Rethymnon, on the north coast of Crete, lies on the island’s longest sandy beach and is known by visitors as the “hidden jewel” of Crete.  Rethymnon, the only well-preserved Renaissance town in Greece, is famous for its literature & arts. It’s a place of contrasts, boasting a long and remarkable history as well as untouched places of natural beauty and traditional life. This small Mediterranean town enchants you with its Old Town dating from the period of the Renaissance, its fortress and museums as well as its beaches, not to mention a visit to the wider area of the Prefecture.

e.cité Rethymnon / Crete 2012
October – November 2012, Strasbourg

Strasbourg, the “crossroad” of Europe, the capital of Europe and home of the European parliament, has been organising the “e.cité” programme – within the scope of implementing hospitality programmes – since 2006. Each year the city of Strasbourg invites one European city to draw up a programme of cultural events and present its own character through the most characteristic and dynamic aspects of its culture.

After an invitation by the Mayor of Strasbourg, Roland Ries, the e.cité programme for 2012 is dedicated to the city of Rethymnon. This new exhibitionary project will run in collaboration with the Municipality of Rethymnon and based on the practical active participation of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Crete as well as the Apollonia’s European Art Exchanges and the Alsace-Crete Association.

After Istanbul (2009), Bucharest(2010) and Gdansk (2011), Rethymnon, Crete will be next city to organize, in autumn 2012, a series of events that will constitute a reference point for the international promotion and dissemination of L’ art de vivre of the Cretan diet and tradition, in direct relation to cultural and tourist growth. The main target of the e.cité-Rethymnon/Crete 2012 is the promotion of the Cretan culture in the city of Strasbourg, as well as the development of an Intercultural dialogue orientated towards solidarity and cooperation by making use of an international code of cultural expression. The e.cité-Rethymnon/Crete 2012 is a platform for promoting the natural and cultural wealth of Rethymnon, as well as projecting its virtues as an all round destination to the heart of Europe. Today, both at a European and international level, those two areas of human activity are considered complementary rather than opposing, given that through particular actions and policies culture can fuel tourism and vice versa.

E.cité Rethymnon/Crete 2012 is not only addressed to French (people) but rather to all European citizens and invites them to experience the history, the customs, the traditions, the Cretan diet, as well as the ancient and contemporary culture of Crete. Rethymnon is a contemporary European city with historical and natural monuments and through the e.cité Rethymnon/Crete 2012 it aspires to become an important European and international destination.

Tourism

The emphasis will be on the promotion of Rethymnon as a tourist destination. More specifically, an attempt will be made to move from mass tourism to thematic-alternative (sports, cultural, religious and architectural) tourism, while trying to regain the credibility of the country abroad and creating a new positive climate towards Greece in European citizens

Culture

An exhibition of the archaeological findings of Eleftherna will be organized at the Strasbourg University Museum. Ancient Eleftherna was a city 30km outside the city of Rethymnon where archaeologists discovered continuous human habitation from the 8th century B.C until the Byzantine and Medieval years. The excavation – led by the Archaeologist Mr. Nikos Stambolidis – began in 1985 and was organised by the University of Crete.

The museum of Contemporary Art of Crete – active in Rethymnon for more than 20 years – and “Apollonia” – the Strasbourg-based Exchange Programme for Young Artists, will continue their 15year collaboration and plan to organise an art exhibition with works by the aforementioned widely acclaimed Rethymnian artists.

In place Kleber, visitors – by using sophisticated audiovisual equipment – will be given the opportunity to make a virtual tour to the other two exhibitions of the project, those focusing on ancient and contemporary culture, respectively.

Nikos Alexiou, Giorgos Gyparakis and Pavlos Fysakis are contemporary artists whose artworks will be exhibited at the Laiterie building from the 26th of October until the end of November 2012.

- Opening ceremonies

On the 25th of October the opening ceremony of the archaeological exhibition will be held at MISHA (Inter-university Institution of Human Sciences – Alsace), of the University of Strasbourg. In the framework of this exhibition, Mr. Nikos Stambolidis – Archaeologist and Head of the excavation – will give a lecture on the findings of Eleuftherna. On the same night, at Hall de Chars in Museum L’Aiterie, the private view of the contemporary art exhibition will also take place and it will be accompanied by a 35minute concert/performance by the Greek composer Giorgos Koumentakis.

The very next day, on the 26/10, at place Kleber the commercial-financial sector will officially open while at the Grande Salle de L’ Aubette a (Cretan) celebration with Cretan music will be held (attendance only with invitation).

- Analytical presentation of the project implementation

Place Kleber

A 500m² state-of-the-art tent in Place Kleber, lit in sea colours, will bring to visitors a flavour of a Greek island atmosphere. This tent will constitute the main e.cité-Rethymnon / Crete 2012 venue. All the sectors of e.cité-Rethymnon / Crete 2012 (commercial, culture, tourism) will be represented respectively.

- Commercial, financial sector (Cretan diet –Folk tradition)

Five specially designed stands with local Cretan products (cereals, olive, wine, herbs, honey, etc.) will be placed close to the main entrance of e.cité-Rethymnon / Crete 2012. Visitors will have the opportunity to taste local delicacies, learn how they are produced and cooked, and purchase any one of them. Information about the products will be displayed on screens mounted vertically on the floor behind the stands. Moreover, seminars on Cretan gastronomy and wine tasting will be given throughout the e.cité-Rethymnon / Crete 2012.

Artworks – ranging from ceramics to silver craft inspired by folk Cretan tradition – will be on display directly opposite the local Cretan products stands. Once again, those artistic creations will be accompanied by photographic material and digital information projected on screens.

(In addition,) olive trees – symbols of the Cretan land – will frame the main entrance of  place Kleber.

All the above data is courtesy of the Municipality of Rethymnon city, Crete.


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