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Christmas in the city

Christmas 2011

If you find yourself, this festive time of the year, in Athens or Thessaloniki, welcome the opportunity to enrich your holidays with a visit to major venues of cultural expression that offer a wide range of cultural activities. As the old year comes to an end and the New Year unfolds, let art transform your grey everyday into colourful motion and fill your heart with joy and optimism.

Puss in Boots © National Opera

Athens Concert Hall is undoubtedly the “king” of Athens’s cultural life, an impressive state-of-the-art building standing on Vassilissis Sofias Avenue. Megaron is one of the most remarkable venues of its kind, a creative arena that promotes all sorts of cultural activities – both artistic and educational. This Christmas enjoy the famous ballet “The Swan Lake”, a real Christmas treat for classical ballet enthusiasts; the traditional Christmas concert featuring ERT Musical Ensembles; and the children’s performance created by the prominent Greek artist, Thanos Mikroutsikos, “Travelling with the Cross of the South”, a voyage into the land of imagination guided by the poet Nikos Kavvadias.

Hellenic Cosmos, the Foundation of the Hellenic World’s Cultural Centre, standing on a former industrial zone, on an axis between Athens and Piraeus, is an ultra-modern venue of cultural expression where visitors can experience Hellenic history through the use of state-of-the-art technology. Audiovisual and interactive media provide a truly remarkable experience that requires the active participation of the audience. Enjoy an interactive performance at “Tholos”, a dome-shaped virtual reality theatre, which hosts the Foundation’s remarkable digital collections; attend the touring exhibition of the National History Museum of London, “Myths and Monsters”, which brings life to real and imaginary creatures!

Magemeno Prasino © Michael Cacoyannis Foundation

The Michael Cacoyannis Foundation, on Pireos Street, is another prominent cultural foundation worth visiting. It boasts a wide range of cultural and educational activities attracting all ages and interests. For this holiday season, the Foundation has planned a Christmas concert on Italian baroque, while our little friends can enjoy the fascinating puppet theatre, “The bewitched green.”

The Onassis Cultural Centre hosts events across the whole spectrum of the arts with an emphasis on contemporary cultural expression. Embrace December events, such as the photography exhibition of Robert Mapplethorpe; a retrospective on Greek jazz; a tribute to Iannis Xenakis; Handel’s “Messiah”, a Camerata on period instruments and the “Orchestra of Colours” concert. Last, the Greek National Opera proudly presents special events such as the ballet, “Everybody waltzes”; the children’s play “Puss in Boots” and Verdi’s opera “The masked ball”. Attend a special, festive gala performance on the First of January and welcome the New Year with all the artists of the Opera.

national+opera_akriviadis_haris

People in Northern Greece will be lucky enough to rejoice in a variety of cultural, festive events, hosted by Thessaloniki’s outstanding cultural centres. The Thessaloniki Concert Hall proudly presents the Children's Choir of the “Thessaloniki Friends of Music Society”, which will perform Christmas songs and carols. On 22nd and 23rd December follows the Concert for Peace performed by ADAP (Αssociation des Artistes pour la Paix), a scheme of ten pianists from Greece, Israel, Turkey, Cyprus, Egypt, USA, Armenia and Iran, together with the Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra. The National Theatre of Northern Greece invites our little friends to enjoy the amusing children’s play, by Eugenia Fakinou, “Tin City.” Enjoyable by people of all ages is the story of “Loxandra”, a tribute to life itself, unfolding before ones eyes. The Teloglio Foundation of Arts welcomes you to the original exhibition “Goya and Beethoven”.

Don’t miss out on a fabulous event that will transform Thessaloniki, between 1st December and 8th January, into the greatest “Christmas magic city.” A huge Christmas park covering an area of 16 m2 will be hosted on the premises of the Thessaloniki International Fair. All visitors, from old to young, can relish unforgettable moments in the ice skate park, the magic Fun Park with a carousel and a roller coaster or in the creative workshops. Take joy in a huge Snowball and shadow plays, stroll around the outdoor Christmas market or visit Santa Claus in his house!

Aristotelous Square, where the heart of the city truly beats, will become from 26th November 2011 to 8th January 2012 the centre of Christmas celebrations – the most beautifully decorated Christmas setting in town. The square will host an amazing Christmas park with decorated trees, ice skate parks, a fun park with carousel and games, a music stage and small wooden Christmas houses, while all central streets of the city will be illuminated by thousands of colourful lights. 
This year’s highlight:
hundreds of “shining stars” will be placed all over the sea forming the most impressive Christmas tree you have ever seen.

Oneiroupoli Dramas © Oneiroupoli Dramas 2011

If you find yourself in Thessaloniki, don’t miss out on the opportunity to visit the neighbouring city of Drama, where every year the most famous Christmas event in Greece takes place: Oniroúpoli (meaning “city of dreams”). Apart from a huge Christmas park, you can also participate in a wide range of exciting satellite activities taking place throughout December. A lesser known but equally interesting Christmas Park, Paramythochóra (Land of Fairytales) welcomes you in Stratoni, in the area of Halkidiki (Municipality of Aristotle) from 4th December to 2nd January; soak up the warm festive atmosphere and revel in Christmas happenings overflowing with joy and creativity!

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