The Ministry of Culture in Greece announced on Monday that it will dedicate 2022 to the anniversary of the Asia Minor Catastrophe and to the promotion of the memory and identity of the refugee communities.
Under the “All Greece one Culture 2022” program refugee associations and unions are invited to propose actions and events dedicated to the centennial of the disaster for Hellenism. The destruction of the great cosmopolitan metropolis of the Mediterranean sea, Smyrna in September 1922 and the beginning of the end of the 3,000-year long presence of Greeks in Asia Minor.
“The Ministry of Culture and Sports honors in 2022 the memory of the 100th anniversary of the Asia Minor Catastrophe and the uprooting of Greeks from their birthplaces,” Minister of Culture and Sports Lina Mendoni said.
“It honors a historical event that decisively influenced Hellenism and the formation of the new Greece. The institution “All Greece a Culture 2022″, for next summer, is monothematic. We especially want to honor the refugee communities, the expatriate Greeks, those who passed on to the metropolitan homeland the wealth of their traditions, their arts and their education, forming a new identity,” she added.
The Ministry called on refugee associations to submit proposals for action and events around the following themes:
- Recording and documentation of the history of the communities that settled in Greece, as well as their evolution after the installation (archival research, recording of oral testimonies using the methods of oral history and ethnographic cinema)
- Highlighting and promotion of aspects of the intangible cultural heritage of refugee Hellenism, which are still found in Greece (customary events, food heritage, know-how and cultural practices, music and dance traditions of the countryside and urban space, etc.)
- Compilation and digitization of photo archives, documentation, digitization and promotion of museum collections
- Printed and digital editions
- Educational activities
- Organization of conferences, workshops, exhibitions, events
- Organization of actions to highlight the contribution of Hellenism in Asia Minor and northern and eastern Thrace to the development of sports and sports education in Greece
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Asia Minor Catastrophe still haunts Greece
The Asia Minor Catastrophe was a cataclysmic event of such enormous importance for modern Greek history that it shaped generation upon generation after 1922, adding yet another unforgettable —and unutterably tragic — milestone to Greece’s long history.
The destruction of Smyrna, when Greeks were forced to flee the city due to a fire set by Turkish forces, still haunts Greece a century later.
A terrifying blaze, called the Great Fire, destroyed much of the city, causing the majority of Greeks in Asia Minor to flee their homes and seek shelter primarily in Greece, but also in other countries.
Historians of the time period, taking countless eye witness and written accounts of the event, have agreed that Turkish mobs set the Greek section of the city on fire.
Turkey continues to deny this, claiming that it was Armenians, or even Greeks themselves, who set the city ablaze.
Smyrna was undoubtedly one of the wealthiest cities, not only in the Ottoman Empire, but anywhere Europe.
It was home to one of the largest populations of Greeks and Armenians in the Empire.