It was a big day for Odessa, with its strong Greek element, both past and present, on September 2. It was the official opening of the ultra-modern Michaniki shopping center, which has already won a Ukrainian prize for architectural aesthetics. The 30,000-square-meter center is one of the most impressive buildings in Ukraine. Its founder, and president of the Michaniki group, Prodromos Emphietzoglou, was flanked by Greek officials at the opening ceremony – Aegean Minister Aristotelis Pavlidis, Deputy Defense Minister Vassilis Michaloliakos and Greek Ambassador to Kiev Panayiotis Goumas. Representing the Ukrainian government was Odessa Prefect Sergey Grinievetcky and Mayor Ruslan Bodelan. Also present were members of the Greek community in Ukraine, the Church, and the Foundation for the Hellenic World. Athena is the name of the center, and a marble statue of Athena dominates the brightly lit interior of the modern building. Pavlidis cut the ribbon on the pedestal, which was wrapped in a Greek flag. Bodelan awarded Emphietzoglou Odessa’s highest honor, the Grigoris Maraslis medal, for his contribution to the city’s economic and cultural life.