City of Thessaloniki gets its moon back


It first appeared on the Thessaloniki waterfront in 1995 during the northern port city’s Dimitria cultural festival, in the location now occupied by George Zongolopoulos’s iconic Umbrellas sculpture.

It then traveled to Sani in Halkidiki in 1998, where it remained for two years. It returned to Thessaloniki in 2000, where it stood in front of Aristotelous Square. It also visited Saint Tropez for a year.

In 2010 it was positioned opposite the Makedonia Palace hotel on Thessaloniki’s New Waterfront.

Three years ago it was damaged when unknown vandals ripped it from its base and threw it into the sea. Divers were able to salvage it, but the process of getting it back on display it got stuck in red tape.

All in all, 40 approvals were required from ministries and various departments in the municipality’s quest to reinstall it.

This small odyssey has now reached a happy conclusion, and today the Feggaraki stin Akti (“Moon on the Shore”) sculpture by Pavlos Vasiliadis floats above the waves in the sea, according to the original design drawn up 23 years ago.

The installation of the sculpture was taken on by entrepreneur Stavros Andreiadis, who has also “adopted” two parks along the New Waterfront, the Sculpture Garden and the Mediterranean Garden, funding their upkeep.

The crescent moon-shaped, corrosion-resistant metal sculpture that rises some 4 meters above the waves was maneuvered into place with a special float, and anchored to the seabed by divers about 40 meters offshore facing a spot on the waterfront between its old position and Zongolopoulos’s Umbrellas.

“Having it rise over the water is more impressive than its former position on the land. It will reflect better and the light that will form a path to the moon will be an impressive sight,” Vasiliadis told Kathimerini.

“Thessaloniki loved it, especially the children,” he says. “I once heard a kid say, ‘Daddy, can I touch the moon?’ as well as lovers arranging to meet by the moon. I saw a girl playing the harp near it while her friend photographed her. Even when the divers pulled it out of the sea after it was vandalized, one of them took it as an opportunity to offer it to his girlfriend and propose to her. Now it is safe, and to paraphrase the words of Petronius in ‘Satyricon,’ swapping the moon for the sun: luna lucet omnibus – ‘The moon shines for all.’”