Castle of Fairy Tales in the Peloponnese

The municipality of Filiatra, located in Messinia Prefecture in the Peloponnese, southern Greece, has its own Eiffel Tower thousands of miles away from the original in Paris, France.
Haris Fournarakis, or Harry Fournier, returned to Filiatra from the US, where he had become a surgeon and made a fortune, in the 1960s and started to live out his fantasies. First he built the replica of the Eiffel Tower at one end of the town, then went on to build the Kastro ton Paramythion, the Castle of Fairytales, in his home town of Agrili, where he raised his family.
Filiatra is built on the westernmost tip of Messinia Prefecture, and a replica of the Eiffel Tower welcomes visitors at the northern entrance of the city.
The replica is 26 meters tall, much smaller in size than the original, and was built in the previous century by Dr. Harry Fournier (Fournarakis).
The Filiatra Eiffel Tower, which is illuminated at night, was restored by the municipality in 2007.

Kick up your heels for Paniyiri…

Queensland’s signature celebration of all things Greek, the famous Paniyiri Festival, will be held from May 21-23.
The state’s largest cultural festival is celebrating its 34th year with a huge program at Musgrave Park and The Greek Club, Edmondstone St, South Brisbane.
The Paniyiri Main Stage in Musgrave Park will host almost 20 hours of entertainment over the weekend.
Former swimming golden girl Lisa Curry will make her Zorba debut in the Greek-style Dancing With The Stars, self-proclaimed Greek Goddess Effie returns, singing sensation Maria Maroulis will perform and Channel 7’s weather girl Liz Cantor and presenter Chris Parsons will be the MCs.
Next, head across the road to The Greek Club for the popular Paniyiri NAB Cooking Program and find all the stars from the hit TV show My Kitchen Rules, including Tanya and Gen and winners Shadi and Veronica.
Other features include amusement rides, fireworks, honeypuff and olive eating competitions, public lectures and greek films.

Greek strikers march on parliament against cuts

Thousands of Greeks marched through Athens today in the fourth general strike of the year to protest planned pension cuts and other austerity measures the government pledged to secure emergency European financing to avoid default.
Police estimated that between 15,000 and 20,000 protesters marched to parliament in central Athens, some waving banners that read, “Hands off our pensions!” The strike was the first since three people were killed on May 5 after demonstrators set fire to a bank in the capital. About 1,500 police officers were deployed, with officers stopping protesters around Exarchia, a stronghold of the anarchists police blame for the May 5 mayhem.
“It is incomprehensible, outrageous, unacceptable to cut pensions of 600 euros, 700 euros,” spokesman Stathis Anestis of the General Confederation of Labor, or GSEE, told protesters. “At the same time, those who owe the pension funds and have looted the pension funds are immune; no one has gone to jail.”

Prize for conservation projects

Every year, the European Union and Europa Nostra give awards to the best cultural heritage achievements which range from restored monuments to urban rehabilitation, research and education projects.
This year, out of 140 participants, 2 Greek restoration projects made it into the 16 finalists (Category 1- Conservation).
The first winner is The National Observatory of Athens, where restoration work turned it into a geo-astrophysics Museum, preserving the original equipment and a historic library including volumes which date back the 18th century.
The second prize-winning project is the restoration of the Ancient Tower and Adjacent Buildings at Horio- Aghia Triada, on Amorgos island. In the anastylosis – the restoration of a ruined monument or building – of the monument, traditional materials and techniques by local craftsmen were employed, revealing thus an image of rural life in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The awards will be presented during a ceremony which will take place in the Aya Irini in Istanbul, Turkey on June 10, 2010.

Authorization for the Liturgy held at Panagia Sumela in Pontos

A written authorization for the celebration of religious ceremonies in Panagia Sumela Monastery at the historical Pontus on August 15th 2010 was granted to the Member of the State Duma of the Russian Federation and Coordinator of the 5th SAE Region, Ivan Savvides.
The authorization, as it is mentioned in the announcement of SAE Former USSR Countries Region, was granted during the meeting Mr. Savvides had with the Minister of Culture and Tourism of Turkey, Mr. Ozgur Ozaslan on the 13th of May in Ankara.

New Metro Stations in Athens


Two new stations on the Athens metro’s line 3 will soon be ready for use, Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Dimitris Reppas announced on Wednesday. The station in Holargos is due to open in June, while that in Agia Paraskevi will be ready by September, he said.
In addition to the above, the minister announced that tenders for projects worth 10.3 billion euros are to be launched by the ministry up until 2012.
These will include a new line for the Athens metro system starting at Alsos Veikou, in the west Athens district of Galatsi, passing through Syntagma and areas on the slopes of Mount Hymettus in east Athens before doubling back to join line 3 in Katehaki and line 1 in Maroussi.
Another six stations, extensions of the line 2 in the southeast and west, may possibly be added to the network by March 2011 once the government has made a decision regarding what to do about the consortium that was awarded the contract for installing their electronic systems, in which Siemens was a participant. Once there is a final decision by the government, Reppas said, the stations of Ilioupolis, Argyroupolis and Elliniko in the southeast, and Peristeri, Anthoupolis and Haidari in the west will gradually be opened for use.
Reppas added that a further 7.4 billion euros had been secured from various programmes for use in building infrastructure and that priority will be given to areas outside major cities. As an example, he cited the tender for construction of the Karteri-Parga road and an airport in Kasteli.

PAUL Has Landed in Athens


PAUL bakery has opened the doors at its first location in Athens, and the aroma of freshly baked bread is spreading all over Syntagma Square.
PAUL offers breakfast, lunch, tea and coffee menus, including dozens of styles of bread, sweet pastries, cakes, desserts and sandwiches. The new cafe seems to be a success, since it has been flooded with customers since the day it opened. Indoor, and limited outdoor seating is available, with Wi-Fi access.
Founded in 1889, there are now 360 PAUL bakeries in France, and 160 more that can be found all over the Middle East, Europe, Asia and the U.S.A.
Panepistimiou Street 10 10671
Mon-Fri 7.30 am-9 pm, Sat 7.30 am-7.30 pm

Movie to Tell Story of Greek Riots


Metaphor Entertainment announced that a feature film production titled “DECEMBER RIOTS” is planning to commence principal photography in Athens, Greece on June 28th. The film which is inspired by the riots in Greece is produced and directed by Dimitri Vorris, and written by Vorris and longtime collaborator screenwriter/novelist Michael Kokkinaris. Spyro Pagonis is the cinematographer.

The intense, claustrophobic thriller/drama is described as a cross between “DAS BOOT” and “LA HAINE”. Story focuses on Europeans and Americans trapped in an underground movie theater in downtown Athens during the December 2008 riots that followed the cold-blooded execution by two policemen of a 16 year-old student sitting at a café. Dimitri Vorris spoke to us about his experience in Greece during the riots and how the idea for the film was developed

How did you get the idea to turn the riots into a movie?

I was trapped in “ASTY” (which means in ancient hellenic language The City) movie theater, in Athens downtown, on December 8, 2008, along with well-known in the international circut arthouse distributors and theater owners George Stergiakis and Antonis Stergiakis. And the filmgoers that were trying to return to their homes. I was supposed to go to the premiere of BANK BANG in the north suburbs, produced by my friend Yiannis Iakovides, and never made it. We were a group representing our nation, a public employee, a housewife, young couples on a date, demonstrators entering to find shelter etc.
My offices were next to the Polytechnic school, on Mavromataion Street… I inhaled a lot of teargas and my vision of the world has been altered since then (laughs). I still remember the pain in the eyes. The agony to breath. We were walking in the area and it was like a city hit by a force majeure, natural disaster. I wanted to make a movie back then but nobody wanted to finance it. They prefered to do bottom line farce comedies, an alltime low. Or state subsidized trash that nobody wanted to see. I never wanted to be part of this system. One month later I left Greece.

Which parts of the movie are based on real facts and which are fiction?

It’s based on a real incident. There’s pure reality, the riots, and reality extended to fiction.
Like everybody else I was outraged. I was angry. The media couldn’t explain the phenomenon. How kids from the ritzy suburbs united with working class people and immigrants…And how secret agents and provocateurs entered the mix to distract the public opinion.
We had the most corrupted government in the world, ala Banana Republic. They destroyed Greece.
I’m already getting warnings, through Facebook and emails, “you can’t do that…it’s too early”, “this is a dangerous script”, “you’re going to be in trouble”. I don’t give a euro!
I want to make a statement about the current situation and the shape of things to come. This is a metaphor:If people don’t learn to work together, to live together, they are going to be terminated. It’s a safe road to extinction. But this is also a movie with a beggining, a middle and an unexpected finale. So you see in the movie Americans and Europeans, putting culture clashes aside, trying to survive. It’s an intense claustrophobic, fast-paced thriller/drama but there’s also a subplot. It’s an oxymoron though:Hellas had to go through the bottom of the cup in order for certain people to understand basic things. Everybody was laughing. Now they are sorry. Sometimes it’s too late for excuses.


Do you think we are rebels as a nation? Is this Democracy or does it cross the border according to your opinion?

I’m quoting Iphicrates on the film poster:”The story of my generation begins with me. Yours ends with you”… Maybe I should quote the Sex Pistols also:”There’s no future in Greece’s dreams”.

Hellenic population became controllable and pathetic because of television. Now they discovered what happened and they became angry.

Going against the flow is part of our DNA. We invented democracy but also hubris and vindication. Hellenic culture shaped cosmos in a unique way. But that was then. This is now: “The horror, the horror”…In the heart of darkness. And no Joseph Conrad to be the captain.
We have to rescue ourselves. Nobody is going to rescue us.

When the water is boiling the byproduct is steam. So in December of 2008 we had peaceful demonstrations, sit-downs with candles that the super-smart and extremely reasonable SWAT teams cracked down, and extreme violence-mostly caused by provocateurs mixing with the demonstrators. We had an indifferent prime minister who loved playing Playstation and a gang of crooked rats used to run the country. There’s no democracy when you murder in cold-blood a 16 year-old sitting at a cafe. That’s hubris. And there’s no democracy when four people die in a bank branch. That’s a murderous act and hubris too.

The so-called generation of Polytechneion destroyed everything for the next generations (moral values, dignity, judicial system, financial system). They looted Greece. Effectively they killed slowly their own children and grandchildren. You see 16-24 year-olds they don’t know where to go, where to hide, what to believe, or not to believe.They are running around hopeless, desperate, confused, pathetic. Well I’m not! And there’s also a 5% of the population who are fighters too. I’m talking mainly about the Hellenism of diaspora. We are going to come back with a vengeance and reclaim our country…Sooner than later.

Who is producing the movie?

I’m producing. The sales company is financing.
The Stergiakis family and AMA FILMS is also making a superb effort to help us production-wise. My long time collaborators novelist/screenwriter Michael Kokkinaris and cinematographer Spyro Pagonis are also onboard. Most of the crew I’d worked with before are joining us.

Greek Crane Company Official Pleads Guilty To Bribery Charges


Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr., announced the guilty pleas of Greek Michael Sackaris and Nu-Way Crane Service Inc. to charges of bribery, and of Michael Pascalli to a charge of offering a false instrument for filing, in connection with the bribing of the Acting Chief Inspector of Cranes and Derricks for the City’s Department of Buildings.
“Taking bribes in situations where safety is at risk is unacceptable, as is corruption at any level of government,” said District Attorney Vance. “This Office will continue to investigate public corruption cases, and fight to have the strongest tools available to prosecute those who violate the public trust.”
According to documents filed in court, Sackaris was the de facto owner of Nu-Way Crane Service Inc. On approximately twenty occasions, Sackaris paid James Delayo (photo), the Acting Chief Inspector for Cranes and Derricks at the Department of Buildings, to complete and file false paperwork with the Department of Buildings indicating that Nu-Way cranes had passed City inspections, when in fact the cranes had not been inspected at all, or only in a perfunctory way. On six other occasions, Sackaris paid Delayo to certify that Nu-Way employees seeking crane operator licenses passed their examinations. On one occasion, Sackaris paid Delayo to complete and file documents that stated Michael Pascalli, an employee of Nu-Way, had passed a New York State hoisting machine operating license examination. In fact, Delayo never administered such an exam to Pascalli.
DOI Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn said: “These defendants systematically exploited a corrupt City inspector, showing contempt for public integrity and safety and the professionalism of their own industry. Now, they rightly stand convicted for crimes that disregarded City rules and the taxpayers. This investigation and successful prosecution underscores that doling out bribes to a City buildings inspector to circumvent City regulations will not only be uncovered, but will end in arrest, prosecution, and conviction. DOI and the Manhattan District Attorney will continue to work together to uncover unsafe practices and corruption in any industry that does business in New York City.”
The sentencing for the defendants, who could get up to 15 years in prison, is scheduled for July 13.

Top 10 places to visit before you die: One of them Santorini!


“Santorini is one of the places that every inhabitant of the planet must see before they die”,  “The Clackamas Print” newspaper listed Santorini in a list of ten places to see. Below find the other top destinations:
1. New York City – While I’ve never been there (except to the airport), New York City makes this list because of how famous it is. New York is everything we see: on television, in music, media, the news … it’s all we ever hear about. So this city is definitely a place to visit, even if it’s just to see what all the fuss is about.
2. Madrid, Spain – Madrid is one of the most historical and beautiful cities in Spain in my opinion. You’d be crazy not to drink a glass a sangria and see a flamenco show while you were there, too. It’s all about soaking in the culture because, in Madrid, it’s abundant.
3. Florence, Italy – Florence is my favorite city in the world (BEFORE it became a scene in the second “Twilight” movie). There’s something about Florence that is both mysterious and romantic, you have to actually go there to see what I mean. And while some say it’s overrated, another one of my favorite places in Italy is of course, Rome, because of all the history and the Coliseum, which is surreal once you see it in real life.
4. Nice, France – The city of Nice has castles from the 15th century that you can actually walk through; it will blow your mind.
5. The pyramids in Egypt – ‘Cause you just gotta see ‘em!
6. Santorini, Greece – Greek culture is SO interesting to me, and the city of Santorini is supposedly one of the prettiest in the country. I think this makes the list simply because of the culture you will find there.
7. London, England – London has been in so many movies it’s not even funny … even then I think it’s still worth seeing with your own eyes. (Maybe even hang out with Madonna or Gwyneth while you’re there.)
8. Frankfurt, Germany – Because who doesn’t love lederhosen and lebkuchen?
9. San Jose, Costa Rica – The people of Costa Rica (while still a second-world country) are the happiest people you will ever meet. Must do’s: zip-lining, horseback riding (on the beach!), white water rafting, rappelling and snorkeling.
10. Sydney, Australia – They say Australia has the most dangerous species of animals in the world, but I’d still love to visit because it would be so different from the ordinary. Hopefully you could pick up an Australian accent while you’re there, too.