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Olympic Torch Lit for Brazil Rio 2016 Games
The Olympic flame is a symbol of the Olympic Games.  Commemorating the theft of fire from the Greek god Zeus by Prometheus, its origins lie in ancient Greece, where a fire was kept burning throughout the celebration of the ancient Olympics. The fire was introduced at the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam, and it has been part of the modern Olympic Games ever since.

True to tradition, the Olympic Flame to look over the 2016 Rio Games from the Maracanã cauldron in Brazil this summer will be lit at a special ceremony in Ancient Olympia, Greece, before the torch begins its journey on April 21 from the home of the Games in Ancient Olympia at the Temple of Hera to Athens’ Panathenian Stadium on April 27 and from there to Brazil, the host of the world’s largest sporting event.

The flame is traditionally lit in Ancient Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympics, every four years ahead of the Games by the rays of the sun. Thousands will gather to see the spectacle featuring actress Katerina Lechou as High Priestess.

The event, which will also include a ritual song and dance performance, will take place at noon. The first torch bearer to leave Ancient Olympia and carry the flame to its next stop is world gymnastics champion Lefteris Petrounias. After traveling throughout Greece for a week, the flame will then arrive in Athens and be handed over to the Brazilian organizing committee on April 27 at a special ceremony at the Panathenian Stadium from where it will travel to Brazil for the Rio 2016 Olympics opening ceremony at the legendary Maracanã Stadium in August.
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Free Admission to Greek Monuments and Sites on Monday, April 18

Greek historical monuments and archaeological sites are taking part in the celebration of International Day for Monuments and Sites on Monday, April 18, and will be open free of charge.

According to the Greek Culture Ministry, opening hours will be as usual.
The International Day for Monuments and Sites (World Heritage Day) is held on April 18 each year around the world with different types of activities, including visits to monuments and heritage sites and conferences.
Holy week

The culture ministry also released the opening hours of all state archaeological sites, monuments and museums during Holy Week:

Good Friday, April 29: 12 noon until 5pm
Holy Saturday, April 30: 8am until 3pm
Easter Sunday, May 1: Closed due to Easter holiday
Easter Monday, May 2: Usual opening hours
Tuesday, May 3: Closed due to Labor Day holiday*

*As the Labor Day holiday (May 1) lands on a Sunday this year, it has been moved to Tuesday (May 3), by decision of the Labor Ministry.
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Athens wins the Silver in "Best European Destination 2016"

20 selected destinations have competed for the prestigious title of Best European Destination 2016. After a three weeks’ period of online voting, Athens was elected 2nd Best European destination 2016.  In 2015 Athens came in third place in the prestigious electronic pool for best European destination.

European Best Destinations is a Brussels-based organization aimed at promoting culture and tourism in Europe. In partnership with the participating tourism offices and the EDEN Network, it promotes a better understanding of the wealth, diversity and quality of European destinations.
Since 2009, European Best Destinations has been working with major tourism offices in Europe to reward and highlight the most visited destinations via its website and social networks.

Voting ended on February 10 and out of more than 288,000 votes in total, Zadar in Croatia received 57,600 and was elected Best European Destination 2016 and won the prestigious title. Athens received over 46,000 online votes.  “From the iconic Acropolis, rising above the city, to charming up and coming neighborhoods and contemporary art galleries, the city of Classic Marathon and Olympic Games is a majestically quirky clash of past and present”, a brief description of Athens reads, posted on the European Best Destinations’ website. “One of the world’s oldest cities with a recorded history of 3,500 years, the Greek capital is constantly undergoing urban renewals to keep up with the evolution of time. Athens lives up to all the hype!”

Here are the Top 10 European best destinations 2016:
1. Zadar
2. Athens
3. Plovdiv
4. Nantes
5. The Azores Islands
6. Paris
7. Novi Sad
8. Brussels
9. Kotor
10. Milan

• Greece ranked among the 9 most popular destinations internationally for the meetings industry for December 2015, according to the Pacific World Destination Index.  
• For the 8th time, in 2015 Kongres Magazine and Conventa trade show granted the traditional Meetings star awards to best congress destinations, hotels, congress centers and best events. 
• City of Athens Convention and Visitors Bureau official website:
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Free Admission at the Acropolis Museum on March 25

On the occasion of the Greek National Holiday on Wednesday March 25, the Acropolis Museum in Athens has announced free admission and access to special events.  Entry will be free for all visitors at the Acropolis Museum from 9am until 5pm. On the same day, the museum’s restaurant will serve a “Greek Traditional Meal”.

Exhibition curators will present exhibits that reveal the great moments in Greek history and mythology. The event is for adults and the presentations will take place in Greek at 10am, 1pm & 3:30pm; in English at 10:30 am; and in French respectively at 10:30 am. Participation is limited to 30 visitors per session on a first-in first-served basis. (Duration: 50 minutes).

The museum will also hold an event for children (and their parents). Assisted by exhibition curators, children will be asked to discover artifacts related to the history and myths of Athens. Then the children can make their own, personal, souvenir. The event will take place at 12 noon for children aged 4-7 and at 1:30 pm and 3 pm for children 8 to 12 years old. Participation is limited to 20 children per event on a first-in first-served basis. The search of artifacts will take about 20 minutes.

About the 25th March:  A double holiday. 
The 25th of March is a historical and a religious holiday. Greeks celebrate the War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire. The “Greek Revolution” was a successful war of independence waged by the Greek revolutionaries between 1821 and 1830.
 Greek Orthodox Church celebrates the Annunciation by Archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary that she should become the mother of Jesus Christ the Son of God. 25th March is exactly nine months before Christmas!
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A Century of Greek Tourism Architecture to Exhibit at the Acropolis Museum

Greek tourism’s architecture of the last 100 years will go on display in March 2015 at the Acropolis Museum in Athens.

Last year, from June to November, visitors to the 14th International Architecture Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia in Italy were introduced to Greece’s architectural heritage through the “Tourism Landscapes: Remaking Greece” participation.  

As of March 27, Greece’s participation in the Venice Biennale Exhibition will be exhibited in Athens at the Acropolis Museum.

“Tourism Landscapes: Remaking Greece” explores the role of tourism as a vehicle of modernization through the development of constructed tourism landscapes: hotels and resorts, organized beaches, archaeological sites and museums, public space designs and infrastructure facilities.

The review of Greek tourism’s history of architecture — from 1914, when the Greek National Tourism Organization GNTO was first launched, until 2014 — is presented as an essential for Greece’s further development in the tourism industry.

The exhibition consists of two sections: The archival section, which will present the architectural production of tourism landscapes in Greece in the last 100 years (1914-2014) and the new projects section that will showcase the proposals of 15 Greek and foreign architects for the future direction of the country’s tourism’s architecture in the post-crisis era.

The “Tourism Landscapes: Remaking Greece” exhibition will be curated by National Commissioner Architect and professor Yannis Aesopos and will be on display until April 11, 2015.

Stay tuned as a series of events will be held during the exhibition under the organization of OMNI APICO.
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A City Guide: Destination Piraeus

Piraeus has been the port of Athens since classical times, when Themistocles transferred his Athenian fleet from the exposed port of Phaleron (modern Faliro) to the security of Piraeus in the 5th century BC. It was eventually overtaken by other ports, and during medieval and Turkish times, it diminished into a tiny fishing village. Its resurgence began in 1834 when Athens became the capital of independent Greece. 

Today Piraeus, 10km southwest of central Athens, is the biggest port in the Mediterranean (with more than 20 million passengers passing through annually), the hub of the Aegean ferry network, the center of Greece’s maritime trade and the base for its large merchant navy. 
The Municipality of Piraeus has embarked on a new tourism campaign to position the city as a destination for Greeks and foreign tourists aiming to boost the city’s economy and development.
The “Destination Piraeus” campaign was presented on Monday by the municipality of Piraeus and has been funded by Olympiakos F.C.

The backbone of new campaign will be the new website, which is currently displayed in Greek and English and will be followed by other languages, through which visitors will be informed on all they need to know about the city. The campaign will also be active throughout all major social media networks and will be available as an app for smartphones & tablets available on all platforms in various languages that inform on all the city has to offer.

A new 150 page luxury travel guide is also part of the campaign. The guide is divided into sections including History, Architecture, Attractions, Culture, Routes, Entertainment, Shopping and Maps and will include dozens of original and impressive photos and reports by renowned travel journalists. 

All visitors are invited to experience Piraeus like never been seen before!


Travel Guide: 

Piraeus Map:,23.621423,12z?hl=en-US 
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Santa Run Athens 2014:  Become Santa for a day and help restore the playgrounds of Athens!

On Sunday, the 7th of December, dress up as Santa and help spread the joy by taking part in a symbolic race where everyone is a winner!  Santa Run is a famous race which takes place in several big cities around the world and comes to Athens for the first time.

The 1st Athens Santa Run will be held in the center of Athens. The race starts at 11:30 am and runners will cover a distance of approximately 2.5 km adding a special tone to Athens’ festive ambience. The start and finish is at the City Link (Voukourestiou & Amerikis corner).

No previous experience is required and with a bit of training the distance should easily be within your capabilities. The spirit of the event is ‘taking part’ not ‘winning’ so you can run, jog or walk – you decide!

The 1st Athens Santa Run is organized by Holmes Place in collaboration with the Spetses mini Marathon team and the City of Athens Cultural, Sport & Youth Organization (OPANDA).   ING is the Gold Sponsor.

Each participant will pay 10 euros, all of which will be donated to restore the playgrounds of Athens. Santa suits will be given upon registration at any one of the three Holmes Place Clubs (Athens-Glyfada-Marousi).

Information: 210-6196791, 210-9690096, 210-3259400.
Location:  Athens, Greece – Starting/Finishing Point: City Link, Voukourestiou & Amerikis Sts.
Date/Time: 07/12/2014. Start. T.: 11:30.
Chance for Childhood is counting on your support!
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Individuals of the past at the Athens Acropolis Museum

On the occasion of European Heritage Days and World Tourism Day from Friday the 26th of September 2014 to Sunday the 28th of September 2014, the Acropolis Museum will present the famous bust of Aristotle discovered in 2005 during excavations of its site.

Visitors will have the opportunity to participate in presentations-discussions about individuals of the past in the Acropolis Museum. Original representations, ancient written sources and rich visual material will introduce visitors to both unknown and famous existing figures of antiquity.

Along with the hosted Archaeologist attendants may discover the meaning of the portrait and will uncover distant but also more convincing efforts to represent possibly specific figures from the archaic period till the late antiquity.

On these days, weekly Gallery Talks about the Museum masterpieces and the colors of the archaic statues will be held in

Greek, French and English.
GALLERY TALKS  & PROGRAM are as follows:

Friday 26th of September: 
‘Archaic Colors’ at 11 a.m. English & French and 12 noon in Greek. 
‘Masterpieces in the Acropolis Museum’ 18:00 in English and 20:00 in Greek.

Saturday 27 September: 
‘Individuals of the past in the Acropolis Museum’ 17:00 & 19:00 Greek and at 18:00 in English

Sunday 28 September: 
‘Individuals of the past in the Acropolis Museum’ 17:00 & 19:00 Greek, 18:00 English, 
‘Masterpieces in the Acropolis Museum’ 12:30 p.m. in Greek and at 13:30 English & French

Dates: 26/09/2014 – 28/09/2014.  
Place: Athens, Greece.
Venue: Individuals of the past at the Athens Acropolis Museum located at 15, Dionysiou Areopagitou St.
Important note: Participation is limited to 30 visitors per session on a first-served basis. For registration details, please refer to the Museum Information Desk.

On Friday 26 September admission to the Museum will be free for visitors between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. On Saturday 27 September and on Sunday 28 September admission to the Museum will be free for visitors between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. 
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New extended Opening Hours for popular museums and sites of Greece

As of 1 April, 33 leasing Greek museums and archaeological sites will extend operating/visiting hours until the end of the season and remain open from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week, through the end of the season on the 31st of October 2014.

The move marks the implementation of a national pilot program, while the selection of the 33 sites and museums was based on the number of visitors they attract. More are expected to join the program at a later date.  According to statistics in 2013, 12 million tourists visited Greece’s museums and archaeological sites out of the total 17.8 million tourists who visited Greece.   For the year 2014 Greece is expected to attraction a record number of more than 18.5 million tourists. 

The Acropolis Museum in Athens has also modified its schedule ahead of the summer season and will now open on Mondays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Popular Museums and sites including the Acropolis and the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, Crete's Knossos, Santorini's Akrotiri and the sites of Ancient Olympia and Delphi in the Peloponnese were among the group of 33 museums and sites set to operate on the new spring-summer schedule.

The 33 sites selected to offer extended hours this season (listed below) cover 95 percent of those visits.

1. Acropolis of Athens, Theatre of Dionysus (Acropolis South Slope), Ancient Agora of Athens
2. National Archaeological Museum, Athens
3. Archaeological Site of Olympieion, Athens
4. Byzantine and Christian Museum, Athens
5. Archaeological Site of Sounio 
6. Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki
7. White Tower, Thessaloniki
8. Museum of Byzantine Culture, Thessaloniki
9. Archaeological Site of Epidaurus
10. Archaeological Site of Mycenae
11. Archaeological Site of Olympia
12. Museum of Ancient Olympia
13. Archaeological Site of Delphi
14. Archaeological Museum of Delphi
15. Royal Tombs of Aigai (Vergina)
16. Archaeological Site of Delos
17. Archaeological Site of Akrotiri, Santorini
18. Archaeological Site of Lindos, Rhodes
19. Sanctuary of Asklepios on Kos
20. Castle of Neratzia, Kos
21. Archaeological Site of Kameiros, Rhodes
22. Archaeological Museum of Rhodes
23. Acropolis of Ialyssos, Rhodes
24. Archaeological Site of Knossos, Crete
25. Archaeological Site of Phaistos, Crete
26. Psychro Cave, Lassithi, Crete
27. Archaeological Site of Ancient Corinth
28. Palace of the Knights, Rhodes
29. Archaeological Site of Mystras
30. Spinalonga Islet
31. Old Fortress of Corfu
32. Palamidi Fortress, Nafplion
33. Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, Crete
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