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Art and Culture in Santorini

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Greece
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Akrotiri
The most prominent archaeological site in Santorini is Akrotiri and the findings of the excavations that began in 1967. Akrotiri (Promontory) is located at the southwestern tip of the island, 15 km from Fira. It is a real promontory, with sheer cliff shores stretching three miles west of the southernmost part of Santorini. First signs of habitation in Akrotiri date back to the Late Neolithic Period (at least from the 4th millennium BC). By the Early Bronze Age (3rd millennium BC), there was a settlement in Akrotiri that was expanded in the Middle and Late Bronze Age (20th-17th centuries BC) becoming one of the main urban centres of the Aegean. Covering about 50 acres, the settlement had a very well-planed infrastructure and an elaborate sewage system. Imported products found inside the buildings prove that Akrotiri was well developed, held strong ties with Minoan Crete and conducted business with the Greek mainland, the Dodecanese, Cyprus, Syria, and Egypt. The growth of the town ended abruptly at the end of the 17th century BC, when its inhabitants left due to powerful seismic foreshocks. Then, the volcano erupted, and volcanic material covered the town and the rest of the island, preserving the buildings and their contents to this day. This unique site gives visitors the opportunity to admire and walk through the sheltered settlement!
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Archaeological Museum
The museum is in Fira. Its collections include sculptures and inscriptions ranging from the Archaic to the Roman period, as well as pottery artifacts and clay figurines from the Geometric up to the Hellenistic period. The most important exhibits are the Theraic jar with the geometric patterns dated from the early 7th century BC; the large volcanic rock (trachyte) weighing 480 kilos; and many findings from the excavations at the cemetery of ancient Thera, such as jars and pottery, as well as kouros statues. Standing at the centre of Fira, the Archaeological museum reveals the island's long history. The current building near the cable car terminal, was constructed in 1960 to replace the one that had collapsed during the earthquake of 1956.
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Municipal Library of Mykonos
The Municipal Library of Mykonos is housed in a magnificent old mansion that belonged to the Mavrogenis family. Dated to 1735, this beautiful building has seen its own share of history. Located in Agia Kyriaki Square, it houses nearly 6,000 volumes of literature, history and many more categories, though most of the books are in Greek. You can travel through the library looking at numerous photographs as well as Cycladic coins and old seals. The books were donated by a Mykonian historian, Ioannis Meletopoulos, from his own personal library. Other books were also donated by many more people from their own libraries, while some other donated other things as well, such as black and white sketches of landmarks on the island. As of now, with the advent of modernity, the municipal library is no longer operational. But they continue to be a symbol of Mykonos rich virile past. Being hundreds of years old, most of the municipal library has been thoroughly renovated and some have even been converted into museums, the most famous being the Bonis Windmill. Providing interesting insights into the life of Mykonos, all the works displayed in the library are unique and extremely interesting. A visit to this wonderful library is worth your time and effort.
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Archaeological Museum
The long archaeological and historical research at the Sitia area has brought to light rare and valuable finds and information of all civilizations from the Neolithic Age and the Minoan period to the New Age. The civilizations that have flourished the grounds of Sitia, one of the richest areas in archaeological sites internationally have bequeathed us magnificent samples of material and intellectual wealth that are exhibited in the district Museums and Collections.
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Archaeological Museum of Kos
​The two storey bulding on Eleftherias Square that houses the Archaeological museum of Kos is a protected monument of the Italian occupation era (1912 - 1943), built in 1935.
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Acropolis Museum
Listed in the world’s top 20, the new Acropolis Museum is home to unique masterpieces, mainly from the Archaic and Classical periods. All exhibits are directly connected to the Acropolis and offer panoramic views of the monument from the museum’s halls.
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Plaka neighborhood
The “core” of the historic centre is the Plaka neighborhood (at the eastern side of the Acropolis), which has been inhabited without interruption since antiquity. When you walk through the narrow labyrinthine streets lined with houses and mansions from the time of the Turkish occupation and the Neoclassical period (19th c.), you will have the impression of travelling with a “time machine”
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Syntagma Square
Syntagma Square is the most famous in Athens if not all of Greece. No matter where you have to go in Athens, if you can find Syntagma Square you can find your way there. Syntagma Square is back and better than ever. Well maybe not better than ever. It was probably at it's best in the early 1900's when there were not cars and buses whizzing around it and it was shaded by large trees. But with the re-routing of the traffic, the opening of the new metro and the removal of the wooden billboard covered walls that for at least an entire year, hid the construction site that was once Athens most popular platia, Syntagma looks better than it has in many years. At the top of the square are two stairways and an elevator leading to the Syntagma Metro Station, one of the most beautiful metro stations in the world, with its own museum of artifacts found at the construction site.
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Sacred Rock of the Acropolis
The Sacred Rock of the Acropolis "the province of the Gods", unoccupied by humans, is a perfect 5th century BC collection of public monuments which stands as a unique Greek testimony.
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Monastiraki
Monastiraki is one of the most renowned neighborhoods in central Athens partly because it belongs to the oldest part of the town and due to its traditional flea market. A vivid neighborhood with the aromas and arts of a bygone era still prominent!
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Kadifekale
The city, which was founded in the 4th century BC, has remnants of Helen, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods. Kadifekale is on a hill 186 meters high south of the city. It is reported that Amazon women who lived in Kadifekale, formerly "Pagos", descended from the foothills of the mountain and continued their dominance here for many years.
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Archaeological Museum of Sparta
Today, the Archaeological Museum of Sparta hosts thousands of finds from the province of Lacedaemon, but also from areas of the prefecture of Laconia that are not covered by the Archaeological Collections of Gythio and Neapoli Vion. In its rooms are exhibited findings that cover the time period from the Neolithic to the late Roman era. The most important place is occupied by the findings of the great sanctuaries of Sparta. The visitor of the museum has the opportunity to admire findings from the most important prehistoric sites of Laconia, sculpture works from the Archaic years to the Roman, coming from various areas of the prefecture, as well as findings from the rescue excavations among which have a prominent place, the sections of mosaic floors of Roman times from Sparta. Today, in the seven rooms of the museum (about 500 sq.m.) only a small part is exhibited, part of the numerous finds housed in it and which continue to come to light daily from the excavations of the Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities in the area. of Sparta but also in other areas of Laconia. Due to lack of space, only a small part of the findings kept in it, the most interesting for the scientific community or the ordinary visitor, have been included in its report. The Archaeological Museum of Sparta belongs to the 5th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities.
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Fikret Otyam, Ironsmiths Exhibition and Art Gallery
Fikret Otyam, Ironsmiths Exhibition and Art Gallery was opened in 2013 to provide a center of excellence where skilled artisans and craftsmen could work and display their trade and craft and provide an insight into the metalworking world to the general public.
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Isparta Museum
A must in Isparta is the Isparta museum. Here you can see excavations from the Persian, Ottoman and Roman times. The museum has four halls: archeology, excavations, ethnography and carpets.
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Byzantine Art Museum
The Byzantine Art Museum (in Dexameni square), where artifacts from the Byzantine period are showcased; over 700 well preserved byzantine sculptures, murals, paintings and icons from temples from around the city.
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Istanbul Archaeological Museum
The Istanbul Archaeological Museums is among the most impressive historical venues for your outdoor events and made up of three main units: the Istanbul Archaeological Museum, the Ancient Orient Museum and Tiled Kiosk Museum. The collection of the Archaeology Museum Turkey’s first museum houses over one million artefacts belonging to various cultures collected from the imperial territories. The Archaeological Museum was founded on June 13, 1891, under the name of Müze-i Hümayun (the Imperial Museum). Commissioned by archaeologist, painter and curator.
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Topkapi Palace Museum
It is located on the promontory of the historical peninsula in İstanbul which overlooks both the Marmara Sea and the İstanbul strait. The walls enclosing the palace grounds, the main gate on the land side and the first buildings were constructed during the time of Fatih Sultan Mehmet (the Conqueror) (1451 - 81). The palace has taken its present layout with the addition of new structures in the later centuries. Topkapı Palace was the official residence of the Ottoman Sultans, starting with Fatih Sultan Mehmet until 1856, when Abdülmecid moved to the Dolmabahçe Palace, functioned as the administrative centre of the state. The Enderun section also gained importance as a school. Topkapı Palace was converted to a museum in 1924. Parts of the Palace such as the Harem, Baghdad Pavilion, Revan Pavilion, Sofa Pavilion, and the Audience Chamber distinguish themselves with their architectural assets, while in other sections artefacts are displayed which reflect the palace life. The museum also has collections from various donations and a library.
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Dolmabahce Palace
Dolmabahce Palace built in 19 th century is one of the most glamorous palaces in the world. It was the administrative centre of the late Ottoman Empire with the last of Ottoman Sultans was residing there. After the foundation of the Turkish Republic in Ankara, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk transferred all government functions to the youthful capital but on his visits to Istanbul Ataturk occupied only a small room at Dolmabahce Palace as his own. He stayed, welcomed his foreign guests and made a practical centre for national, historical and language congress and for international conferences.
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Velyans House
Velyan’s House in Bansko is located near the Holy Trinity Church and the central square of the town. The house is an example of the architectural style – fortified house of the Bulgarian Revival Period. Velyan’s House was built in the 18th century and was opened to visitors in 1977. This was a modern two-story building made of stone and wood owned by a wealthy trade family with many children. After a sudden tragedy the family left the house. When the master-painter Velyan Ognev was invited come to Bansko to work on the decoration of the Holy Trinity Temple, the house was given to him by the local people as a symbol of gratitude. The master decorated its interior and exterior and transformed it into a genuine piece of art. With its hiding places, secret exits and fortified walls the Velanova kashta is a piece of legacy from the old times when Bulgaria was under Otoman rule and when people were supposed to hide and protect themselves by the numerous attacks by bandits at that time.
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Holy Trinity Church
The Holy Trinity Church and especially its tall belfry have become a symbol of Bansko as one of the most attractive mountain resorts, successfully combining the charm of its rich historical past and its picturesque location at the foot of the mighty Pirin Mountain with the most modern facilities for recreation – a wide choice of reputable hotels for all tastes and budgets, one of the best ski zone in South-East Europe. The Church dedicated to the Holy Trinity was built in the period of the Bulgarian National Revival. Its inauguration was made in 1835. The architectural plan of the church is a three-nave basilica or more exactly a pseudo-basilica with 44 m length, 22 m width and 12 m height. The walls are 1.1 m thick and entirely constructed of local ashlar, welded together by mortar. Large wooden beams of centuries old white fir (typical for the region) are used in the foundation and for leveling the walls. Part of the church is sunken under the ground level in order to look smaller from the outside and Turks can not get an idea about its real size. The altar piece is set within a skillfully constructed and decorated apse in the form of the half of a 18-angle prism with a remarkable stone cornice on the exterior. The roof is hold in the interior of the church by 12 massive wooden columns of white fir, symbolizing the 12 apostles.
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Museum Centre of Modern History
The building was erected as an officers club in 1895. In the period 1905-1923 it was Peoples Home, which housed workers theatre, brass band and evening classes. In 1951 the building was turned into a Museum of the History of Capitalism, Working Class Movement and Socialist Construction. Nowadays it accommodates the Museum Centre of Modern History with a large, fully equipped hall, which allows the arrangement of art and photographic exhibitions, presentations, seminars and other public events.
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The Ancient Theatre of Philipoppol
The Ancient theatre of Philipoppol is one of the best-preserved ancient theatres in the World. It is located on the Southern slope of the Three Hills, in the saddle between Taksim and Dzhambaz tepe. Discovered by archaeologists from Plovdiv and reconstructed in the beginning of the 80s of XX century, the Ancient theatre of Philipoppol is among the most significant findings from the Roman period. Recently found and deciphered inscription on a monumental pedestal reveals that the theatre has been constructed in the 90s of I century A.D., when Philippolol was under the rulership of Titus Flavius Cotis – an heir of a Thracian Royal Dynasty, the high priest of the Tracian province, representative of the Metropolitan Court of Justice and a person in charge of the construction sites. Nowadays, the Ancient theatre is symbolical for Plovdiv and adjusted to the city’s modern cultural life. It is operating as a stage of opera, music and drama. Some of the best annual events are the International Folklore Festival, the Opera Festival "Opera Open", the Rock Festival "Sounds of Ages" and many others.
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Regional Ethnographic Museum
Plovdiv Regional Ethnographic museum is the second largest specialized museum of this type in Bulgaria. It is an acknowledged scientific-educational institution and an attractive center for cultural tourism. The museum was established in 1917 and since 1938 it has been located in Kuyumdzhieva house, a cultural monument of national significance. Plovdiv Regional Ethnographic museum provides coordinative, qualification and expert-consulting activities for all museums and collections of artifacts with ethnographic character on the territory of Plovdiv and the region. In addition, the museum lends its methodical support to the municipal and private museums.The museum is a co-organizer and a host of popular traditional festivals such as Festival the Annual Festival of Chamber Music, The Festival of Classic Guitar, etc., as well as concerts, biennials, fashion shows, theatrical plays, book presenting and performances. The demonstration of traditional crafts is another type of tourist attraction.
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Kapana (The Trap)
Steering just a little from the Main Street in Plovdiv and imperceptibly you find yourself in “Kapana” (literal translation: “The Trap”). Once you get there you would never want to go back. You will find galleries, workshops, ateliers, studios, cozy restaurants and shops, as well as other art spaces, and there is even a vinyl shop! And to back our words up, here is a list of places you should not miss in “Kapana”: Vinyl’s home place Soul Searchin’ – Point-Blank Gallery – Darvodelie Atelier – What A monster – Kotka and Mishka.... All these places fill “Kapana” with modern cultural content not only with their daily activities but also organizing events with social, economic and cultural effect for the city. What happens in the new/old art district of Plovdiv is so much – concerts, exhibitions, festivals, forums, brainstorming sessions and discussions, theatrical performances, art installations, screenings, workshops and many more.
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Mevlana Museum
Mevlevi Derhgahı (Dervish Lodge) and the mausoleum started to function as a museum in 1926 under the name of Konya Museum of Historical Works. In 1954 the display pattern of the museum was once more taken up and it was renamed as the Mevlevi Museum.
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Bay of Bones Museum
Ohrid was enriched with another cultural and historical landmark as well as with a tourist attraction - Museum on Water - an exceptional archaeological complex, which is one of a kind in the region. On the southern coast of Gradiste Peninsula in the Bay of Bones, a pile-dwelling settlement has been erected, which in the past was spreading at a total surface of 8.500 m2. Bay of the Bones is an authentic reconstruction of a part of the pile-dwelling settlement, dating back between 1200 and 700 BC.A Roman military fortification (Gradiste) has been reconstructed on the hill above the Bay of Bones simultaneously with constructing the pile-dwelling settlement and the Water Museum. The walls of the fortification that once had protected the Roman Empire from its enemies, are once again lifted up on the hill near Gradiste. The Roman fortress is connected with the settlement in order tourists and visitors to be given an extraordinary opportunity to experience time travel, from prehistoric to ancient times and vice versa.
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Paphos Archaeological Museum
The Pafos District Archaeological Museum houses a collection of finds from the Pafos (Paphos) region dating from the Neolithic Age to 1700 AD. The exhibits are set across five rooms and originate mainly from Palaipafos (Kouklia), Nea Pafos (present­ day Pafos) and Marion-Arsinoe (Polis). They are supplemented by finds from Pegeia, Kissonerga, Lempa, Pano Arodes, Salamiou, Akourdalia, Pomos, Kidasi and Geroskipou. The first room covers the Neolithic, Chalcolithic and Bronze Age, including coins cut from the mint of Pafos. The second room houses exhibits from the Iron Age and Classical period, including a tombstone from Marion with the Cyprosyllabic script. The third room presents the Hellenistic and Roman periods, with a rare marble bust of Aphrodite and a marble statue of Asklepios. The fourth room hosts exhibits from the late Roman and early Christian periods, while the newer fifth room showcases pieces from the Byzantine Period and the Middle Ages in general.
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Agia Paraskevi Church
Located in the village of Geroskipou, this interesting 9th century Byzantine church is a five-domed, three-aisled, barrel-vaulted basilica, making it one of only two such churches on the whole island, and a significant example of Byzantine architecture. The beautiful interior wall paintings date to various periods, from the 8th-15th centuries. A monochrome reddish cross, painted directly on the stone, is of an earlier type and was revealed during restoration works. This type of cross is usually dated to the Early Christian period, up until the 8th-9th century. Apart from its frescoes, the church also contains a rather significant portable, double-sided icon, dating to the 15th century. The Virgin Mary is depicted on one side, and the scene of the Crucifixion on the other. According to tradition, the name Geroskipou (‘sacred garden’ in Greek) derives from the sacred gardens of the Goddess Aphrodite, which were located to the south of the village towards the sea, at the point where the ancient pilgrims began their journey to the sanctuary of Palaipafos (old Pafos). As such, the church may stand on the ruins of an ancient temple dedicated to Aphrodite, although it could also originally have been dedicated to Timios Stavros (the Holy Cross). Today, it is dedicated to the Christian martyr Agia Paraskevi.
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Ancient Theatre of Ohrid
The builders of Ohrid’s ancient theater have estimated very precisely where to put the building - in the center of the elevated old town. The open theater holds a perfect location, as the two hills (Gorni Saraj and Deboj) keep it protected from winds that could interfere with acoustics during performances. The Ancient theatre of Ohrid of the Hellenistic period was built in 200 BC and is the only Hellenistic-type theatre in the country as the other three in Scupi, Stobi and Heraclea Lyncestis are from Roman times. It is unclear how many people the original theatre used to seat, as only the lower section still exists. During Roman times, the theater was also used for gladiator fights. However, since the theater was also a site of executions of Christians by the Romans, it rapidly turned to a highly disliked site by the locals. In fact, as a result of this dislike, the theatre was abandoned and buried by the locals after the demise of the Roman Empire. Discovered accidentally and later excavated completely, this 4, 000 square meter monument to antique Greco-Roman culture is being used today during the annual Ohrid Summer Festival for performances of ancient tragedies and comedies. The Theatre offers a wonderful view of Lake Ohrid and Mt. Galichica to the southeast.
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Kourion Archaeological Site
The archaeological remains of Kourion - which was one of the island’s most important city-kingdoms in antiquity - are of the most impressive on the island, and excavations have unearthed many significant finds, which can be viewed at the site.
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Kourion Ancient Amphitheater
One of the most beautiful and interesting for visiting amphitheatres is located in Kourion. It will amaze travellers with its majestic appearance, the beauty of the preserved antique mosaics and the magnificent panoramic view that opens from spectators’ seats.
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Memorial House of Mother Teresa
The desire to pay respect to one the most famous person and Nobel Prize winner from Macedonia was accomplished on the 30-th of January 2009 with the opening of the Memorial house dedicated to Mother Teresa. The Memorial house of Mother Teresa is a non-profit organization financed by the Government of the Republic of Macedonia. The Location of the museum is not randomly chosen. That is to say, on this exact place the old Catholic Church “Sacred heart of Jesus” used to stand. It is where Mother Teresa, then Gonxha Bojaxhiu was baptized just one day after her birth, on the 27th of August 1910, place where she received her first communion and where she finds her inner peace after her father’s death. This place had great importance and influence on developing the character of young Gonxha and to her desire to help the poor people. Since she was a child she sang in the Catholic Church choir and participated in charity organizations. Somehow the location itself represents a symbolic bridge that connects little Gonxha to one of the greatest humanitarian of the world, Mother Teresa.
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Bellapais Abbey
Bellapais Abbey is located in the hillside, 6 miles South East of Kyrenia. The Abbey is the best example of Gothic architecture in Cyprus, as well as being ones of the finest in the Middle East. Built by the Lusignans, the first settlers in Bellapais Abbey were the Agustinas Monks, who escaped from Jerusalem in late Twelth century.
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Ivan Vazov National Theater
The “Ivan Vazov” National Theatre is Bulgaria’s biggest theatre, as well as the oldest and most stand out and most imposing theatre in the country. This theatre is one of the major landmarks in Sofia due to its prime location and grandiose architecture. The National theatre is located in the centre of Sofia and its edifice faces the City Garden. The Ivan Vazov National Theatre has a well-equipped main stage with 750 seats, a smaller 120-seat stage and an additional 70-seat one on the fourth floor. The theatre employs some of the country’s best actors and stage directors, many of whom are widely popular.
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Sofia National Art Gallery
The National Art Gallery is the largest and the most representative museum of the Bulgarian fine arts in the country. It is housed in the building of the former royal palace (declared a cultural monument in 1978), together with the National Ethnographic Museum. The beginning of the collection was set in 1892 when the art department of the National Archaeological Museum was established. In 1948 by resolution of the Council of Ministers, the National Art Gallery was established as an independent institution. The exposition of orthodox arts is presented in the crypt of the monumental temple “St. Alexander Nevski” in Sofia. The collection of works of art covers a large period of time – from the adoption of Christianity as an official religion in the Roman Empire in the 4th century to the Age of Bulgarian Revival (18th – 19th century), and it mainly consists of icons. The collections of contemporary and modern Bulgarian art of the museum – from the Liberation of Bulgaria from the Ottoman Dominion (1878) to the 1990s, contain more than 30,000 works of art, and they are divided into three basic expositions – high quality paintings, graphics and sculptures.