες Που Δεν Σου Είπα Σ' Αγαπώ

Rose, once considered a half-measure between reds and whites by wine purists, has always had a faithful following, especially among those wine drinkers who appreciated its light, crisp taste that went well with almost any dish. Roses are now making a comeback and Odyssey’s resident oenophile Fotios Stamos takes a look at these rose-colored glasses on the table.

Γιώργος Σαμπάνης & Ραλλία Χρηστίδου

Πάνω Απ’ όλα Μύρωνας Στρατής

Δεν Κάνω Διακοπές Goin' Through Feat. ΝΕΒΜΑ

Πρόσεχε Σταύρος Νταντούς & The Los Tigainos

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I

t is evident that rose is making a come back amongst wine lists and wine shops across the globe. At one point during the Fifties and Sixties, rose was ‘the’ choice of wine for consumers. Rose has kept its presence and demand in the European markets, but began losing its popularity in the United States when one of the winemakers at the Sutter Home winery in California came across a unique problem. During the mid1970s, there was an abundance of red grapes but white grapes were very scarce, something that diverted winemakers from producing white wine from red grapes. The problem that had occurred at the Sutter Home winery was the fermentation for white wine from the Zinfandel grape was getting ‘stuck’. For some reason, the yeast was dying off before all the sugar was converted into alcohol. This reaction resulted in a sweeter pink wine that was later put on the market for sale. The white zinfandel craze spread like wildfire throughout the U.S., and many wineries began introducing their versions. The supple and sweet flavors of white zinfandel were pleasant, and the wine was instantly accepted as a premier choice.

This phenomenon hurt the sales of dry rose and sales began to steadily decline. Over the next couple of decades, as wine became the trend amongst alcoholic drinks, consumers became more familiar with styles and characteristics. The media and various wine publications made a tremendous impact on consumers, educating and informing them on the wonderful world of wine. It is no secret that the balance of rose wine has characteristics and attributes that makes it such a versatile wine for any occasion. In my opinion, I could have rose any day of the week and still be intrigued and interested in it. Rose gives you the best of both worlds while obtaining its own identity. Its delicate structure gives off pleasant fruit and floral aromas while obtaining a combination of soft and crisp flavors of berries and hints of zest. There is a misconception of how rose is produced, but there are several approaches that are practiced amongst oenologists around the world. The first method of producing rose wine is called ‘skin contact’. Red grapes are crushed into a vat where the skins are left in for a short period of time, roughly


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two or three days. The grapes are then pressed again and the skins are removed. Typically, the skins are left in for the production of red where the wine obtains all of its berry flavors and tannins. Depending on the color and flavor the winemaker is trying to achieve determines how long the skins are left in. The second method of producing rose is called Saignee, which basically means bleeding of the vats. This method can be used when red wine production is in progress, some of the juice is removed from the vat at an early stage. This process does two things: one is that it intensifies the red wine and second, it produces rose wine from the bleeding right from the same vat. Another method that is used and believed in by many, which is the blending of both red and white wine to produce rose is uncommon and rarely used by professionals but occasionally

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used by knowledgeable consumers who seek to balance the flavors and aromas of a white or red that doesn’t meet their preferences. Usually the release of current vintage roses are a sign that spring is here. Roses are ideal for cool but yet warm weather that can be enjoyed right through summer and fall. Rose is probably one of the few wines 2008 Palivou ‘VissinoKipos’ Rose: Produced from 85 per cent Agiorgitiko and 15 per cent Syrah, this rose has about twelve hours skin contact. The color resembles the sour cherry cordial, or vissinada, and boasts flavors of strawberry and some dry cranberries. Balanced with a long finish. 2008 Gaia 14 – 18 Rose: Produced from 100 per cent Agiorgitiko, this selection has between fourteen and eighteen hours skin contact. This rose is light and refreshing with subtle fruit flavors and a citrus finish.

that can be enjoyed with practically with just about anything and everything. It has just enough components to be enjoyed with meats, poultry, pork, seafood, and great sauces. And of course those moments, where you just want to kick back and have a glass of wine on your balcony. Some of the most reputable regions of the world that produce exceptional rose wines are, France, Spain, Italy, and in my opinion and that of other wine experts, Greece. Unlike other countries, almost every region of Greece produces amazing rose wines from their local grape varieties. The grapes that are commonly used for roses in Greece are Agiorgitiko from Nemea, Xynomavro from Naoussa, and Kotsifali from Crete. These three grapes produce aromatic and flavorful roses that carry a combination of crisp and berry flavors from start to finish. If there is ever a chance that you see a rose selection from Greece on a wine list, I highly recommend that you try it. Here are some of my rose recommendations that have just been released that deserve a chance in your glass that would retail under O $20 a bottle in the United States.

May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY 107


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Prime sites ODYSSEY

The new Acropolis museum website

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Selected properties in western Crete

Australian Blog about Greek food, Lifestyle, Travel and Photography

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Olympic Airlines official site

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A web site connecting Hellenes and Philhellenes around the world as well as useful information about the Hellenic community.

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The Hellenic Radio Portal


homecomings

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Home is where

riving to her Greek dance lesson the other night, my seven-year old daughter, Theodora, caught site of Apollo Muffler. She mused to me, “Mama, you know, I am very proud to be Greek. Look–that place is called Apollo. He was the Greek god of music. We’ve invented all these things that people still use even in Canada.” I tried to contain my excitement. I didn’t want to overdo the enthusiasm and make her think about her newfound ethnic pride too much. These sincere and innocent expressions won’t be made so unselfconsciously for much longer. Secretly, I rejoice that the endless arguments over Greek dance lessons and Hellenic Language School are demonstrating their worth already. In my heart, however, I know the main reason she is becoming more invested in her culture is because of our recent trip to Greece. In the summer of 2008, my husband Theodore, who was born and raised in Patras, and I packed up our three kids, aged seven, four, and ten months, and made the long trek from Calgary to his home. The kids were fantastic on the flights–nine hours to Frankfurt, a six-hour stopover, three hours to Athens, followed by the three-hour drive to Patras– each way. I mention this because I know you are wondering. Everyone wonders about the flights more than the actual trip. To be fair, it is a long itinerary–almost twenty-four hours from start to finish. For my husband, home is Greece. After twenty years in Canada, he still yearns for his homeland more often than not. I am still not sure whether the explosion in internet and satellite television access to Greek culture, not to mention the prevalence of affordable long distance plans and increased number of phones in Greek households, has helped to keep him connected, or if in fact it has hindered his adoption of Canada as home. It seems to me that previous immigrants adapted to their new homes more readily precisely because communication with and from the motherland was so limited, although perhaps this was offset by their romantic attachment to a Greece that had long ceased to exist. Now there is no romanticism. Everything is laid bare for the world to see. For me, too, Greece is a kind of home, having spent several summers there as a child. But it isn’t exactly home. I don’t quite fit in with the locals, though I am as much one of them as not. Home for me is Calgary, Canada, and more specifically St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church–the Hellenic community I was raised in; the same one my children now attend their various Greek religious and secular programs at. It is a pleasant mix of Greek and English, a small village unto itself with all the petty hostilities and boisterous exuberance I witness in my dad’s town, Gastouni. But there is no denying that I can’t go more than a couple of summers with-

110 May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY

out visiting Greece. I feel a connection to her, Ellada, and to our family there. However tenuous that connection becomes with the passage of time, when I arrive, the swell of heat, the peculiar scent of diesel and ocean and blossoms mixed together, the sight of blue sea set against blue sky all welcome me into her unique embrace. I am not a stranger to her. I am just as much her child as those she raised herself, hers by blood and in spirit. Can a mother choose favorites among any of her children? This was not Theodora or Dimitri’s, the four-year-old, first trip to Greece. This was Theodora’s third and Dimitri’s second, though he was his little brother Gerasimos’s age the last time we went. Seeing the country through our children’s eyes now that they were old enough to form opinions and express them was like visiting anew for both Theodore and me. “Why do they paint that stuff on the schools?” Theodora asks as we drive by the graffiti-riddled junior high school in downtown Patras. “It makes it ugly. Don’t they know that?” “Why are the swings here made of rotten wood? Kids could get hurt,” says Dimitri. “Why is it so loud? Why do the motorcycles make that whiny noise? Why don’t the cars stop for the walkers? Why does everyone drive so fast? What is that smell? Why do all the yiayiades wear black? Why don’t any of the papoulides? Why are there so many churches? Why is there garbage on the beach? And on the sidewalk? Don’t people know littering is bad? Why does everyone smoke? Don’t they know they could die? Why doesn’t anyone wear a motorcycle helmet? Don’t they know they could get brain damage? Why? Why? Why?” My husband and I would alternate between bemusement, amusement and awe that our passionate health warnings had actually taken root in them. Why, indeed? But it wasn’t all negative. In fact, they rejoiced in meeting and playing with all forty of their second cousins. In Calgary they have a total of six including both sides. They reveled in their great aunts’ and uncles’ attentions, delighted in the sand and ocean waves, gluttonously inhaled their basic dietary requirement of three ice creams a day. Theodora made friends easily, pushing through her laborious Greek until one day, she was fluent. Though we speak some Greek at home, we have admittedly become lazy about it since the older children started school and have asked more complicated questions. How far she had come in two months, since that first day at the park when a local Patras boy venomously called her an Albanian. To the credit of her Canadian multicultural upbringing, she did not pick up on the fact that it was meant as an


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homecomings

the bed is

By Irene Karras

insult. She just considered it an honest mistake. “Eime Ellinida,” she told him in a distinctly non-Greek accent, “apo to Canada,” succinctly summarizing her place in the world. And mine. Dimitri, however, refused to speak Greek at all. Instead, he taught his friends and cousins English. Self-conscious about his inability to communicate, he often used Theodora as a translator–until we got back home. The day after we arrived, he began reciting the alpha-beta, counting to twenty, responding to his other grandparents in Greek and admonishing his baby brother with “Ohi, Simos. Kako.” In other words, it stuck. Greece is my ancestral home, my spiritual home, even. But Canada is where I was born and raised, educated and employed. I feel confident navigating its systems and inclement weather, depressing though it is in the middle of winter. It has been good to me, to my family. A safe and predictable harbor, clean, kind, stable. A good place to raise a family. My home, for all intents and purposes. The place my loyalty ultimately lies. But what Canada does not have that Greece does for me is the largeness of living, the fullness of a balanced life complete with extended family, yiortes, and expressed emotion. It’s not always pretty, but it’s always real and alive in a way our northern home is not. Canada is the nice guy with the decent job whom you marry and weather life’s storms to have a decent and fulfilling union with. Greece is the artsy musician who gets into your head and heart and under your skin in a way that scares you sometimes and still makes you flush a bit years later, even though you suspect any long-term relationship would have ended in utter disappointment, if not tragedy. For the sake of ease, and in considering what is likely best in practical terms for the five of us, Canada remains our long-term permanent residence even if Greece beckons to us like Odysseus’ Sirens in the sea. And not unlike Odysseus, we carry our version of Ithaca within us, laboring to return to our homeland and to pass on some of our love for it to our children, who are third generation Canadians on my side. For them, Greece is a wonderful place to visit, a land of myths and ancient superheroes known as gods, a plethora of churches and people who for the most part continue to look like them and believe what they believe, a cultural experience. As much as they love their family there, their beach-time and extended curfews, for them, home is really here, where their mother and father provide for them, where they are surrounded by all they have known in their short lives. One of the sweetest parts of traveling is returning to your own house and seeing it anew, appreciating it more. Upon coming home, the first thing Theodora and Dimitri did was each go to their own rooms, ready to decompress individually for awhile after two solid months of consistent togetherness.

Dimitri crawled under his sheets, and sighed deeply. “Greece was fun, mama, but I missed my bed. I missed home. Home is where my bed is.” I hugged him, inhaled the scent of his little boy skin, and realized that for me, Greece verses Canada is an old issue. Home is where their little arms and precocious insights greet me. Home is where our unique amalgam of Grenglish, spanakopita with cheeseburgers, and Greek dance lessons followed by skating lessons are normal, routine. Home is here, there, anywhere we are together. Home is where our beds are. To spiti mas. Home.

O

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‘More investors are recognizing that it pays to be socially responsible’

monologue

Dimitris Pazaitis says invest in Greece Despite the global economic crisis, investor interest in certain sectors remains quite strong. As the first stop of choice to most incoming investors, Invest in Greece Agency, the Greek government’s inward Investment Promotion Agency, keeps close to the pulse of investment interest and activity. This allows us to identify trends and tendencies in the making. Pursuant to our recent experience, investors who can withstand the short-term liquidity issues and who appreciate the opportunities created by a deflation of entry price are stepping forward. Renewable energy and commercially applied environmental technologies are two of the current front-runners. Undoubtedly, the high priority given to these sectors by many governments around the globe, including the Greek government, is helping this phenomenon. In contrast, some highly capital intensive manufacturing activities have shown signs of stagnancy.

Dimitrios Pazaitis was appointed Chief Executive Officer to Invest in Greece Agency S.A. in March 2007 and also Chairman of the Board in April 2009. Prior to his appointment as Chief Executive Officer of Invest in Greece Agency S.A., Dr. Pazaitis was Financial and Investment Advisor to the Greek Minister of Economy and Finance. His various positions in the private sector focused on business development in both Greece and Belgium and international management consulting with McKinsey & Company. Dr. Pazaitis holds a Ph.D. in optimization techniques from Imperial College, London, an MBA from INSEAD, Fontainebleau with emphasis on strategy and finance and an MEng in electrical and computer engineering from Aristotle University, Thessaloniki. He speaks English, Greek, French and German.

A principle investment driver has been, and continues to be, the future and size of the market demand for a particular good or service. Investors are now seeking greater stability, together with access to larger, regional markets. Additionally, a well-trained and qualified workforce is a huge plus as it saves on training costs and time. Greek entrepreneurialism and the flexibility to think out-of-the-box has been a well known, strong characteristic of Greeks, both within Greece and abroad. Furthermore, we are fortunate to be the more advanced economy in Southeast Europe as well as a leading investor in this part of the world. As such, we have become a favored choice as the regional headquarters of hundreds of companies looking to tap into the broader region’s market of 140 million people. Our government’s commitment to encourage investment through a concerted program of measures, including tax incentives and cash grants, helps foster the right investment environment. At the end of the day, investments are effected to maximize a return to the shareholders. Fortunately, more and more investors throughout the globe, including of course Greece, recognize that it pays to be socially responsible. It makes good business sense to give back to the community as you rely on those stakeholders to absorb your goods and services. In Greece we are fortunate to have an abundance of green energy potential; the leading sources being solar, wind, geothermal, tidal, and biomass. The government has identified this potential as one to be encouraged, not only for the obvious environmental benefits of coal substitution, but also as it assists the country in diversifying away from imported sources. This policy has translated into one of the best combinations of investor incentives: cash grants and highly attractive feed-in tariffs. The Government of Greece has made tremendous progress in creating a new framework within which investors can obtain tailor-made investment incentive benefits while enjoying the stability of operating in a Eurozone country. Furthermore, an investor can harness the skills of Greece’s excellent human resource pool as well as easy access to the markets of Southeast Europe and the Middle East–with which Greece has had a very long history of trade and investments. It is no surprise that most FDI has occurred in Greece post 1989, after the liberalization of the economies of Southeast Europe.

By virtue of its natural resources and historical endowment Greece offers excellent prospects in upscale and value added tourism investments, including increased opportunities in agro-tourism, religious tourism, sports tourism and health tourism. Greece is also witnessing a surge in the production of exclusive, high-margin organic products. On a more leading-edge note, Greece is also attracting a great deal of investment activity and interest in commercializing the R&D innovations of its technology institutes and research facilities. In this past decade original patents have surged in microchip design, biotechnology products, and software. The existing and increasing talent pool has been attracting additional investment and partnerships in these sectors as well. In all, Greece has built on its tradition of adaptive entrepreneurship while building on its competitive advantages of location, people and endowed resources to catapult into the segments and niches meant to address needs of the future. We are excited to help catalyze this process!

O 112 May/June 2009 I ODYSSEY


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