Monday, November 10, 2008

Macedonia

I spent almost a week in Macedonia, the Northern region of Greece where Alexander the Great came from. I learned that Greece has an ongoing dispute with "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia". As far as I can tell, the dispute is only over a name -- the former Yugoslav country wants to call itself Macedonia. Technically, the Republic is only the northern part of Macedonia, and Greece wants their name to reflect this. I've asked around if there is more to the conflict and people say there isn't. This name issue strikes me as a strange form of nationalism and I wonder what the negotiations must be like.

Thessaloniki is as close to Istanbul as it is to Athens. I came expecting to see some Turkish influence, especially since this region was part of the Ottoman empire up until 1912. But just like in the other cities I've been too, the mosques have been destroyed and the Turkish architecture that remains is not distinct. There are exceptions: the Roman rotunda still has a minaret and the White Tower (the city's icon) was built by Suleiman the Magnificent (see photos below).

There are Greek Orthodox priests (or maybe monks) all over Thessaloniki. Near by is Mt. Athos, an independent state within Greece filled with monasteries. This place is also a source of controversy. And, well, I don't know much about what is going on with the land disputes but I do know that only men can visit Mount Athos. It's another curious and complicated geopolitical situation. However, the question I wanted answered was "have any woman snuck onto Mt. Athos?". The answer Fotini gave me was "of-course!".

Thessaloniki is on the water and has a very distinct waterfront; the water and the city meet with no barrier. The walkway along the water is smoothly paved and there is no chain, no bright yellow tiles, no warning whatsoever before you drop into the sea.

2 comments:

vrbnks said...

I like that. There should always far less warning about when we are about to drop into the sea.

(As individuals. I would like full warning about when NY is going to drop into the sea.)

Lucky Archer - Lakis Velotris said...

Right after Pearl Harbor, Japanese Americans gave helped downed flyers. Kaiser Americans detonated Jersey City munitions so the explosion was felt in further States. What you are allowing the Orthodox Church to become may well end up deporting your children from America. Imagine your middle aged daughters dumped in a land where they would be circumcized with broken glass. Then she will rue your taking her to listen to that monkey monk. This is why you need to stand up against those who would have them cover their head in church today. This is why you must stand up against the old witches who put terrorist literature in your pews. This is why you must make your priests shave, bathe and wear pants. What happened in Smyrna has been fictionalized to conceal that the Greeks were the real war criminals, but rest assured, your children will suffer much worse if you do not rise up against the IslamoSoviets in your parishes. Your family came to America to put the evil ways of the Old World behind them, so why are you trying to thanklessly recreate that which they fled? Do you realize what these cultists are making your throw away? http://www.geocities.com/gcomney/goatrfm.html