On the oldest street in Athens, Tripodon in the historical neighborhood of Plaka, at number 28, there is a building that is home to the initiatives, campaigns and ambitions of a group of enlightened folk who for the past 40 years have dedicated themselves to preserving Greece’s cultural heritage and protecting its natural environment.
At the helm of the Hellenic Society are Costas and Lydia Carras, who opened their doors to the press earlier this week to present the program of events being organized for May 18-19 to celebrate the society’s victories and to boost its future activities. The walls of the society are adorned with photographs of its success stories, and will soon be complemented by another great coup: the decision of European preservation network Europa Nostra to include the former royal estate at Totoi in northern Athens on the list of 14 important historical and cultural sites in Europe that will be short-listed for preservation and listed status.
Forty-two sites were initially sent to the European body for consideration, with the royal estate and the ancient Diolkos track in Corinth being the two Greek candidates. The Tatoi estate is now among the 14 runners-up and may be on the list that will be announced in May of monuments that will be restored with funds from the European Investment Bank under the aegis of Europa Nostra.
Meanwhile, the Hellenic Society will be holding its celebration regardless of the outcome, in the streets and around the monuments of Plaka on May 18-19. Events include a concert by Dionysis Savvopoulos at the Roman Agora and a reading of Alexandros Papadiamantis by Lydia Koniordou and Sokratis Sinopoulos at the Monastery of the Holy Sepulchre. There will be tours of the historical sites, exhibitions of painting and photography, educational programs, singing in Platanos Square, traditional dancing by the Lyceum of Greek Women and much, much more.