"The Thracian heroine of 1821, Domna Visvizi, was a woman who dedicated her life and fortune to the Greek people's struggle for freedom. Presently, the modern women of Thrace, the citizens who with their everyday labor, their work, and innovative initiatives generously offer their potential forces for the progress and development of their region, participate in a different but equally compelling and decisive struggle. The struggle that concerns the next two hundred years of our country." This is what the President of the Committee "Greece 2021" Gianna Aggelopoulou-Daskalaki said at Alexandroupolis while standing in front of the monument of the woman who spent her every last penny for the maintenance of her ship and the needs of the Greek Revolution.
One hundred years after its liberation and assimilation into the national backbone, Thrace has left isolation behind. It progresses at an enviable pace with extroversion, comes dynamically into focus, and masters the role it deserves and demands. Some of these unique people, who with their determination and perseverance contributed to this development, met in Alexandroupolis with a delegation of the Committee "Greece 2021", consisting of the President of the Committee and the Member of the Assembly Elpida Vogli.
From the heroes of the Revolution to the modern heroes of Thrace
A characteristic example is the ceaseless effort of the President and Director of the self-funded Ethnological Museum of Thrace, Aggela Giannakidou. The Museum's continuous objective is to preserve the historical memory in the geographical area of Thrace. Its collection, consisting of 5,000 objects, includes archival photographic material, recordings, and 3,700 books. At the same time, the Ethnological Museum of Thrace is also a true pillar of cultural advancement since it regularly organizes seminars, publications, workshops, and lectures.
"The visit of a delegation of the Committee "Greece 2021" to Thrace presents us with an excellent opportunity to promote further the idea of a joint celebration of the 200th anniversary of 1821 and the 100th anniversary of the liberation of Thrace" stressed Mrs. Giannakidou referring to the postponement of the events of the 100th anniversary of the liberation of Thrace until 2021, due to the urgent health crisis circumstances. "Tradition and cultural resources will give strength and momentum to this project," she added. For her part, the President of the Committee commended Mrs. Giannakidou's work, addressing her as a genuine descendant of the heroines of the past. "She has rescued the life, the work, the culture, the centuries-old traditions of the Thracians, especially of women," she said.
The Committee delegation also visited the Church of Panagia Kosmosotira, one of the most famous Byzantine monuments in Greece, which has been established as a World Pilgrimage site of Thracians from every corner of the world. She met with the Metropolitan Bishop of Alexandroupolis, Traianoupolis, and Samothraki, Anthimos, and toured the five-domed Byzantine church-monument, designed in the tradition of Constantinople architecture and built by Isaac Komninos. As the Metropolitan Bishop of Alexandroupolis pointed out, the Holy Temple, which, at first, functioned as a Church, became a mosque in the years of Turkish occupation and eventually returned to Christian worship. He underlined that it is a "living monument that can unite us all historically". Emotionally moved, the President of the Committee referred to the frontiersmen Thracian people saying: "We feel safe because they are guarding us and this is precisely the reason, we came to pay our respect".
Thrace as a model of Democracy and Culture
The Committee delegation met with the Regional Governor of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace Christos Metios, the Mayor of Alexandroupolis Giannis Zaboukis, the Mayor of Orestiada Vasilis Mavridis, the Mayor of Samothraki Nikolaos Galatoumos as well as a representative of the Mayor of Didymoteiho. In his statement, the Regional Governor stressed that the simultaneity of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the liberation of Thrace with the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Greek Revolution is an essential development that the Region must utilize by setting a dual goal: "To highlight history, tradition and our cultural heritage on the one hand, to establish perspective and development into the future on the other". The Mayor of Alexandroupolis, Mr. Zaboukis, stressed that the Municipality's effort is to honor the past while opening new and innovative roads to the future, a goal reflected in the proposals submitted to the Committee.
After making a encouraging reference to the proposals for projects submitted by the municipalities of the Region, the President of the Committee spoke with particular emphasis on the cultural prototype of Thrace. "Here in Thrace, the way the State and the citizens regard all people and religions proves the quality of our Republic and the high level of civilization, as opposed to the neighboring country which moves backward by desecrating history.
"The anniversary events concern us all"
During a meeting with representatives of the Municipal Authority, entrepreneurs and productive bodies, at the Municipal Library of Alexandroupolis, Mrs. Aggelopoulou invited the participants to propose projects for the 2021 celebrations. While addressing the entrepreneurs, she asked them to embrace some of the projects proposed through the institution of sponsorships. "What we will do for this place from now on concerns us all. We are all responsible for the implementation and success of anniversary events that will leave a legacy for the future," she said. A particularly positive impression was made by the dynamic and strong presence of representatives of female entrepreneurship in the discussion. They described instances in their careers and declared ready to collaborate in the context of the anniversary.
The members of the Committee delegation also visited the Lighthouse of Alexandroupolis, a historic landmark of the city, where they spoke with the lighthouse keeper at the entrance. Finally, they met children from the Robotics Team of the 1st Gymnasium of Alexandroupolis and the Robotics Team "Robotics Technology in Action". Speaking to the children, the President of the Committee called them "fighters of the future," who are trying to propose feasible solutions to everyday problems.
The President of the Committee "Greece 2021", Gianna Aggelopoulou – Daskalaki, presents the Regional Governor of Eastern Macedonia – Thrace, Christos Metios, with the collectible medal "Precursor" of the Committee's Numismatics Program.
The President of the Committee "Greece 2021", Gianna Aggelopoulou – Daskalaki, presents the Mayor of Alexandroupolis, Giannis Zaboukis, with the collectible medal "Precursor" of the Committee's Numismatics Program. Also present are Elpida Vogli, Associate Professor of Modern and Contemporary Greek History at Democritus University of Thrace and member of the Assembly of the Committee, Dimitris Kolios, President of the Municipal Council of Alexandroupolis (left) and Giannis Bogdis, General Secretary of the Municipality (right).