Zakynthos

Zakynthos

Zakynthos, the third largest of the Ionian Islands, covers an area of 410 square kilometres and its coastline is roughly 123 kilometres in length.
The terrain is varied; there are fertile plains in the southeast
ern part, which merge gently into peaceful bays and golden beaches while the western side of the island is mountainous with steep cliffs along its coasts.
The mild, M
editerranean climate and the plentiful winter rainfall presents the island with dense vegetation. Olive oil, currants, grapes, citrus fruit are principal products.The capital, which has the same name as the prefecture, is the town of Zakynthos -apart from its official name it is also called Chora-.
According t
o a 1991 census, the island has a population of 35.000 inhabitants

Νavagio.

A renowned beach at the eastern part of the island, situated near the village of Anafonitria. Crystal clear waters breaks on a white sandy beach, where the rusting hulk lies half-buried. Imposing cliffs, eroded by wind and sea, descend behind it completing a spectacular picture. The wreck happened in 1983 and the cargo was contraband cigarettes. The beach is only accessible by boat. There are daily boats leaving from the port in town or from Porto Bromi.

Ag.Nikolaos.( Volimes)

Ag. Nikolaos is a small bay in the beautiful natural surroundings of the Volimes region, 30 km north of Zakynthos town. Offshore is lying the barren islet of Ag. Nikolaos. The deep waters of the bay are excellent for swimming and its small port is always busy with sailing and fishing boats. From here the visitor can take a boat trip to the nearby

Blue Caves.

These maritime caves are situated at Aspros Vrahos of Krimnos, on the Skinari cape, which is the most northern part of the island, 35 km from the town of Zakynthos.
The biggest of the caves is the famous Blue Grotto which entrance was discovered in 1897.
In the deeper caverns, the visitor has the feeling that everything under the waters -the rocks, the keel of the boat, the body of a swimmer- reflects a bright blue hue.

You can visit the Blue Caves by boat from the nearby port of St Nikolaos.

Laganas

Vacations spots on the island. It is situated on the south coast, just 11 km from the town of Zakynthos. The sandy, 9 kilometers-long beach -the longest in Greece- in combination with the intense nightlife, attracts large numbers of tourists every summer. Laganas bay embraces three small islands, namely “Pelouzo”, “Marathonisi” and “St. Sostis”. It offers a great selection of shops, taverns, bars and restaurants. A wide range of water sports facilities is also

Caretta-caretta’s nesting area

by Iris Plioni

Advertisements

Olympic Games

Olympic Games

The History of the Olympic Games

The first Olympic games at Olympia were held in 776 BC. According to Hippias of Elis, who compiled a list of Olympic victors c.400 BC, the only event held at the first Olympics was the stadion footrace. Scholars have speculated that the games in 776 BC were not the first games, but rather the first games held after they were organized into festivals held every four years as a result of a peace agreement between the city-states of Elis and Pisa. The Eleans traced the founding of the Olympic games to their King Iphitos, who was told by the Delphic Oracle to plant the olive tree from which the victors’ wreaths were cut.

The Olympic Games were a constant in ancient Greece. The games were even held in 480 BCduring the Persian Wars, and they coincided with the Battle of Thermopylae. Although the Olympic games were never suspended, the games of 364 BC were not considered Olympic games because the Arkadians had captured the sanctuary and reorganized the games.

After the Battle of Chaironeia in 338 BC, Philip of Makedon and his son Alexander gained control over the Greek city-states. They erected the Philippeion (a family memorial) in the sanctuary, and held political meetings at Olympia during each Olympiad. In 146 BC, the Romans gained control of Greece and, therefore, of the Olympic games. In 85 BC, the Roman general Sulla plundered the sanctuary to finance his campaign against Mithridates. Sulla also moved the 175th Olympiad (80 BC) to Rome.

The games were held every four years from 776 BC to 393 AD, when they were abolished by the Christian Byzantine Emperor Theodosius I. The ancient Olympic Games lasted for 1170 years. If the Modern Olympic games last that long, they will still be held in 3066 AD!

A Chronology of the Addition of Events to the Olympic Games

According to the tradition of Hippias of Elis ca. 400 BC, the events of the Olympic Games were added to the program in the following order.

Year Olympiad Event
776 BC 1st Olympiad stade race
724 BC 14th Olympiad double-stade race
720 BC 15th Olympiad long-distance race
708 BC 18th Olympiad pentathlon
708 BC 18th Olympiad wrestling
688 BC 23rd Olympiad boxing
680 BC 25th Olympiad 4-horse chariot race
648 BC 33rd Olympiad horse race
648 BC 33rd Olympiad pankration
520 BC 65th Olympiad race in armor
408 BC 93rd Olympiad 2-horse chariot race

The Olympic Games and the Greek Calendar

The Greek calendar was based on the conception of the four-year Olympiad. When Greek historians referred to dates, they most often referred to a year (i.e., first, second, third, fourth) within the Olympiad that the event occurred. The winner of the stade race in a given year had the Olympiad named in honor of him. The first Olympiad is therefore known as that of Koroibos of Elis, the winner of the stade in 776 BC.

The Internationalization of the Olympic Games

From the beginning, the games at Olympia served to strengthen the Greek sense of national unity. During the Hellenistic period, Greeks who came to live in foreign surroundings such as Syria, Asia, and Egypt, strove to hold on to their culture. One of the ways they did this was to build athletic facilities and continue their athletic traditions. They organized competitions, and sent competitors from their towns to compete in the Panhellenic games.

In the 2nd century A.D., Roman citizenship was extended to everyone within the Roman empire. After this point there were many competitors from outside of Greece, and the Olympic games became more internationalized.

When the Greek government reinstated the games in 1896, this international character of the competitions was preserved by Baron de Coubertin . Now, 16 centuries later, the Olympic games attract competitors from countries all over the world.

by Patula Golfi & Apostolopulu Sotiria 

Patras

Patras (the city where we live)

Patras’ history according to written tradition

Patras’ history was known until recently only by written tradition. According to it, Patras was founded by the Achaeans of Sparta who, headed by Preugenes and his son Patreus, came here after being forced out by the Dorians. But similarly the Achaeans of Argos, also forced out by the Dorians, headed by Tisamenos, occupied the eastern Achaia, after besieging Eliki. Up to then, the whole of Achaia was named after the Ions and was called Ionia but was also called Aegialos, either because it was named after the king of Sikyona, Aegialus, either because the whole region spreaded all along the coast (aegialos). The Ions firstly took to Athens and from there to Asia Minor where they founded twelve cities, the Ionian Dodecapolis, in remembrance of the twelve cities they had left behind.

Preugenes and Patreus made three Ionian market towns into one. Those three were Aroe, Mesati and Antheia and having as center Aroe they founded a new city that they called Patres after Patreus. The city’s name was in the plural because of the unification of many settlements. The oldest of these three market towns was Aroe. Its founder was Eumelos who, helped by Triptolemos of Eleusina, introduces the cultivation of grains. Eumelos and Triptolemos later founded Antheia, which was named after Eumelos’ son, Antheias. Finally, at the market town of Mesati, they worshiped god Dionysus.
According to another tradition, Eurepelus, Euemonos’ son, king of the Thessalie, heading the Thessales after the Trojan War, he founded a colony at Aroe.
After the Mycenean period and as Patras geographical position was at the periphery of Greece and quite far from the big urban centers of that period, such as Athens, Sparta, Corinth, Chalkide etc., this city does not play an important role in the significant events and the political evolutions that occur in the rest of the country. It does not found colonies, neither is it active in the Persian wars, the Peloponnesian war and the conflicts of the 4th century BC. The initiative of all movements of that era belongs exclusively to Eastern Achaia. On the contrary, after 280 BC, Patras plays a significant role in the foundation of the second Achaian League together with the cities Dyme, Triteia and Pharai and the initiative of the political movements is transferred for the first time at the western Achaia. Later on and after the roman occupation of Greece, in 146 BC, Patras plays the main role and Augustus founds here a roman colony.

Patras’ inactivity in the political field up to 146 BC seems to be the cause for which only those events linked to other big cities are referred by great ancient historians and not those events of local importance. So, we know that even Patras did not take part in the Peloponnesian war (431-404 BC), Alkibiades proposed to the inhabitants of this city to construct the Long Wall to link the city around the acropolis to the port

THE FORTRESS OF PATRAS

The fortress of Patras was built during the second half of the 6th century, on top of the ruins of the ancient acropolis. It is situated on a low hill of Panachaikos Mountain, at a distance approximately 800 meters from the coast. Its walls surround an area of about 22725 s.m and is constituted by a triangle outer enclosure, loaded with towers and ramparts, initially protected by a deep moat, and an inside enclosure that raises high in the NE corner and is also surrounded by a moat.

It was built by Justinian, after the destroying earthquake in 551 using material from buildings of the B.C. era for the defence of the region and its citizens. In the centuries that followed and up to the Second World War, it has been in constant use for the defence of the city, but also as an administrative and military centre.

During the Byzantine Ages, until the entrance of the Franks (1205) it was besieged by the Slaves, Saracens, Bulgarians, Normands etc, though without any of them achieving to besiege it. In 805 AD the people of the city were besieged in the castle by the Slaves and the Saracens and their victory, attributed to a miracle of the Patron Saint Andrew, was important for the restraint of the barbaric invasions in the Peloponnese.

The Frank Crusaders developed it, reinforced it and dug a moat all around. In 1278 it was mortgaged to the Latin Archbishop while in 1408 the Pope ceded it for five years against a rental to the Venetians. It remained in the hands of the Latin Archbishop till 1430, when it was set free by Constantine Palaiologos. Constantine moved on to extension and repair of the walls.

It was slaved, during the Turkish Occupation and it passed in the hands of the Greeks in 1828, after its liberation by the French General Mezon.

Since 1973 the Castle is under the supervision of the 6th Committee of Byzantine Antiquities. In the dismantling theatre (640 seats) that lies at the interior enclosure, cultural celebrations take place every summer.

The building phases that are obvious on the castle are evidence of the work that has been made from the various conquerors for its repair and fitting in the development of the fighting technology.

In a special notch on the wall, it is graved the body and the head of a male statue of the Roman Ages. This disfigured statue gained extraordinary dimensions in the eyes of Patras’ people. It became the ghost of the city, “Patrinella”. Tradition says that it was a woman disguised into a man during the Turkish Occupation that preserves the city against epidemics and cries in the night, when one famous personality of Patras dies.

ACHAIA CLAUSS

On a green-clad hill, eight km SE of Patras’ centre, are located the facilities of ACHAIA CLAUSS winery, distinguished as one of the topmost tourist sites of the region.

Its founder, Bavarian Gustav Clauss arrived in Patras in 1854 to work in a German company dealing with exportation of raisin. During an excursion, he visited this region that charmed him with its natural beauty. He bought a small vineyard just to produce some wine for self-consumption and he ended up to the establishment of this Castle-Winery that survives intact till now. In 1861 he founded ACHAIA CLAUSS Co and the excellent quality wines, including Mavrodaphne of Patras, conquered both Greek and international market.

The stone-made buildings, the large oaken carved barrels with one century-old Mavrodaphne, the traditional cellar where visitors are welcomed as well as the unique landscape with the breath-taking view attract approximately 200.000 visitors per year.

“APOLLO” MUNICIPAL THEATRE

“Apollo” Municipal Theatre is located on King George I Square and is considered as the most impressive architectural ornament of Patras, while it is one of the first opera theatres in Europe. It was built on 1872 according to the designs of the German architect Ernst Ziller, with the financial contribution of Patras’ merchants.

It has three rows of boxes and seats dressed with red velvet, gallery and pit. Since its first year of operation, Patras’ people had the opportunity to enjoy opera performances of great composers such as Verdi, Apolloni, Puccini, Ricci, Donizetti, Bizet, as well as performances of operettas. Later on, the theatre’s stage hosted major Greek theatrical troupes, such as that of Kotopouli, Myrat, Kyveli, Plessas, while during Carnival it has been the venue of dancing parties and masked balls. So, in the 50’s it was identified to the organization of famous and unique in Greece “Bourboulia”.

The Municipal Theatre is since 1988 the permanent venue of the Municipal and Regional Theatre of Patras, which stops performing only during Carnival, when tradition imposes the beginning of balls and, of course, the “Bourboulia”.

SAINT ANDREW’S CATHEDRAL

The two churches dedicated to Patras’ patron Saint, St Andrew, constitute a national and Pan-Orthodox place of pilgrimage. The small Church was erected during the 1836-1843 period at the spot where Apostle Andrew died a martyr. It is a basilica work of architect Lyssandros Kaftantzoglou. The whole body icons on the roof depicting scenes from the Bible, Fathers and Patriarchs are works of the great religious painter Dimitris Hatziaslanis, alias known as Byzantios. At the front and on the right side of the Church, near the sanctuary, is located the marble sepulchre of the Apostle. In the mid-4th century, on the initiative of Emperor Constantine, the Holy Relics was transferred to St Apostles’ Church in Constantinople. When the Franks occupied the city, the Relics were transferred to Italy. On September 26th 1964, the Saint’s Head returned to Patras by Pope Paul and after the actions that the citizens of Patras and the Orthodox Church took.

The new magnificent Byzantine church was founded in 1908 by King George I and inaugurated in 1974 by Patras’ Metropolitan Bishop Nikodimos.

It is the largest and most artistic church in the Balkans and one of the largest across Europe. The supervision of the construction works was initially undertaken by architect Anastasioa Metaxas, and after his death (1937) by architect Georgios Nomikos. The Church’s central dome is 46m high and supports a five meter high gold-plated cross and twelve smaller ones, symbolising Jesus and his twelve disciples respectively. The church’s capacity is 5.500 persons.

by Patrula Golfi 

Ouzo

Ouzo

Ouzo is a globally famous Greek drink-aperitifIt is an anise-flavored liqueur that is widely consumed throughout the country. Ouzo is exported throughout the world and Ouzo is one of Greece’s most sought after products.

The name dates back to the late 19th century, but is of uncertain origin. Many claim the history of ouzo – in one form or another – may date back to ancient times. Its precursor is raki, a drink distilled throughout the Byzantine and later Ottoman Empires.

The production of ouzo began at Greece in the mid 1850’s and flourished at the end of the 19th century the Plomari in Lesvos. Modern ouzo distillation largely took off in the 19th century following Greek independence, with much production centered on the island of Lesbos which claims to be the originator of the drink and remains a major producer. In 1932, ouzo producers developed the method of distillation using copper stills, which is now considered the canonically proper method of production.

Ouzo starts as a strong spirit made from pressed grapes or raisins. Other herbs and berries may also be added at the fermentation stage. The distinctive smell of ouzo comes from the addition of anise (or star anise) as a flavouring, but other ingredients, varying according to the producer, are also used; common ingredients include coriander, cloves, angelica root, liquorice, mint, wintergreen, fennel, hazelnut, cinnamon and lime blossom. The alcohol and flavourings are placed in warmed copper stills and distilled; higher-quality ouzos may be distilled several times. The resulting spirit is stored for a few months, and then diluted, usually to around 40% ABV.

When water or ice is added to ouzo, which is clear in color, it turns milky white; this is because the etheric oils are soluble in alcohol but not water. Diluting the spirit to less than around 40% ABV causes it to separate into an aqueous and an organic phase, whose fine droplets scatter the light.

The crystals sometimes seen in ouzo served cold are crystalline anethole, the constituent of anise aroma.

All the visitors of Greece have tasted ouzo and have transferred to their countries their best impressions it.

Ouzo drinking for Greeks is an art, and also a way of life. In modern Greece ouzeri can be found in nearly all cities, towns, and villages. Every cafe in Greece from the most modern to the most traditional, serves ouzo. The key to drinking ouzo is to eat mezedes– appetizers such as octopus, salad, sardines, calamari, fried zucchini, and clams, among others. It is traditionally slowly sipped (usually mixed with water or ice) together with mezedes shared with others. These keep the effects of the alcohol from overwhelming the person who can sit and drink slowly for hours in a profoundly calm state of mind.

This well known aperitif, according to the European Union Law (1576/1989) has been accepted and established as a Greek product, and so Greece is the only country that has the right to produce it. Nowadays in Greece there are almost 300 different ouzo producers, with exports of € 2,4 millions of value.

Ouzo is one of the quality Greek products that will be denatured at the 1st International Conference on Greek Gastronomy and the Greek Food and Beverage Industry.

By Dermitzaki Maria

Corfu

Corfu

Corfu is one of the most popular islands and attracts every year thousands of visitors. It is the northerly island of the Ionian Group and lies at the entrance of the Adriatic Sea. It is the second largest island of the Ionians.

Corfu, the wooded isle of the Phaeacians, Odysseus’ last stop on his long journey home to Ithaca, is the best known of the Ionian islands. It owes its sophistication and charm to the meshing of the different civilizations that have occupied the island and to the natural beauty with which it is so abundantly endowed. On this cosmopolitan island, you’ll be able to combine relaxation with good times and a full nightlife, and at the same time enjoy the diversity of Corfu’s spectacular natural scenery and its countless picturesque little villages.

The capital of the island is also called Corfu (Kerkyra). It is the largest town of the Ionians and one of the most beautiful towns in Greece and perhaps in the world. It is built on a promontory that projects into the sea and is separated into a northern and a southern section. East of the northern part lies the Old Fortress, cut off from the town by a moat.

corfu3.jpgThe town of Corfu is made up of completely dissimilar elements, left over from different civilizations. It presents an enchanting picture with its broad streets and spacious squares, the popular Spianada contrasting with its narrow back alleys paved with blocks of stone (known as “Kantounia”), the famous Liston, a French arcade, traditional Georgian mansions, a Byzantine church, Venetian monuments, balconies with wrought-iron railings and window grilles.

Out of Corfu Town, 600 square kilometres of countryside awaits exploration. Here you will encounter natural becorfu2.jpgauty characterised by lush vegetation, pristine beaches, traditional villages and unpretentious people, as well as tourist resorts with luxury hotels, restaurants, little tavernas and bars suitable for every occasion. . Despite the fact that tourism is flagrant in the coastal areas, it hasn’t spoiled yet the many mountainous villages of the island that have managed to keep their authenticity and their local colours. Wander around this countryside, and lose yourself on the roads and tracks which lead to Corfu’s past, as well as to its future.

more details: http://www.corfunorth.com

Souvlaki

Souvlaki

Souvlaki (Greek: Σουβλάκι) is a popular Greek fast food consisting of small pieces of meat and sometimes vegetables grilled on a skewer. It may be served on the skewer for eating out of hand, in a pita sandwich with garnishes and sauces, or on a dinner plate, often with fried potatoes or pilaf. The meat is traditionally pork in Greece and Cyprus, or in modern times increasingly chicken. In other countries and for tourists, souvlaki may be made with other meats such as veal, lamb and sometimes fish (especially swordfish).

The terminology of souvlaki and its variants is confusing and inconsistent. Depending on the context, the term ‘souvlaki’ by itself may refer to any of the variants. In some regions and some restaurants, the name shish kebab is used to denote a particular variant of souvlaki[citation needed] (e.g. with vegetables on the skewer), but it is essentially a synonym. In many regions, primarily Athens and the south of Greece, a gyros sandwich is nicknamed a ‘souvlaki’.

The word souvlaki is a diminutive of souvla (skewer), itself ultimately derived from the Latin subula (awl).

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 1/2 pounds of pork shoulder, cut in 3/4 inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon of ground Greek oregano (rigani)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons of red wine (or good red wine vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
PREPARATION:In a bowl, pour wine (or vinegar) and oil over the pork and toss to coat. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and oregano, and toss again. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Note: If using vinegar, do not marinate longer than 2 hours or the meat can absorb too strong a vinegar taste. If using wine, the meat can be marinated for up to 2 days as long as salt is also used.

Using 8 inch skewers, thread approximately 6 pieces of meat on each. This should make about 12 skewers.

Grill the meat turning until well browned, about 15 minutes. Serve on the skewers with a squeeze of lemon.

Note: If using a gas grill, use wooden skewers. If using a charcoal grill, use metal skewers. If broiling in the oven, use either, but wooden skewers should be soaked in water for several minutes before using.

Yield: serves 3 (4 skewers per person) as a main dish.

As a meze: To prepare this recipe as a meze, use smaller skewers (5-6 inches long) and put 3-4 pieces of meat on each to make approximately 20 skewers

The ALPHABET of ITALY

ItALy FrOm A To Z

Art

Michelangelo, Botticelli, Giotto are just a few names of our many Italian artists. Our country is known throughout the world for the wonderful works that can be seen in many cities!

BootsThe shape of our peninsula refers to a boot!

Champions of world Well, there is little to say … enough to remember the night of July 9, when the sky above Berlin was painted of Italian blue!

Dante Alighieri Is a famous author from Florence, his work is world famous! The DIVINE COMEDY is studied in schools! Do you?

 

European Union We are part of the European Union! Just like you!

Ferrari In addition to knowing how to run behind a ball we also run with these wonderful racing cars!

Ischia Is a beautiful city on the sea … where you can see beautiful sunsets

Lemons A unique product! A fruit of our land and our sun


MilanCapital of fashion and represents a major economic centre!

Naples The city of sun, sea and sympathy ..

Olive oilA good product!

Pizza Pasta The images speak for themselves, these two products are the base of good Mediterranean nutrition

Quirinale The headquarters in Rome, of our President of the Republic Giorgio Napolitano

Rome The magical capital with all its history fascinates million of tourists

Sun And See These two elements together are Greece and Italy

TricolourOur flag

Leaning Tower The famous tower of Pisa! As we see unlike normal towers this one is lop-sided!

Venice A very romantic city

Wine One of our best products