Saturday, March 31, 2012

'CleanSpace One'

CleanSpace One is a robotic spacecraft capable of sweeping debris in space, expected to be launched in 2016. This is a project developed by both the Space Centre and the Federal Institute of Technology in Switzerland (EPFL). 

The new satellite will have sensors and cameras, in order to detect the target, and robotic arms that will be able to embrace any space junk. It will move at around 28.000 miles an hour. This project will solve the big issue of space debris around our planet, reducing the frequency of crashes in space. 

Friday, March 30, 2012

Weird Facts

-If you yelled for 8 years, 7 months and 6 days you would have produced enough sound energy to heat one cup of coffee.
- A cockroach will live nine days without its head before it starves to death.
- Banging your head against a wall burns 150 calories an hour.
- The flea can jump 350 times its body length. 
- Some lions mate over 50 times a day.

- Butterflies taste with their feet. 
- The strongest muscle in the body is the tongue. 
- Right-handed people live, on average, nine years longer than left-handed people. 
- Elephants are the only animals that cannot jump. 
- An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain.
- Starfish have no brains.
- Polar bears are left-handed. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Temple of Hephaistos, Ancient Agora, Athens

The Temple of Hephaistos (God of fire) is located in the Ancient Agora in the centre of Athens. It is a Doric peripteral temple. It has a pronaos (fore-temple), inner shrine and opisthonaos (rear temple), the best preserved of its type in the Greek world. It occupies the crest of the Kolonos Agoraios Hill and was designed by an unknown architect in honour of Hephaistos, patron of metal-working and Athena Ergane, patroness of pottery and of crafts in general. It is built mostly of Pentelic marble.

The east side, which faces the Agora, received special attention, having ten metopes showing the Labours of Herakles, whilst the four easternmost of the metopes of the longer north and south sides depict the Labours of Theseus. Due to the last depictions the Temple has been named 'Theseion'.    

Around 700 A.D. the temple was turned into a Christian church, dedicated to Saint George. Nevertheless, the last Holy Mass that took place in the temple was on the 2nd of February, 1833, during the celebrations for the arrival of King Otto in Greece. During the 19th century, after the capital of Greece moved from Nafplio to Athens in 1834, the site around the temple was used as a burial place for non-Orthodox Europeans, among whom were many philhellenes who gave their lives in support of the Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire. After being a museum from 1834-1934, it has reverted to its current status, that of an ancient monument, where by extensive archaeological research was allowed. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Byzantine Melodists

Byzantine Melodists is a newly established choir in the British Isles whose main objective is to promote Byzantine Chant as a distinct musical genre through concerts and workshops. It is made up of professional chanters and musicians (most of whom are chanters in Greek Orthodox Churches within the Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain).

Despite being a new choir it has had, already, numerous performances in various locations within the United Kingdom, including St. Clement's Church in Islington, St. Luke's Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Glasgow, The Hellenic Centre, whilst it is fair to say that a great moment for the choir was the Christmas performance at Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh, which is the Church that the Queen of England visits when she is in Scotland. However, the choir has also attended countless Vigils, Liturgies and Vespers not only in London, where its members are based, but also in other areas of Britain. 
The choir also has a site where one can see any news concerning the Byzantine Melodists. Additionally samples of previous performances are found there too.
(The videos here are from the choir's performance on the 25th of March 2012 at the Hellenic Centre, which was organised by the Peloponnesian Association of Great Britain, celebrating the Greek Independence Day).

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Greek Tourism supported by Greeks around the world!

Greeks from around the globe have teamed up in order to buy digital advertising in Times Square in order to  promote Greek tourism. This campaign has been possible through crowd-funding, and not by an official organisation, in order to help Greece and its economy. The digital ads are scheduled to appear from yesterday, 23rd of March, and run for 30 days. 
This whole project began by three Greeks, George Kleivokiotis, Stathis Haikalis and Onik Paladjian, who have achieved their goals with help received by many more Greeks from around the world, in order to assist Greece, which is going through a tough economic crisis. 
Tourism is an important part of Greek economy, estimated to account for up to 18% of Greek gross domestic product and 20% of employment.
The ads in Times Square have been made possible by donations, i.e. $20.352, from 333 people, including Greeks, people of Greek ancestry who live in other countries and friends of Greece. 50% came from Greece, whilst the rest of the amount was collected in Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, France, Germany, Italy, Holland, Qatar, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, U.A.E, U.K. and U.S.A.
This campaign, entitled "UP Greek Tourism", has a large following on Facebook, Twitter and on YouTube. This project is a noble cause, which could facilitate in the advancement of the Greek economy. Let us only hope that many more people are involved in causes like this one, so we can consequently battle the current devastating economic crisis in this ancient Mediterranean country.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Wikipedia has 'killed' the Britannica Encyclopaedia

After 244 years the Encyclopaedia Britannica has announced that it will stop its printed version for the first time, since its first publication. Future version of this historic encyclopaedia will be found in an electronic form. This was expected, due to the fact that we currently live in the digital age. 

The first Encyclopaedia Britannica was first published in 1768 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Many people will be upset with this new development. This emphasises the fact that in the near future we will not be able to find actual books in stores, instead we will be buying digital books.  

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Palestinian Genocide!

Not many states and people support the Palestinian cause, outside the Arab nations. The great powers of the West, and the up-coming powers of the East, support the powerful and nuclear state of Israel. However, the pictures which will follow show that Israel and the West, despite the constant remembrance of their past (i.e. W.W.II) through Hollywood and any other means of propaganda they have obtained, they seem to have used that experience in order to achieve total governance in Israel, by extinguishing and eliminating any proof of a Palestinian existence in the Holy Lands. 
Lets leave aside any political and economic alliances, the pictures show how brutal man can be against his fellow man. Past genocides, including the Jews in World War II, or the Greeks and Armenians, early 20th century, or even the latest Genocide in Rwanda (1994), have not taught man to be more 'human'. On the contrary, it seems that we are becoming more like 'animals', despite any technological and other improvement and evolution that man has achieved. We can only hope for a quick resolution of the Palestinian issue, making these instances of brutality a thing of the past. 
The pictures on the left are from Germany (1940), whilst the pictures on the right are from Israel 2009. It is terrifying seeing the similarities between the two instances.  

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Futuristic electric guitar

Digitar is an electric guitar without any strings, designed by Formquadrat. It uses a touch-sensitive surface to allow the musician to produce sound, having many modern features and up to date technological products, i.e connectivity with social networks and being possible to download various educational  tracks. However I do not believe that this new innovative product will have the same feel with the traditional electric guitar..!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Chernobyl radioactive cloud

The following video, made by French scientists, presents a map revealing the path followed by the radioactive fallout after the Chernobyl accident. The animated graphical representation shows the spread of the radioactive cloud that travelled over Europe, Asia and Africa between April 26th, 1986 up to May 9th of the same year. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

In what extent are the religious differences between the Muslim Minority and the Christian Majority in Western Thrace the basis for political and social differences between the two communities?

The relations between the two worlds, The Christian and the Muslim, have since 9/11 come to the forefront of world politics. However this interaction between the two is not a recent one, especially when one examines the history of the two religions in Europe and Asia. The problems of coexistence and power politics restrict the two communities from living together peacefully, especially when analysing a region such as Western Thrace, located in the North East part of Greece and where a “small but politically significant population of about 120.000 Muslims”[1] flourish and which are a key issue in political debates as a problematic group of people, emphasising the regional troubles for both Greece and Turkey. This minority has a historical and political significance both for Greece and the Balkan region, being different from the ‘modern’ Muslim minority in the country, which comes and goes and which acts in a different manner to the one found in Thrace.          
            Greece acknowledges the Muslim minority, although it denies “the existence of ethnic minorities”[2] in its territory. This is the case due to the Treaty of Lausanne which especially talked about the minorities within Greece and Turkey in religious terms. Ethnicity was not relevant then. But today, identity and nationality have been revived as a fundamental issue in world politics and society. This is where the problem lies in this specific region. The case of the ‘Turkish’ minority in Thrace “is a peculiar case where the tensions of transnationalism and nationalism intersect and where boundaries are continuously created and negotiated”[3]. What is disregarded is the fact that the Muslim minority consists of people of different backgrounds; people who originate not only from Turkey (as Turkey states) but also people who are Pomaks, Albanians and Roma.

            Religion is exploited for political and social reasons. This is a main factor especially since the 1950s when the minority has converted into an ethnic one, claiming a common Turkish identity. The Greek government acknowledges this movement as a political game which has started from Turkey and is constantly being evolving with the contribution of the Turkish Consulate in Komotini. This is why “for the Turkish minority, only its religious aspect is accepted to figure in the public domain, whereas the right to collective identification as ‘Turkish’ is banned”[4].   This practice deprives the Muslim minority, which consists of several ethnic groups, of its freedom of existence and self-determination, which is a violation of Human Rights, which Greece has signed.
            This case emphasises the violations of Human Rights within Europe. (Violation of Human Rights is another major theme, where we see many Western countries violating them in order to increase their economic and political wealth, example the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the intervention in Libya –whilst still not intervening in other Arab nations).   Nevertheless, it also points out the political and social problems, whilst emphasising instability in the Balkan region, especially the bilateral relationships between Greece and Turkey. “In 1955, the Greek authorities themselves described the minority as ‘Turkish’. But when Greek-Turkish relations deteriorated, the Greek authorities refused, and continue to refuse, to allow the minority to use this adjective”[5]; due to these practices the European Court of Human Rights have ruled against Greece in many occasions. But this issue should not only be seen by one side. Turkey has violated minority rights, it has expelled Christians from its territories and has moved in a similar manner to that of Greece’s. The best solution is for both sides to stop the discrimination which prevail, unfortunately, even to this day.  Saying this it is important to state here Article 5 of the 1975 Greek Constitution which states that “All persons living within the Greek territory shall enjoy full protection of their life, honour and freedom, irrespective of nationality, race or language and of religious or political beliefs. Exceptions shall be permitted only in cases provided for in international law”[6]
            Due to the political instability within the region other problems occur. One key issue is the election of the Mufti. “The institution of the Mufti has become a political issue causing tension between the state and the minority and even among the minority members themselves”[7].  In Greece today a unique case is witnessed, where in Xanthi and in Komotini there are two Muftis in each region. One is elected by the Greek state and the other by a small number of Muslim activists. Greece’s view on this matter is that since the Mufti is not only a religious leader and figure but also carries out judicial duties and family law matters, therefore he is a civil judge. This means that the state is responsible of appointing the Mufti and not the minority. This case has recently become a political one. Since the 1920s until just recently the appointment of the Mufti by the state was not a problem. Iris Boussiakou states that “Islamic law provides that in non-Muslim states the Mufti can be appointed by the state as the government does not interfere in the religious duties of the Muslims.[8]” The Greek government clearly does not violate this but is concerned about the judicial rights that the Mufti obtains; this is why the civil courts have to re-evaluate the decisions taken by the Mufti, to certify that they conform with human rights norms.
            The case of Thrace is a unique one within Europe, since it is a region where Turkish politics integrate, making it a major problem for bilateral relations between Greece and Turkey.  The Muslim Minority is in a way brainwashed to thinking that it is Turkish, forgetting that they also consist of Albanians, Roma and Pomaks. Understanding that the Balkan region is a vulnerable one then one can identify the significance of this action. The Greek state observes these actions as aggressive and a threat to its territorial integrity. The ‘Big Idea’, a theory which each state in the Balkans had and still have which expresses the imperialistic and expansionist views and policies of each state, still prevail in this region. This problem arises when the Greek-Turkish relations deteriorate. The Muslim minority is a constant “source of diplomatic tension between Greece and Turkey”[9].  The importance of the Muslim Minority in bilateral relations was emphasized with Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s (the Prime Minister of Turkey) visit to Athens when he asked “for the recognition of the elected Mufti by the Greek government”[10].
            Socially the minority issue has produced many problems for the region and for peace within Thrace, between the Muslim and Christian communities. Although these problems are significant and important it is evident that today in Greece these communities are expressing their views through political parties, for example “ASPIDA”[11] which is the political party of the Greek Roma.  Also the two major political parties in Greece (PASOK and New Democracy) have Muslim representatives, which emphasise their integration into Greek society.
            Religious differences between the Muslim Minority and the Christian Majority in Western Thrace are the basis for political and social differences between the two communities. It is a key issue in Greek-Turkish relations and a regional Balkan issue between the Christian and Muslim states within South-East Europe. Religion, identity and ethnicity are elements manipulated by the two communities and through them policies and relations are built or destroyed. Unfortunately “ethnic and religious disputes continue. Greece complains about Turkey’s alleged mistreatment of the Greek Orthodox Church, headquarter in Istanbul, and Turkey protests Greece’s alleged mistreatment of its Muslim populace, whom Turkey refers to as ‘Turks’”[12]. The Greek media has during the past years analysed this matter, seeing its complexity, without being able to find an easy and satisfying solution to this chronic topic. After analysing the many aspects of this question I believe it is imperative to try and find a solution which would help the two communities and evidently the two states, Greece and Turkey, to solve any bilateral problems they have. Questions like the following need urgently clear and valid answers, why does Greece do not recognise the Muslim minority as Turkish, Albanian, Roma and Pomak? Why does Turkey want to implement its ideologies and policies in an allied state? How are the two communities involved in this dispute and how does it affect daily life? These are obviously quite pressing questions and they underline individual issues within the greater interfaith and international relations, experienced by the members of the local communities in Western Thrace. Reasonable, justifiable, legally binding and socially acceptable answers will be the only way forward for the well being and the prosperity of the communities involved, as well as for a stable Balkan region, leaving in the past the hostilities between the Muslims and the Christians in this part of Europe.

[1] Anagnostopoulou Dia, “Development, Discrimination and reverse discrimination: effects of EU integration and regional change on the Muslims of Southeast Europe”, in Islam in Europe- Diversity, Identity and Influence, Aziz Ahmed and Effie Fokas (eds.), (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2007), p. 155
[2] The Constitutional Rights and Minorities in the Balkans,, 12.59 p.m., 09/06/2010
[3] Madianou Mirca, ‘Contested Communicative Spaces: Rethinking Identities, Boundaries and the Role of the Media among Turkish Speakers in Greece’, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies Vol. 31, No.3 (May 2005), p. 521
[4] Kyriakou Nikolas, European Centre for Minority Issues, , 16.32 p.m., 09/06/2010
[5] Hunault Michael, ‘Freedom of religion and other human rights for non-Muslim minorities in Turkey and for the Muslim minority in Thrace (Eastern Greece), Parliamentary Assembly Doc. 11860 (21 April 2009), p.24
[6] Trifunovska Snezana, Minority Rights in Europe-European Minorities and Languages, (The Hague, Asser Press, 2001), p. 479
[7] Boussiakou Iris, ‘Religious Freedom and Minority Rights in Greece: the case of the Muslim minority in western Thrace’, GreeSE Paper No21, Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe, LSE (December 2008), p. iii
[8] Boussiakou Iris, ‘Religious Freedom and Minority Rights in Greece: the case of the Muslim minority in western Thrace’, GreeSE Paper No21, Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe, LSE (December 2008), p. 12
[9] Miller P. Frederic, Minorities in Greece, (Mauritius, Alphascript Publishing, 2009), p. 64
[10] Antoniou Dora, ‘Kales Prothesis me ametakinites thesis’, Kathimerini (15-05-10)
(Translated from Greek: “ζήτησε να αναγνωρίζεται ο εκλεγμένος μουφτής από την ελληνική κυβέρνηση”.)
[11]Pavlou Miltos, ‘Racism and Discrimination against Immigrants and Minorities in Greece the State of Play’,  HLHR-KEMO National Focal Point on Racism & Xenophobia, (Annual Report 2007), p. 17
[12] Migdalovitz Carol, ‘Greece and Turkey: The Rocky Islet Crisis’, Foreign Affairs and National Defence Division Report 96-140 (7th March 1996), p.4

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Green Bookstore

Cafebreria EL Pendulo in Mexico City was founded in 1992. It is an urban getaway, offering the reader green environment and knowledge. It has succeeded perfectly, since it has numerous and various plants on its shelves.  Moreover, the intense green and red colours on the walls complete the picture of an artificial landscape, which relaxes the senses and facilitates the study atmosphere.

Also students and visitors enjoy here not only the serene studying atmosphere, but also a coffee and a snack. The store manager claims that knowledge is absorbed better in such an environment. We can only say that this is a great idea, which can be adopted by other book stores around the world.  

Friday, March 16, 2012

The historical route of ice cream

We owe gratitude to the Chinese for inventing the ice cream, around 2000 B.C., producing a mixture of lightly cooked rice, spices and milk, which were placed in the snow in order to clot. They later prepared frozen desserts based on fruit juices, with or without milk, whilst during the 13th century one could buy them on the streets of Beijing.

A century later they appeared in Europe, in Italy to be precise, brought by Marco Polo. During the 16th century there were warehouses full of snow to freeze the sherbet of the sultan, in Constantinople. In 1533 it appeared in France, where the impossibility of keeping the ice in the summer, resulted in the selling of ice cream at an astronomical price, because it was considered a luxury. Later, with the invention of the fridge and the freezer, ice cream took off, spreading worldwide. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Is the concept of ‘uneven and combined development’ useful for thinking about the emergence of the ‘international’?

States have always interacted in an international arena, especially in the modern anarchical scene. Development is uneven due to variations of culture, economy, geopolitics, politics and power, but on the other hand we observe that they coexist whilst keeping intact their individual societies. When referring to coexistence we also understand the relations and interaction between the states. From these we interpret that the social development is uneven and combined in the international anarchical system due to the ‘multiplicity of its instances’[1]. Furthermore there is interaction between societies and intra societies, i.e. relations with others, which are variably developed.
When talking about the international we have to understand that it does not refer to unconnected coexistence, for example the Byzantine and meso-American civilizations, nor the age of feudalism where we do not have distinct societies, or the intensely differentiated, intensely interactive development of 19th century Europe. What we today mean when we use the term international, as Rosenberg writes, ‘is a crystallization, in a particular historical form, of this wider attribute of social development – its generic unevenness. However, this divides scholars due to the fact that a social definition of international does not really exist. And yet it is defined by the ‘uneven character of social development’[2], meaning the interaction between states. Trotsky writes: Unevenness is the most general law of the historic process.

Through many historical examples, for instance Egypt and Rome, Trotsky identifies the essential provincial, episodic and even cyclical character. Many empires, civilizations, kingdoms have prevailed and declined, without interacting or making an impact on other societies, of their time; one could say that historical process was always uneven and combined.   
Capitalism, being the main economic system of the modern world has not abolished the uneven and combined development. Trotsky writes: ‘capitalism prepares and in a certain sense realises the universality and permanence of man’s development’.[3] He also points out the historical sudden expansion of interconnection, especially since the 19th century, where the external commerce and interaction prevailed. This is attributable to the existence of empires, for example the British Empire, and of the prevalence of imperialism.
Moreover there is a core-periphery division which explains the modern unevenness of development. The core capitalist states are the industrialized nations of Europe and North America. The periphery consists of actors which belong to the rest of the world and where a common practice is the extraction of wealth via violence and force. There is also the element of dependency, for example the way capitalist western states depend on each other, but also depend on non-capitalist states, to increase production, geopolitical security, economic stability and so on.  
Another factor is the mutual value towards products. This also means that cheaper labour is constantly desired by the private firms of capitalism, which is also achieved by the use of technical support and machinery. This explains why international industries move around the globe and obtain establishments in third world countries. We are also reminded of Marx’s ‘relative surplus value’. For the first time development becomes a universal essential of modern human society, especially when it is expressed through technical and scientific production. It introduces the idea of world market. As a consequence to all of these factors development becomes permanent, because of the global interaction that prevails.
‘In short, for Trotsky, capitalism did not just change the world: it actually changed the overall nature of historical change itself.’[4]Marx commented that capital had ‘produced world history for the first time’. But this doesn’t explain why states’ developments differ.
What we understand today is due to capitalism the uneven and combined development has become, as Rosenberg states, ‘a theory of modern world history’. This is the case due to the fact that many countries entered the sphere of capitalism later than others, according to the model the western world obtained, or due to the fact that many states, although existing and interacting in the international scene, are not capitalist. So we live in a world where combined development flourishes between capitalist and non-capitalist states. Marx reflects on the Russian development where he argues that ‘the asynchronous concurrency of Russian society with its more industrialized neighbours could be of decisive significance not just for Russia, but for the course of world development as a whole.’[5]
The international arena is based on the uneven development, which can clearly be identified through history; for example, we have the predominance of the USA and the collapse of the USSR. There is also the system in which the states coexist, the bipolar, multipolar, unipolar systems, the North and South division. These explain in depth the uneven environment of international relations, which changes in time but always exist (for example the hegemonic power of each epoch). This phenomenon ‘is not a side-effect of modern international relations but instead a property of capitalist development.’[6]     

[1] Justin Rosenbrg, International Relations- The ‘Higher Bullshit’: A Reply to the Globalization Theory Debate, p. 453
[2] Justin Rosenbrg, International Relations- The ‘Higher Bullshit’: A Reply to the Globalization Theory Debate, p. 454
[3] Justin Rosenbrg, International Relations- The ‘Higher Bullshit’: A Reply to the Globalization Theory Debate, p. 455
[4] Justin Rosenbrg, International Relations- The ‘Higher Bullshit’: A Reply to the Globalization Theory Debate, p. 456
[5] Justin Rosenbrg, International Relations- The ‘Higher Bullshit’: A Reply to the Globalization Theory Debate, p. 479
[6] Justin Rosenbrg, International Relations- The ‘Higher Bullshit’: A Reply to the Globalization Theory Debate, p. 475

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The well with 3.500 steps

The most impressive and deep well in the world is located near the small village of Abhaneri, in India, called Chand Baori, which means 'the well with stairs'. The area is known for its countless wells, built by the locals in order to collect rainwater, whilst most wells are made with hundreds of stairs. 

Chand Baori is 30 metres deep, consisting of 13 floors and 3.500 steps. Its construction dates from the 10th century, being one of the oldest wells in the world still in existence. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

New York Stairs

One of the attractions in New York, despite no one actually portraying them as such, were the stairs or ladders seen at most, if not all, the apartment buildings and buildings in general. 

We have all seen them in countless Hollywood films, being an escape route for the protagonist or the villain. However they have a unique aesthetic feel, being a characteristic feature of cities in the U.S.A.   

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Acropolis Museum!

The Acropolis Museum is the most modern museum in Greece,which is the current symbol and reason why the Parthenon Marbles should leave the British Museum and move to their 'birthplace', i.e. Athens.
The Gallery of the Slopes of the Acropolis is the first part of the Museum, housing finds from the sanctuaries that were founded on the slopes of the Acropolis, as well as objects from everyday life from all historic periods. The transparent floor provides a view of the archaeological excavation, while its upward slope alludes to the ascent to the Acropolis. The Archaic Gallery houses statues and monuments from the 7th - 5th century BC,a period which saw Athens change rapidly in every respect, introducing democracy and prevailing within the Hellenic World.

On the 3rd floor the visitor can observe the Parthenon Gallery. The installation of the frieze of the Parthenon on the rectangular cement core that has exactly the same dimensions as the cella of the Parthenon enables a comprehensive viewing of the details of the frieze, as one takes the perimetric walk of the Gallery. The narrative of the story of the Parthenaic Procession is pieced together with a combination of the original blocks of the frieze and cast copies of the pieces in other museums, including the British Museum and the Louvre.

The magnificent factor is that from the 3rd floor the visitor is able to see the Parthenon, a breathtaking view of a historical building, which has inspired many other buildings built around the world in various historical instances.
Due to this chronic misplacement of the Parthenon Marbles in other countries, a movement has begun via the internet entitled "Bring them Back" ( Its main objective is the return of the Parthenon Sculptures and the Reunification of the Monument. This, despite seeming impossible for countless reasons, seems to be a very serious and touching cause, which all Greeks feel passionate about. On this site one can find all the facts in order to form an opinion on this very serious issue.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

You know your from Athens when...

You know your from Athens when ...

-Afternoon becomes morning and evening becomes noon. 
-You eat dinner after 10 pm. 
- You eat breakfast before going to bed.
-When the traffic light turns orange, instead of pressing the brakes, you speed through.
-It takes you three hours to drink a cup of coffee.
-You are over clubbing by the age of 20.
-Pollution does not bother you.

-You can't stand cab drivers and their inappropriate attempts at conversation. 
-You neighbourhood has a street called El. Venizelou.
-You complain that 25 degrees is too cold for summer.
-Pavements are seen as parking spaces.
-You can't understand cities in other countries function without periptera.
-Tourists amuse you.
-You've never seen the changing of the guard at Syntagma, and still cannot understand why people find it so amusing. 
-The islands are literally a "hop" away. 
-You consider Athens the only true city in Greece.
-No one is actually from Athens, despite them hiding it.
-You consider the Interamerican Tower a skyscraper. 
-Strikes are national holidays.
-'No Smoking' signs mean nothing.
-Souvlaki arrives faster than an ambulance. 
-You spend a whole month's salary at the Bouzoukia in one night. 
-Everyone smokes Marlboro Light.
-Frappe is the first coffee you try.
-You can easily find yourself in a traffic jam at 6 am on a Sunday morning.
-You go to Kolonaki on a weekday and your friends from abroad ask "don't these people work??"
-You use your car to go to the bakery which is down the street from your house (a 2 minute walk).
-You clap when the pilot lands the plane at Athens International Airport (El. Venizelos).
-Despite all this, you wouldn't dream of living anywhere else.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Cyprus Exhibition, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Cypriot sculpture flourished during the early Classical period and a number of unique examples in the Cesnola Collection of the Metropolitan Museum betray both Greek and Eastern stylistic tendencies. Due to the fact that Cyprus does not have any source of marble, most sculptures produced on the island are made of local limestone, or terracotta. Only the wealthiest patrons could afford sculpture. 

Classical Cypriot jewellery, especially the delicately rendered gold pendants and earrings, demonstrate a blend of Greek and local traditions. Carved gems often depict characteristically Greek representations. 
Cypriot potter shows a certain independence maintained by local craftsmen on the island. The large quantities of Greek pottery that have been found in certain tombs, including Marion, Amathus and Salamis indicate the fact that a number of Greek potters and painters were also working in Cyprus during the Classical period.

Cypriot art in the Classical period reflects the mixture of native and foreign influences. The sculpture follows Greek traditions but in a rather old-fashioned and exotic way, while at the same time a preference for local limestone rather than marble is another distinctive feature of the Cypriot school. 

In the minor arts there is often found a blend of Greek decoration with local custom, as witnessed by the massive and highly ornate loop earrings favoured on Cyprus. The wearing of such earrings is unknown in the Greek world. Likewise, the Cypriot ceramic tradition continued to flourish, producing a whole series of painted, figural pitches that again show the independence maintained by artists and craftsmen on Cyprus despite their Persian and Greek masters.