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PRESS CONFERENCE "THE ENCHANTED"
The Enchanted’ are here. They have returned to Thessaloniki, their birthplace, after 151 years. The replicas of the renowned ‘Enchanted’ are now at the Thessaloniki International Exhibition Centre, while preparations of the venue where they will be exhibited during the anniversary 80th TIF event – at no extra charge for visitors – is fully underway.
PHOTO CAPTION PRESS CONFERENCE MAGEMENES: From left to right , the president and CEO of EYATH S.A. Mr. Nikos Papadakis, the Mayor of Thessaloniki Mr. Yiannis Boutaris, the president of TIF- HELEXPO, Mr. Tasos Tzikas, the CEO of TIF- HELEXPO, Mr. Kyriakos Pozrikidis, the Deputy Head of the Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities of Thessaloniki Mr. Stamatis Chondrogiannis and the president of THPA S.A., Mr. Ioannis Pantis.
After 14 months of efforts, contacts and negotiations, TIF-HELEXPO managed to complete a very special mission: to welcome ‘The Enchanted’ to Thessaloniki, so as to offer them to the visitors to the 80th TIF event and the city.
The four sculptures, the so-called “Caryatids” of Thessaloniki, will decorate Pavilion 3; once an agreement has been reached with the State – in cooperation with local bodies – the national exhibition agency will donate the sculptures to the city. ‘The Enchanted’ and their legend are an integral link of the history and glorious past of Thessaloniki in line with the city’s current prospects and the role it has been called upon to play. Against this background, TIF becomes the web connecting past and present, while mapping the future.
Significant contributions to the success of TIF-HELEXPO’s efforts were those made by the Ministry of Culture, the Municipality of Thessaloniki and the Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities, while an active financial role in acquiring them was undertaken by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Thessaloniki, the Thessaloniki Port Authority Company (THPA S.A.) and the Water and Sewerage of Thessaloniki SA (EYATH S.A.).
The close relationship of TIF-HELEXPO with culture was underlined at today’s Press Conference by the company President, Mr. Tasos Tzikas, who explained that the exhibition agency had observed previous efforts to bring ‘The Enchanted’ back to town and wanted, in turn, to contribute to the ambitious venture. Besides, given last year’s high number of visitors to the 79th TIF event, the company was looking for a way to make this year’s anniversary event even more attractive. “The city is proving that when we all join forces, we can achieve great things”, the President stressed, referring to the partnership of the participating bodies/agencies in the efforts for this common goal.
TIF-HELEXPO CEO Kyriakos Pozrikidis characterized this day as a moving occasion, stressing that the Fair is returning the people’s love as a “dividend of joy” for the city. He also added that the national exhibition agency maintains its tradition of cultural contribution, referring –indicatively- to Zongolopoulos’ sculpture at the Fair entrance, which is one of TIF-HELEXPO’s assets. “It has not been an easy process and it required incredible coordination between various bodies in Greece and abroad, but we made it”, noted Mr. Pozrikidis.
The great satisfaction of the Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities of Thessaloniki for the “birth” of an idea that has been “in gestation” for years, was expressed by the agency’s Deputy Head Stamatis Chondrogiannis. “This monument helps us connect the present, who we are today, with the city’s history”, he said, underlining that we are lucky the present TIF-HELEXPO Board made this vision come true.
In turn, the Mayor of Thessaloniki, Yiannis Boutaris, pointed out that the Fair has proven it is not just a commercial and financial event, but that it also supports cultural events illustrating how important it is to the city. He also expressed his joy that, at last, as he said, ‘The Enchanted’ have returned to Thessaloniki.
Actions such as this promote small parts of our history, according to President and CEO of EYATH, Mr. Nikos Papadakis, who stressed that the company could not but support an effort to restore some of Thessaloniki’s glamour.
On his part, the President of THPA S.A., Mr. Ioannis Pantis, announced that the port is “adopting” one of ‘The Enchanted’ and that when the company was asked for its financial support to the venture, there was not a moment of hesitation, while he characterized the return of the statues an event of significant importance.