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OLKAS Official opening

Official opening of the programme: “Olkas: From the Aegean to the Black Sea. Medieval ports in the Maritime Routes of the East”

The ambitious project “Olkas: From the Aegean to the Black Sea. Medieval ports in the Maritime Routes of the East” implemented by the European Center for Byzantine and Post – Byzantine Monuments (EKBMM), officially started on 28th March 2012 in Thessaloniki.


After the official opening, organized by EKBMM, which is the leader partner of the project, in the Auditorium “Stefanos Dragoumis” of the Museum of Byzantine Culture in Thessaloniki, the 1st Steering Committee meeting started and was successfully completed on Friday, March 30, 2012.


The opening event was attended by guests from the state and cultural institutions of the city and the country, the Consul General of Turkey, Bulgaria, Georgia, Russia and Ukraine, and representatives of partners of the countries around the Black Sea. The welcome was held by Professor Nick Zias, Chairman of the Administrative Board of EKBMM and in the Opening saluted:


•Lina Mendoni, General Secretary - Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism -  

•Apostolos Tzitzikostas, Vice-Prefect – Thessaloniki's Regional Unit

•Ioannis Boutaris, Mayor – Municipality of Thessaloniki

•Thanos Kotsionis, Director of International Relations Office - Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs -  

•Aikaterini Tzitzikosta, President - Hellenic National Commission for Unesco


The Presentation of the Program "Black Sea Basin 2007-2013", which funds the project, was held by Ms Vassiliki Sotiropoulou, Representative of the Managing Authority of the European Territorial Cooperation Programmes (Greece) and then the main speaker Dr. Flora Karagianni, Scientific Coordinator, presented the project "Olkas. From the Aegean to the Black Sea. Medieval ports in the Maritime Routes of the East”.


The Director of EKBMM, Dr Anastasia Tourta, presented the work of the leader partner in the Black Sea, the Balkans and the Middle East. Then the other partners of the project [7 institutions from 6 countries], Istanbul University and Cultural Awareness Foundation (TU), Cultural Center of Thessaloniki (GR), Varna Regional Museum of History (BU), Museum for National History and Archaeology for Constanta (RO), Branch for the Hellenic Foundation for Culture in Odessa (UK) and National Research Centre for Georgian Art History and Heritage Preservation "G. Chubinashvili" (GE), presented their institutions and their role in" Olkas ".


At the end, the opening event was saluted by the associate partners: "Russian National Committee for the Black Sea Economic Cooperation" (RU), and "Administration of the State Historical - Architectural Reserve" Icherisheher "(AZ).


The aim of the project "Olkas", coordinated by E.K.B.M.M. and co-funded by the European Union, «Joint Operational Programme “BLACK SEA 2007-2013” and national resources, is to highlight the Medieval ports from Aegean to the Black Sea, as a modern tool for development of cultural tourism in the Aegean region, the Black and Caspian Seas. The works of the two following days focused on issues related to the activities of the project:


•The documentation of the 32 selected ports in the data base of EKBMM

•The production of a documentary (25min) created by EKBMM with the cooperation of all partners of the project.

•The organization of a portable photo-exhibition which will be exposed to Thessaloniki (at the end of 2012) and to Istanbul, Odessa, Constanta and Varna (next year).

•The creation of a website

•The implementation of educational programs for students by the two museums (Varna and Constanta) and the Istanbul University.

•The exchange of the experience and the expertise through conferences and workshops

•The edition

•The organization of an International Symposium in Thessaloniki, where all findings and products of the project will be presented in order to be known to all concerned