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Melina Mercouri Exhibition at Elefsina, European Capital of Culture

Melina Mercouri Exhibition Elefsina
The exhibition showcases original costumes used in theatre productions. Credit: Costas Baltas/2023 Eleusis

Elefsina, the European Capital of Culture for 2023, honors Melina Mercouri with an exhibition showcasing the life’s work of the longest-serving Greek Minister of Culture to date.

Mercouri, who passed away on this day in 1994, is engraved in the minds of millions of Greeks. In her life, she was several things: a striking woman; a stage and movie actress; a patriot; an activist; a politician; but above all — and this is what she remains even after her death — she is a great Hellene.

Mercouri loved Greece so much that she epitomized the Hellenic spirit, becoming its ambassador worldwide.

Her name is also associated with the founding in the EU of the European Capital of Culture (ECoC) initiative. Elefsina joined an ECoC family of over 70 European cities that have held the title so far. The city west of Athens is the fourth European Capital of Culture in Greece, after Athens (1985), Thessaloniki (1997), and Patras (2006).

Melina Mercouri exhibition at Elefsina

The exhibition features original posters of famous films starring Melina Mercouri, photographs documenting her appearances at award ceremonies, and her struggle against the Greek dictatorship.

Melina Mercouri Exhibition Elefsina
It features original posters for famous films starring Melina Mercouri. Credit: Costas Baltas/2023 Eleusis

It also showcases moments with loved ones, as well as film scenes, original costumes used in theatre productions still considered landmark works many decades later, her correspondence with prominent figures, and even her dressing room, complete with her personal effects.

Melina Mercouri Exhibition Elefsina
Credit: Costas Baltas/2023 Eleusis

The exhibition also highlights the institutional support she secured for the Greek Film Centre, for the establishment of Municipal and Regional Theatres, for educational programs promoting culture in schools and her announcement of plans for an archaeological park that revived the dream of connecting Athens’ archaeological sites.

Melina Mercouri Exhibition Elefsina
Melina Mercouri on the front pages of Greek newspapers. Credit: Costas Baltas/2023 Eleusis

And, above all else, her campaign for the repatriation of the Parthenon Sculptures; back in 1989, Melina Mercouri launched a new international competition for the design of the Acropolis Museum that is now a reality – a space ready to welcome the return of the Sculptures.

The exhibition opened on February 5 and will close on April 24. Venue Old Olive Mill, Kanellopoulou 1, Elefsina. For more information visit the official page.

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