Friday, September 30, 2011

Marine Expedition in the Red Sea

A Greek team of divers and researchers from the Hellenic Center for Marine Research has been invited to join an international initiative to explore the depths of the Red Sea. The exploration project is especially fascinating because scientists discovered an area of the Red Sea 2,000 meters below sea level whose conditions have not been seen by humans on the surface of the earth for millions of years.

The Kaust Red Sea Expedition (as it is formally called) is sponsored by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and is set to conclude in 2012. Scientists in the program are currently conducting research on oceanography, geography, biology, and zoology of the Red Sea. The Greek team in particular focuses on the phenomenon of underwater lagoons, which were first discovered in the Aegean.

Source: Greek News Agenda

Museum Conference Held in Athens

On September 27 and 28, the Benaki Museum in Athens joined forces with the Embassy of the United States in Athens to host a conference which focused on new technology and social media use in museums. Titled The Networked Museum: New Media and Innovative Ideas for Audience Development in Museums and Cultural Institutions, the conference focused on new ways in which technology can be used in museums to enhance visitor experiences. These forms of technology can range from cell phone tours on smartphones to enhanced museum websites.

Nancy Proctor, head of Mobile Strategy and Initiatives at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and Allegra Burnette, Creative Director of Digital Media at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, were keynote speakers. The conference was held as part of the Cultural Envoy program, which aims to bring cultural events to new audiences.

Source: Greek News Agenda

Monday, September 19, 2011

17th Annual Opening Nights Film Festival in Athens

From September 14-25, film enthusiasts will be delighted by the events of the 17th Annual Athens International Film Festival 'Opening Nights'. Founded in 1995 by the Athens Film Society, this festival was created to showcase independent films and films that may not attract mainstream attention.
This year, the 'Opening Nights' program will feature documentaries, midnight screenings, premiers of large-budget movies set to come out later in the year, and two competition sections. The two categories of the competition section are the International Competition and the Film and Music Competition. Five tributes and retrospectives will also complement this year's program, including a tribute to Japanese director Yasuzo Masamura and a retrospective with focus on Norway.

For more information, please visit: or

Opera in the Streets

In Athens, a new initiative is bringing opera out of music halls and theaters and into the streets! During the month of September, soloists and choristers from the Hellenic National Opera ride through the city on city tour buses performing excerpts from such famous operas as La Traviata and La Boheme. Native Athenians and tourists alike can hear the beautiful music from 6:30pm-8:30pm each evening until October 2.

This unusual performance concept is part of a larger program of events organized by the Hellenic National Opera in conjunction with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the City of Athens. Other highlights from this program include a tribute to the late Maria Callas on the day of her death, September 16.

For more information, please visit:, or the direct site of the Hellenic National Opera at

Harvard University Honors Greek Culture

The Department of Classics George Seferis Chair of Harvard University has recently founded an award to celebrate success in Greek culture. This award, titled the International Award for Greek Culture, was the brainchild of Professors Panagiotis Roilos and Dimitris Yatromanolakis. Awards are given to winners in three categories: poetry, prose, and essay or scientific paper. While entries to both the poetry and prose categories must be in Greek, the essay or scientific paper may be written in Greek, English, Italian, German, French, or Spanish as long as it refers to an aspect of Greek culture. Beginning next year, a fourth category, that of music or musicology, will also be added.
This year, the deadline for submissions is September 30. Winners will be announced sometime in November and will be honored at a ceremony in December at the Athens Concert Hall.

For more information, please visit: or

Monday, September 5, 2011

Have You Visited the Islands of Greece Yet?

Both CNN and travel website have recently touted the wonders of Greece's islands. Whether you enjoy sunbathing, cycling, water sports, walking, gastronomy, or history, the 2,000 islands of Greece have something for you! compiled a list of which islands are best for which activity. While popular destinations such as Crete and Rhodes are among the islands mentioned, there are also several lesser-known islands highlighted in the list.

For sunbathers:
Crete, Lipsi, Skiathos, Kefallonia, Mykonos
- recommends Frangokastello Beach in Crete for its picturesque setting next to a Venetian castle, as well as Koukounaries Beach in Skiathos.

For history buffs:
Rhodes, Delos, Corfu, Patmos
- Rhodes is known for its medieval walled city which boasts the 14th-century Palace of the Grand Masters. On the island of Patmos, visitors can see the grotto where Saint John penned the Book of Revelation.

For walkers and hikers:
Crete, Naxos, Alonnisos, Skopelos
- In Naxos, walking enthusiasts can follow paths through the countryside passing ancient ruins, Hellenistic architecture, and Byzantine churches. Hikes through Alonnisos and Skopelos lead adventurers through wooded forests and idyllic orchards.

For the environmentally conscious:
Zakynthos, Chios, Crete
These three islands promote eco-tourism and vacations that combine relaxation with environmental activism. In Zakynthos, visitors can volunteer with the Sea Turtle Protection Society to help preserve endangered wildlife.

So when planning your next getaway, consider maritime Greece, where there is sure to be an activity for everyone. Visit: to read the full article and to get more ideas for your next vacation!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Greek Cultural Events this Fall

This fall, the Embassy of Greece is pleased to announce a very exciting schedule of events to promote Greek culture in the Washington D.C. area and beyond.

This Saturday, September 3 at 9:33pm and Sunday, September 4 at 11:30am, WETA TV Channel 26 and WETA HD present the classic Greek film Never on Sunday starring Melina Mercouri and Jules Dassin. The film, presented in English, captures the essence of the Greek lifestyle and state of mind. Don't miss it! For more information, please visit:

On Wednesday, September 7, the Embassy of Greece and the Avalon Theater are proud to present the next installment in their monthly Greek film series, Panorama of Greek Cinema, with the comedic film The Cow's Orgasm. For more information, please visit:

Also on September 7 opens the exciting art exhibition by Greek artist Nefeli Massia titled "Remaking Realities" at the Inscape Gallery on the campus of Stevenson University in Greenspring, Maryland. This multimedia exhibition will run through October 29. For more information, please visit:

The Greek Embassy is proud to present further events in its two lecture series "Health, Nutrition, and Fitness" and "Ancient Greek Theater". More information to follow!

And some more events to celebrate European unity and culture... On September 23, the Embassy of Greece will be participating in Europe Night, as well as Euro Kids week from October 14 to November 10, and the AFI-EU Film Showcase from November 3-22.

From November 5-12, the Embassy of Greece will also be participating in the Foto-Week DC Festival.

For more information, continue to follow our blog or follow us on Twitter @GreekCultureUS

Friday, September 2, 2011

New Research Shows that Greeks Had a Pre-Bronze Age Maritime Culture

An astonishing scientific discovery has recently proved that the Greeks had a thriving society long before the Age of Democracy. Researcher Nicolaos Laskaris of the University of the Aegean in Greece has been studying obsidian, a very hard volcanic glass, in the waters around the Greek island of Melos. Using new techniques for dating obsidian, Laskaris and his team have stumbled upon an amazing discovery: people had been mining the valuable rock from the Mediterranean around Melos as far back as 15,000 years ago!

Because of its durability, obsidian was frequently used to construct tools, particularly in the years before the Bronze Age. The use of obsidian tools and weapons spread through different parts of Greece. Obsidian tools dating back to 8,500 BCE were found in the Frachthi Cave in the south Peloponnese, far away from the island of Melos. However, geological testing proved that the artifacts found in the cave were in fact from Melos.

Laskaris and his team took this one step further, using two techniques called obsidian hydration dating (OHD) and secondary ion mass spectrometry of surface saturation (SIMS-SS), to prove that obsidian artifacts from Melos were actually making their way to mainland Greece thousands of years before scientists had actually thought, based on the findings in the Frachthi Cave. The key to the significance of the discovery lies in its implications: if obsidian mined from the waters around Melos was making its way miles away to the mainland and to other parts of Greece, how did it get there? Laskaris and other researchers have drawn the conclusion that pre-Bronze Age Greeks must have constructed a type of early boat to facilitate maritime transport.

For more information, visit: