CULTURE

The Balkan Wars commemorated

The importance of the Balkan Wars for the history of the Greek nation is commemorated in «War within War 1912-1913,» an exhibition that includes photographs, documents and some memorabilia of the time and is taking place on the historical battleship Averoff, the pride of the Greek navy during not just the Balkan Wars but also the ensuing world wars. The exhibition evokes the victorious spirit of the Balkan Wars, Greece’s dramatic territorial gains and increase in population and, apart from the war operations, also throws light onto the patriotic sentiment of the people, their volunteer work as well as Balkan War-inspired art. The title of the exhibition is actually the name of an operetta written by Spyridonas Samaras, one of the most famous Greek composers of his time whose fame was established at the turn of the century when he composed the Olympic Anthem, set to a poem by Costis Palamas. «War within War» set out to show the internal transformations and conflict that were the outcome of the fighting. The photographs on display in the exhibition have been gathered from various historical archives (among them, the Greek Parliament, the General State Archives, the Gennadius Library, the Hellenic Literary and Historical Archive, the National Opera, the War Museum, the Naval Museum of Greece) and private collections – the majority are from the Historical Archives of the Benaki Museum, co-organizer of the exhibition along with the Greek Navy General Staff and the Averoff battleship. The initiative and concept belongs to Rear Admiral and commander of the Averoff battleship Aristotelis Dimitsas who has organized exhibitions on the battleship before. The idea of commemorating the Balkan Wars on the Averoff itself carries heavy historical symbolism since the battleship took part in the victorious sea battles of Ellis and Lemnos and was head of the naval fleet of the Aegean during the first Balkan War, when under Admiral Pavlos Kountouriotis it sailed off for the Dardanelles. The Averoff battleship took its name from national benefactor Giorgos Averoff who financed large parts of its acquisition. The battleship was head of the naval fleet during operations in the First World War and also took part in WWII, reaching as far as Bombay. The exhibition highlights the battleship’s heroic past while also evoking the atmosphere of patriotic struggle and successive victorious liberations of areas of present-day Greece since the time of the Balkan Wars. The exhibition will stay open through the Olympic Games as a tribute to the history of the nation. It is supplemented by a fully illustrated catalog that effectively puts across the concept of the exhibition. «War within War» is open daily from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3 to 5 p.m., except Tuesdays and Thursdays. Weekends: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. At the Trocadero Marina at Palaio Faliron. For group visits tel 210.988.8211 or e-mail [email protected] Sponsorship is by Hellenic Shipyards SA.