Culture and Festivals
Every year, a number of local and international festivals take place in Greece, so take the chance to enjoy some during your stay here!
Maybe the most popular and culturally important in Greece and one of the oldest in Europe festival is the Athens-Epidaurus Festival, which hosts every year, since 1955, a variety of both local and international theter, music and dance performances. The festival takes place in summer and is divided in two parts; the first in Athens from the 1st of June to mid or late July and the second, every Saturday and Friday from mid or late July to the mid of August in the area of Ancient Epidaurus.
The performances of the first part are presented in the 2nd century A.D. Odeon of Herodes Atticus mainly – just under the Acropolis and the fully renovated industrial area of Peiraios 260 near the center of the city. Moreover, performances take place in several neighborhoods, open spaces and archaelogical sites of Athens and Peiraeus, incorporated in the Opening to the City concept.
The second-part performances of ancient Greek drama are held in the world-famous for its acoustics Ancient Teater of Epidaurus of the 4th century B.C. in the Asclepius Sanctuary and the more alternative versions of them in the Little Theater of Ancient Epidaurus, buit in honor of Dionysus in the 4th century B.C. too, in the area of Argolis. moreover, surtitles in English for international audience are offered during the performances in both theaters.
Greek National Opera
The Greek National Opera, founded in 1939, offers a variety of operas, ballets, operettas, operas for children and music recitals, covering a repertory from Claudio Monteverdi to modern composers from both Greece and abroad, often in co-production with operas from other countries. The performances -employing soloists, orchestra, ballet, choir and children choir- are held at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (Main Stage – Stavros Niarchos Hall and Alternative Stage), the Olympia Theatre, the Athens Concert Hall as well as the Odeon of Herodes Atticus. The Greek National Opera is where Maria Callas took her first steps.
Onassis Cultural Center
The Onassis Foundation founded the Onassis Cultural Center in 2004, in an innovative building of great architectural value near the center of Athens and magnificent view of Acropolis, the Philopappos monument, Lycabettus and the Saronic gulf. A variety of events and actions, from theatre, dance, music, cinema and visual arts to digital and hybrid art and literature, exploring the boundaries between science, art and society, are hosted in the Onassis Cultural Center all year round.
Thessaloniki International Film Festival
In Thessaloniki, the first in the Balkans and the most important in the South Eastern Europe film festival is held every year (initially in November but now all year round) since 1960 (Week of Greek Cinema, then). The Thessaloniki International Film Festival, has been the presentation platform not only for the year’s Greek productions but also for new film makers from all over the world since 1992, including a Competition Section for directors’ first or second film. In addition, it has been known for presenting the most important and radical independent productions across the globe and its collaborations with several local, national, regional and international film institutions, cultural, educational and social organizations, as well as embassies and cultural agencies from other countries.
Drama International Short Film Festival
Every September a festival for short films from all over the world is hosted in Drama. 1500 short films, half of which are international premieres, are presented with priority given to those coming from countries with low capacity in film production. Along with the film festival and the competition, concerts, books presentations, Q& A with the film makers, art exhibitions, cinema and radio labs for visitors and professionals, conferences as well as parties are hosted.
Kalamata International Dance Festival
Kalamata, in the South Western of Greece, hosts the International Dance Center, founded in 1995, with great contribution in research, education, artistic activities and creativity. The main event organized by the Center is the International Dance Festival with its active presence in the Greek dance scene, where young Greek choreographers and companies made their first appearances. Moreover, they have been supported and commisioned with several works across a wide spectrum of modern dance and artistic experiments. Along with the dancing performances, seminars and talks for both students and professionals, publications and video dance productions are incorporated in the festival.
Of course, the festivals mentioned above are not an exhaustive list as long as a great number of other festivals are held every year in a more local level; so get ready to discover them!