CULTURE

Mediterranean culture and the Crusades

Thanks to writer Dan Brown and his global best seller «The Da Vinci Code,» the Crusades have suddenly acquired renewed significance. In reality, though, most of us do not know much about the Knights who set off from one end of Europe to free Jerusalem from the «infidels.» The historical and archaeological exhibition «Crusades: Myth and Reality,» which opened recently at the Foundation of the Hellenic World, focuses on the effects of the Crusades on Mediterranean culture from the 11th century to the abolition of the Knights of the Order of St John in Malta in 1798. The exhibition gives a clever and concise view of eight centuries filled with major historical events and personalities. The tribute, which is now on display in Greece, was recently presented in Cyprus and will then travel to Italy and Malta. Visitors to the Foundation of the Hellenic World can see a well-laid-out exhibition, based not so much on the quantity of the individual items on display as on their careful selection and presentation. Church icons, wall paintings, armor, coins, vases and weapons all testify to the cultural relations and influences that the Crusades shaped between the peoples of the East and West. Along with the exhibits, the display of which was designed by exhibition curator Yiannis Toumazis, the multimedia spectacle «The World of the Crusades» offers a different approach to the subject. The staff of the Foundation of the Hellenic World created a digital environment with the maps, distances, facts and people who were crucial to the period of the Crusades. With the aid of computers, users can wander through time and space and learn more details about the issues they care most about. Collaboration The exhibition is the result of the collaboration between different institutions in four Mediterranean countries: the Pieridis Foundation in Cyprus, the Foundation of the Hellenic World in Greece, Malta’s Superintendence of Cultural Heritage and the Instituto per le Tecnologie Applicate ai Beni Culturali – Consiglio Nazionale delle Richerche in Italy (Kathimerini is communication sponsor). It is the first product of the European program «Crossings: Movements of People and Movement of Culture.» In the context of this program, the international archaeological conference «Population Movements in the Mediterranean» will take place at the Athinais Arts Complex, May 10-13. The exhibition will run to May 20. The Foundation of the Hellenic World is situated at 254 Pireos, Building 5, tel 212.540.0000. For further information, log on to www.crusades.ime.gr.