Museums, coins to mark Greek revolution bicentenary
A new museum dedicated to the Philhellene foreign volunteers who fought and died for Greece will be inaugurated in April, featuring contemporary paintings, weapons, ornaments and personal items of the fighters, among them celebrated 19th century poet Lord Byron.
"The Philhellenic movement seduced all social classes...it was a vertical and horizontal movement without precedent," says museum founder Constantinos Velentzas, a private collector and IT entrepreneur.
"We are preparing a 3D virtual tour...we have to address a wide public that is not only based in Greece," he told AFP this week.
Items on display include Byron's weapons, a letter by American revolutionary war hero and French aristocrat the Marquis de Lafayette, early drawings of the Greek revolutionary flag, and the logbook of a warship that participated in the pivotal naval Battle of Navarino that led to Greek independence.
Greece's National Gallery will reopen on March 24 after an extensive eight-year renovation that more than doubled its display capacity.
And the Benaki Museum earlier in March opened an eight-month exhibit with over 1,200 items, its largest ever, on Greek history from 1770 to 1870.
Among priceless items on display at the Benaki is a wall-sized political map of the Balkans and Greece published in Vienna in 1796-7.
According to reports, French President Emmanuel Macron, Prince Charles of Britain and Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin have been invited to attend Greece's annual Independence Day parade in Athens on March 25 -- the date traditionally associated with the start of the revolution.
But government spokeswoman Aristotelia Peloni this week said the leaders' visit will be carried out "if pandemic developments permit it."