A delegation of the Committee "Greece 2021" visited Sparta, the land of heroes, the timeless symbol of selflessness, bravery, and sacrifice of oneself for freedom, the place where the tradition of the Greeks achieving the impossible originated.
"The heroic Sparta of "either with this or on this" reminds us of the sacrifice in the name of freedom, of the bravery with which a handful of Spartans stood against an entire empire. But it also reminds us of the constant struggle for development, improvement, progress. "We're going to get better," the younger Spartans told the older ones. The Battle of Thermopylae was fought several times during the Revolution, Messolonghi, Souli, the Black Ridge of Psara. The values of Thermopylae were present in the Revolution, and these values are also relevant today. We continue to fight for our country as long as there are threats, we continue to evolve and become better so we can face the challenges of the modern era," said Committee "Greece 2021" President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki.
The Committee delegation also included Assembly Members Evanthis Hatzivassiliou, Paschalis Kitromilidis, Nikos Kanellopoulos, and Ekaterini Polymerou-Kamilaki.
Meeting with the Mayors of the Prefecture of Laconia
The President and the Members of the Assembly were welcomed at the city's Old Town Hall by the Mayor of Sparta Petros Doukas. Afterward, they had a very productive discussion at the Sainopoulio Foundation for the bicentennial of the Revolution and the anniversary proposals submitted by Laconia's municipalities. The Mayors of Evrota, Dimos Verdos, and Elafonissos, Efstathia Liarou, and the representative of the Municipality of Monemvasia, municipal counselor Maria Charamis were also present at the meeting.
"Sparta has a long history. It is here that Democracy was born, where the ephors' institution was born as an anchor between the aristocracy and the common people. The idea of constitutional monarchy was born here. Spartan education inspired the concept and implementation of free public education. And it is where Lycurgus initiated the idea of an Olympic truce. We have a very ambitious program for the anniversary of the Revolution in 2021, and we are looking forward to a close collaboration with you," said the Mayor of Sparta, responding to the Committee's delegation's invitation to the Municipality to submit proposals for the 200th anniversary of the Revolution and, in any case, to include its commemorative events in the national public calendar of the celebration.
In his statement, the Mayor of Evrota referred to the 2021 anniversary proposal submitted by the Municipality of Evrota, a proposal that attempts to link the past with the future of the area by promoting the historical and natural value of the Gorge of Evrotas. The Mayor of Elafonissos mentioned the significance of the consensus between the Laconian Municipalities on account of the anniversary and announced the submission of a separate proposal by the Municipality to honor the deep historical heritage of Elafonissos. It is noted that proposals have also been submitted to the Committee by the Municipality of Monemvasia (proposals for the creation of short films and organizing a conference on the history of Monemvasia and, also, art projects).) At the same time, very significant are both the proposals of the Region of the Peloponnese to highlight the region's natural heritage.
During the discussion, the President of the Committee, after pointing out that the Committee does not receive State funding and operates with sponsorships exclusively , insisted in particular on the importance of orienting the anniversary projects toward the future: "From the very beginning, we have invited the society to submit proposals for projects that will leave a legacy for the future. Projects that will create prosperity in local communities. This place still echoes with the heartbeats of people that left us a great legacy. We must try to honor their bravery, their patriotism, their strength. We love our country, and it’s the reason we want it to prosper. We honor our history, but we look toward the future."
"We want the celebration of the bicentennial to unite us and not separate us, for church and state to proceed together along the historical path", pointed out his Eminence Metropolitan Bishop of Monemvasia and Sparta, Efstathios. Present at the meeting were Laconia MP Athanasios Davakis and the Regional Vice Governor of Laconia Theodoros Veroutis.
Sparta as a global symbol
The statements of the Members of the Assembly were particularly interesting. "Through the Committee's visits to significant locations of remembrance, as here today, we are learning patridognosia, valuable lessons from our country's history and geography. We learn anew the past of this country and what was its historical course," said Professor Paschalis Kitromilidis. "One comes to Sparta fully aware that one visits a global symbol. It is not only the ancient glory but also its more extended progression", stressed Professor Evanthis Hatzivassiliou.
Ekaterini Polymerou-Kamilaki, former Director of the Hellenic Folklore Research Center Academy of Athens, referred to the topic of popular culture: "We have inherited a treasure chest of tradition. Handcrafts, gastronomy, especially in your area, are all a heritage we have to protect. It is an important undertaking for the future." Professor Nikos Kanellopoulos referred to the Municipalities of Evrotas and Monemvasia's proposals, which concern projects that will open a window into the future and reinforce the region's viability in the coming years.
"'21... differently" at the Olive Museum
The delegation's visit concluded with a tour of the Olive and Greek Oil Museum. It is a model museum foundation that highlights the inseparable connection between the olive tree and the region's identity and exhibits the history of olive and olive production in Greece from antiquity to the present day.
The Museum presently houses the remarkably original exhibition "'21 differently: The Greek Revolution with Playmobil figures and representations". The exhibition presents the history of 1821 through Playmobil figures: figures of heroes of the pre-revolutionary and revolutionary period, such as Adamantios Korais or Markos Botsaris, the flag of the Revolutionaries of Mani with the phrase "Victory or death", but also "Greece Reborn" by Theophilos Hatzimihail, a painting which is also depicted on the commemorative medal "Forerunner" of the Committee's Numismatic Programme.