A few months ago while I was hosting Andie Alexander for a week or so in Thessaloniki, Greece, I decided that among our daytrips should be a visit to Mt Olympus (a destination that is, I know, among the highlights of anyone who visits Greece—that and the Parthenon in Athens, of course). So one day we took the highway south, towards Athens, and about 2 hours drive from Thessaloniki we reached the slopes of the mountain, which myth has it was the home of the “Twelve Gods” of the ancient Greeks. Over bumpy roads and narrow passages that made for a thrilling experience, we drove up the mountain to a refuge (a youth hostel with coffee service), which was at 1000 metres height above sea level and about 2000 metres below the top of the mountain, surrounded by thick vegetation and a wonderful view of the Aegean Sea and the Gulf of Thessaloniki. Continue reading “Searching for Chimaeras”
WWBAS?: What would Benedict Anderson say…?
In 2008 I took a small group of undergraduate students from our Department at the University of Alabama to Thessaloniki, Greece (that’s us above, with a famous philosopher, who has a shiny toe, likely from tourists rubbing it), where I had been for a conference a couple years before, and at which I first met my Culture on the Edge colleague, Vaia Touna. I’ve returned several times since that first trip, sometimes with other students and sometimes to help further my own school’s initiative to establish a long term relationship with Aristotle University — a school whose namesake was from a village about an hour’s drive east of the city. Continue reading ““The Same…, But Different””
My love for the ancient Greek theatre certainly derives from my upbringing and schooling in Thessaloniki, the second largest city in Greece. For many Greeks seeing our ancient literary heritage being performed in outdoor theatres, especially during summer festivals, is certainly seen as being a step closer to our past. Today, the most well-known festival in Greece is the one that takes place every summer (since 1955) in one of our ancient theatres (known also for its great acoustics) the “sacred” (as you will hear it often referenced in Greece) theatre of Epidaurus.
Have you heard about factories in various parts of the world that have gone bankrupt but been taken over by the workers? Consider the case of the Vio.Me. factory in Thessaloniki, in northern Greece, which used to make ceramic tiles but now, after the workers took control of the bankrupt facility, it produces fabric softener. Learn more here. Continue reading ““Now I’m an Accountant…””
An interesting video was posted earlier today by the British newspaper The Guardian, a film which is part of the Energy Bits documentary initiative. It is on a very interesting Greek “upcycling” project/business in Thessaloniki, in which found objects (from the garbage or junk yards) are transformed by artists, architects, etc., into rather cool, usable things. Continue reading “Everything Old is New Again in Thessaloniki”
Vaia Touna recently published a chapter in Failure and Nerve in the Academic Study of Religion, entitled “Redescribing Iconoclasm: Holey Frescoes and Identity Formation.” The chapter focuses on a small Greek Orthodox church in the upper old city of Thessaloniki,Greece, and the differing local ways in which its damaged interior icons are made meaningful and understood by both its members and the scholars who have restored them.