The Greek War of Independence, also known as the Greek Revolution led by Greek revolutionaries against the Ottoman Empire between 1821 and 1830. Greeks all over the world celebrate Greek Independence Day, on 25 March, which is a national holiday in Greece. This year it also marks the 200th anniversary of Greek Independence Day.
The Greek Revolution of 1821 is a pivotal chapter in Greek history and a piece in the puzzle of world history. The Greek Revolution of 1821, established the significance of Democracy and Freedom. It was formed in relationship with other revolutions and wars for independence that flared up at approximately the same time, and had a strong effect on the rest of the world.
“Two centuries ago, a handful of determined fighters in and outside Greece raised the banner of independence,” said Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, referring to the 19th-century Greek revolts, joined by disparate foreign adventurers and intellectuals known as the “Philhellenics.”
“With the help of their allies, they fought heroically and won their freedom,” said Mitsotakis as Athens was visited by Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, Britain’s Prince Charles and French Defense Minister Florence Parly.
In an address via Greek television, US President Joe Biden said both the United States and Greece “shared commitment to liberty, human rights and the rule of law.”
French President Emmanuel Macron sent a message to Athens that “we will stand by your side when history is unfair to you.”
Greek Independence Day Parade in Athens on 25 March
Greece celebrated Independence Day with a spectacular Parade in Athens on 25 March 2021. Foreign dignitaries, including Prince Charles, representing the UK, are among the few spectators of the event.
For the first time, troops in historical uniforms led the parade, followed by mechanized columns and marching units, which were headed by the “Evzones”, while air formations were flying in the skies over Athens.
Before the beginning of the parade for the Greek Independence Day, a wreath was laid at the Monument of the Unknown Soldier by the Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou.
Earlier in the morning, the Greek Presidential Guard (Evzones) raised the Greek flag on the Acropolis. The ceremony at the Acropolis was attended by the Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. The national anthem was sung by the internationally-renowned soprano Anastasia Zanni.
The Celebrations Started at National Gallery in Athens
The extension and renovation of the National Gallery constitutes “the first major project of the Culture and Sports Ministry in the new decade,” according to a ministry announcement. The National Gallery is being symbolically delivered on March 24, 2021.
The National Gallery marks the start of the celebrations for the 200-year anniversary of the Greek Revolution. The Greek art of 19th and 20th century is hosted in the new National Gallery, develops alongside the history of free Greece and the establishment of the Greek state.
The gallery reception on 24 March formed part of an official events programme commemorating the bicentenary of the declaration of the Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire on 25 March 1821. The Greek prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, welcomed foreign dignitaries such as the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, the Russian prime minister and the president of Cyprus to tour the new displays.
Founded in 1900, the National Gallery holds a collection of more than 20,000 works by Greek artists and international figures, including El Greco and Picasso. Around 1,000 works will feature in the rehang, starting with a sculpture by Rodin outside the entrance and Panayiotis Tetsis’s monumental painting Street Market (triptych) (1979-82) in the atrium.
The museum is set to open with a special display dedicated to the War of Independence, titled 1821 in Painting: Greece Demands its Historical Art Gallery. Among the works are Scene from the Greek War of Independence (1856) by Eugène Delacroix and The Reception of Lord Byron at Missolonghi (1861) by Theodoros Vryzakis.
“The National Gallery will open its doors to Greek and foreign visitors and art lovers when the conditions allow with the temporary exhibition “1821 in painting. Greece demands its historic Art Gallery” with pieces of art from 19th-century collections,” the culture ministry added.
The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall arrived in Athens for a two-day visit in celebration of 200 years of Greek independence on Wednesday, with Prince Charles extolling the country for having “long held the most special place in my heart.”
Arriving in the early evening, Prince Charles and Camilla were greeted at the Athens International Airport by the UK’s Ambassador to Greece, Kate Smith. They then traveled to the National Gallery for its official reopening ceremony.
In the evening, Prince Charles and Camilla arrived for an official state dinner at the Presidential Mansion, hosted by Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou. During the meal, Prince Charles gave a speech highlighting his family history in Greece.
He said, “Greece is the land of my grandfather; and of my father’s birth, nearly one hundred years ago, in the centenary year of Greek Independence. Later, it was in Athens that my dear grandmother, Princess Alice, during the dark years of Nazi occupation, sheltered a Jewish family – an act for which in Israel she is counted as ‘Righteous Among The Nations.’
Prince Charles continued, “In feeling a profound connection to Greece—her landscapes, her history and her culture—I am hardly alone: there is something of her essence in us all. As the wellspring of Western civilization, Greece’s spirit runs through our societies and our democracies. Without her, our laws, our art, our way of life, would never have flourished as they have.”
In speaking about the history of Greek triumphs, Prince Charles drew parallels to the country’s economic crisis and the coronavirus pandemic response, saying, “I have such admiration for the fortitude of the Greek people, and have been particularly touched by the remarkable resilience of her youth. It gives me special pride that my Prince’s Trust International has been able to help so many young people in Greece into work, training, or to start their own enterprises, empowering them to achieve their potential and to contribute to their country’s prosperity and strength.
“Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, as we all work to rebuild our societies and our economies from this year of previously unimaginable upheaval, and to set our world on a more sustainable path, perhaps we can take some inspiration from the courage, determination and ambition of 1821. Once again, the stakes could hardly be higher. The choices we make will determine the fate not only of our nations, but of this singular planet which we all share. For my part, to support this vital endeavour, I have worked with hundreds of CEOs around the world to develop a roadmap that places people, planet and Nature at the heart of our economic transition. I have called this plan the Terra Carta, and I am deeply touched that Athens wishes to enact the ideas it offers.
“Your Excellency, today, as in 1821, Greece can count on her friends in the United Kingdom. The ties between us are strong and vital, and make a profound difference to our shared prosperity and security. Just as our histories are closely bound together, so too are our futures. In this spirit, tomorrow, stood beside you once again, your British friends will take great pride in Dionýsios Solomós’s rousing exhortation: Χαίρε, ω χαίρε, ελευθεριά [Hail, O Hail Liberty]. Ζήτω η Ελλάς! [Long live Greece].”
Events for the 200th anniversary of the Greek Revolution
Under the auspices of the “Greece 2021” Committee
Projects and events for the 200th anniversary of the Greek Revolution:
• Exhibition of the Benaki Museum titled “1821 before and after”
• Online conference at LSE on the history and future of Greece. The Greek student community of the London School of Economics organizes on March 6, an online conference titled “Greece: Reflecting on Yesterday, Shaping Tomorrow”.
• Workshop on Lafkadio Patrick Hearn. On March 13, the University of Patras organizes an online workshop on “Lafkadio Hearn’s Cultural Journey.”
• The National Anthem in Greek Sign Language. On March 15, the digital video presenting the National Anthem in Greek sign language will be screened for the first time.
• Special digital publication by the Greek consulate of Perth in Australia to promote the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Revolution.
• Young people design their future. An important educational project involving undergraduate and graduate students aged 18 to 30 began on March 1.
• The Trees of the Revolution, an innovative project, showcasing the centuries-old trees which date back to before the outbreak of the Revolution of 1821, was undertaken by the Cultural Institute of Messinia.
• EKPA (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens) invites students to be inspired by the Revolution. Read more here: https://www.uoa.gr/anakoinoseis_kai_ekdiloseis/proboli_anakoinosis/6os_mathitikos_diagonismos_2020_2021_ta_ekthemata_toy_moyseioy_mesa_apo_ta_matia_ton_mathiton_pros/
Webinars in Greece
The webinars are available in Hellenic Innovation Network YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4PM5Hz8JqhcJLyLItskWOg
• Online Entrepreneurship Program “Connect the Dots”
• Podcasts on the Revolution by the Hellenic Heritage Foundation in Toronto. The first five episodes have been uploaded on Spotify
• Educational project on the Revolution in Moldovlachia (The Danubian Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia) by the Greek school of Bucharest. The relevant website can be accessed at the following link: https://blogs.sch.gr/bucharest-ellada2021/
• The role of Thrace in the Revolution. Through a series of projects and in collaboration with local municipal and scientific bodies, the Folk and History Museum of Xanthi highlights Thracians’ role in the Revolution.
• GAPSTI @Greece 2021 – The Gianna Angelopoulos Programme for Science Technology and Innovation. As part of the emergence of 2021 as a window into Greece in the future, educational activities will be developed throughout the year, aiming to strengthen the academic relations between the renowned University of Cambridge and Greek educational institutions. The projects will develop through The Gianna Angelopoulos Programme for Science, Technology, and Innovation at Cambridge.
• From the Revolution to the establishment of a state: The first steps of Greek public administration
• Conference on “The Orthodox Church and the National Uprising.“
• The beginning of the Revolution at Moldovlachia (The Danubian Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia)
For information on anniversary projects and events carried out by or under the auspices of the Committee, as well as all projects carried out for the anniversary regardless of their implementation body, please visit the National Calendar of Actions and Events on the “Greece 2021” Committee website.
EVZONES – An Art Project with a long history
Dimitra Hatziadam has photographed and edited the photo exhibition “Evzones, the guardians of the unsung”. Dimitra Hatziadam spend five years behind the closed doors of this elite military unit. She is the only accredited woman photographer of the Presidential Guard.
The Evzones stand as a national symbol and this realisation is always in their mind when they are trained; when they pace; when they stand still at the Sacred Rock of the Acropolis for the official hoisting and lowering of the flag; when they honour the Unknown Soldier. The Evzone is an anonymous Greek soldier who gives his life for freedom, but he also represents all those who fought and fell. His uniform is full of symbols that relate to milestones of Greek history and significant events.
Art Exhibition: 22 March – 18 April 2021
Gallery: Δια Λόγου / Διαγνωστικό κέντρο Ψυχολογίας και Τέχνης
Address: Dimokritou 24, Kolonaki, Athina 106 73
Art Curator: Iraklis Fovakis
Public Relations: www.ariapr.gr
YouTube: Dimitra Hatziadam
On 1821 bicentennial, Macron says France will support Greece
French President Emmanuel Macron said the Greek people’s struggle for independence in the 19th century serves as an inspiration for France and Europe and sent a message of support during an interview aired by state-run broadcaster ERT on Wednesday 24 March 2021.
BICENTENNIAL INITIATIVE 1821-2021
The celebrations for the 200 years since the outbreak of the Greek Revolution of 1821 and the War of Independence are both an occasion to recognize the struggles and sacrifices of the PEOPLE, while it also requires to think on the present-day position of Greece and its future.
In order to create a locus for a common understanding about the bicentenary of the Greek national reawakening, National Bank of Greece – in light of its long history, which is closely linked to the creation and development of the Greek state and the philhellene individuals responsible for establishing the Bank – has turned to the following institutions to provide input, recognizing their highly commendable work and contribution to the wider Greek community: the Eugenides Foundation, the B & M Theocharakis Foundation for the Fine Arts & Music, the Captain Vassilis & Carmen Constantakopoulos Foundation, the Lambrakis Foundation, the A.C. Laskaridis Charitable Foundation, the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation, the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation, the A.G. Leventis Foundation, the Bodossaki Foundation, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, the Foundation for EDUCATION and European CULTURE, and the ONASSIS FOUNDATION.