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Festivals and Cultural Events in Greece and Cyprus
When choosing a travel destination, it is easy to become overwhelmed with the vast number of choices. There are so many historical, beautiful, interesting places on this Earth, it is easy to see why many people become frustrated.
Greece, and the Greek islands are by far, one of the top travel destination choices by cultured and choosy travelers. Not only is Greece a wonderland of blue ocean vistas it is also the home of many exciting cultural events.
The Hellenic Festival
This extremely popular festival offers a huge range of performances. Classical music, ballet, opera, both ancient and modern theater, singers, dances and more are featured at this festival that takes all summer to exhaust its supply of entertainment. The festival encompasses the entire city, with many theater performances taking place at the Lykavittos Theater set atop Lykavittos Hill. Neither buses or taxis will take you to the top of this hill, so it is best to leave early to walk the ten or fifteen minutes you will need to get to Lykavittos Theater.
The Epidaurus Festival
This festival takes place annually during the summer months. Held at the ancient (and acoustically perfect) theater of Epidaurus, this festival is held as a part of the larger Hellenic Festival. The Epidaurus Festival is an opportunity to witness plays just as the ancient Greeks did. Adding to the flavor is the fact that the performances are in Greek. Theater goers are provided with programs that translate major languages.
Some tips for enjoying the Epidaurus Festival include dressing warm and bringing a blanket. The theater is outside with most programs starting at 9pm and weather unpredictable, even in the summer months. Best to be prepared. Many of these shows sell out quickly and can only be bought 3 weeks in advance.
The Icarus Festival of Dialogue Between Cultures
Overwhelmingly, Greek cultural events are rooted in the love of music. The Icarus Festival for Dialogue Between Cultures takes place annually on Ikaria, Greece. Traditionally held during the summer, this event hosts performances by artists whose music has been inspired by many cultures. Every year the event is dedicated to a single instrument, 2008 was dedicated to the violin, as it is the favored instrument of the island Ikaria.
The August Moon Festival
Annually, whenever the full moon decides to make its appearance, many sites around Athens are open to the public for free entertainment. The Odeion of Herodes Atticus, the Acropolis, Roman Agora, provide the city with Greek dances, classical music and opera performances. What a spectacular site to behold by the light of the full moon!
The largest rock and roll festival in Greece takes place in July, during the intense heat of summer, and provides the city with some of the hottest international rock bands. This musical event has taken place since 1996 and is still going strong.
Not to be outdone, the Island of Cyprus holds many exciting cultural events as well. As the third biggest island in the Mediterranean sea, this island has direct ties to Greece and many of its festivals are based in the Greek culture.
The Wine Festival in Lemoses attracts thousands of tourists each September to take part of this event. Cyprus, an island known for its extraordinary wine, offers this festival as a means to pay tribute to Dionysus, God of Wine as well as Aphrodite, Goddess of Love and Beauty.
The Lemesos Carnival Parade takes place in February, or approximately 50 days before Easter. Highlights of this annual event include the Children's Carnival Parade, Grand Carnival Parade of groups and chariots, King Carnival and Serenader's Parade. This carnival is held to celebrate the last week of meat-eating before the Apokria or what is referred to as the fasting before Easter. Costumes are prepared for the entire family for this event, and at the end of the event, more than fifty floats parade through the city.
The Festival of Ancient Greek Drama is held during the summer months in Cyprus. The performances are held in three separate theaters throughout Cyprus, each sharing the ancient Greek traditions of tragedy, comedy, treachery, adventure and more with the audience. This festival attracts thousands of people internationally and the venues include: Paphos (Ancient Odeon), Limassol (Kourion Ancient Theater) and in Nicosia (Makarios III Amphitheater).
When it comes to festivals and cultural events, the Greek and Cyprus communities are unmatched throughout the world. These ancient lands are steeped in traditions of beauty, art, culture, wine and drama. There really is no other choice when it comes to choosing this travel destination spot.
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