The Greek capital of Athens and the US city of Boston are to become ‘Sister Cities’ after a decision reached by Athens Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis and the mayor of Boston, Michelle Wu.
The two mayors met in Boston where Bakoyannis took part in a special ceremony at which he presented four gold wreaths awarded to the winners of the Boston Marathon.
He also invited Boston’s mayor to visit Athens in November in order to watch the 39th Authentic Marathon in the Greek capital.
“We’re already late. Boston, the ‘Athens of America’, is home to a very large and active Greek-American community. It is a city with which I have strong personal ties. But above all, Athens and Boston are linked with a strong tradition, which is a reminder of our common principles and values,” said Bakoyannis.
“The twinning will create a new, modern and solid bridge of cooperation which will also contribute to the strengthening of economic ties with a positive impact on tourism. Athens can offer unique experiences to American travelers,” he added, sending out an invitation to Bostonians to visit the Greek capital.
Why is Boston called the Athens of America?
A nickname for Boston is “The Athens of America,” used mainly in literary circles during the first half of the 20th Century. The origin is believed to stem from a letter written in 1764 by Samuel Adams, as quoted in History of the United States, in which Adams wrote “Boston might become a Christian Sparta.”
In 1819, William Tudor also wrote a letter describing the town: “[Boston] is perhaps the most perfect and certainly the best-regulated democracy that ever existed. There is something so impossible in the immortal fame of Athens, that the very name makes everything modern shrink from comparison; but since the days of that glorious city I know of none that has approached so near in some points, distant as it may still be from that illustrious model.”
On the western slope of Beacon Hill, at Louisburg Square, is a statue of Ancient Greek general and statesman Aristides the Just. Aristides led the army in a great victory over the Persians at the Battle of Plataea (479 BC). In 478 BC, he was a prominent leader in the formation of the confederacy of Greek city-states known as the Delian League.
The Aristides statue on Beacon Hill was a significant symbol of the Athens of America alias and also of 1850s Brahmin culture.
Sister cities’ arrangement includes promoting Athens as a tourism destination in Boston
In an announcement, the municipality of Athens underlined that the Sister Cities agreement with Boston includes a series of actions and initiatives for promoting Athens as an ideal tourism destination for Bostonians given that, for the first time in 25 years, there will be a direct flight linking the two cities.
Delta Airlines announced in March that it will offer three flights a week from Boston to Athens (every Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday).
The restart of Delta’s services from Greece began on March 8th between Athens and New York-JFK. The airline’s seasonal service from Athens to Atlanta, which relaunched last year, is returning effective May 6th, and Delta’s new Boston service launches on May 29th.