Galaxidi is the prettiest of the low-key resorts on the north coast of the Gulf of Corinth. The town is graced with narrow cobblestone streets and two small harbours, and makes a pleasant base from which to visit Delphi. Galaxidi is reasonably tranquil except during summer and holiday weekends, when its charm is tested by car loads of Athenians. That's where I find refuge when I want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. I have a small cottage there overlooking the harbour and I really enjoy spending time there with friends and family or just by myself when I need some peace and quiet. I recently spent a week over the Greek easter there with the kids and some friends.
The existence of Galaxidi dates since 1393 BC. The various events, the inscriptions,the finds, the graves intermingle with the legends and it is very difficult to disentangle them.
The city was originally built 130 m above the sea, on a hill, near the location of today's church of St.Blasius and it was called Oianthi. This church was destroyed by an earthquake and it was rebuilt from preexisting old walls. All the surrounding area is an archeological site. The city was built two centuries before the Trojan war by Locros, a descendant of Defkalion. After his death a monument was erected to his honour by the Oianthians, called "the Locrion". In one Delphic inscription though it is written that the only sovereign was Armodamos. For a little while the city was also called Katakuzinoupolis, in 1444 A.D., from the name of Constantine Katakouzinos. Oianthi had signed at that time a treaty with the neighboring city of Horakion (Itea-Xeropigado) for peaceful coexistence and resolution of their differences, which proves the degree of civilization of the two cities.
Oianthi was a nautical city and was connected with many cities by sea with which it had commercial and diplomatic relations. The regime was an authoritarian one, under a tyrant.Later on, the city of Galaxidi was founded by the sea and remained the main residence city of the people of Oianthi until today.
In the beginning the people were living of piracy against enemy ships and caves were constructed to hide the ships in the location of Kavos and Potamaki. During the Peloponnesean War, Oianthi was an ally of Aitoloi and Philip,wanting to take revenge of Oianthians, declared war against them and conquered them. In the 3rd century B.C. Galaxidi became a nautical center and made alliances with other cities. Old texts found in Galaxidi talk about the nautical city with the marine history and heritage of the passion for the sea which until today remains a characteristic of all people of Galaxidi. Rigas Fereos' charta (map) in 1797 presents the name of Oianthi and Pentayi for today's Galaxidi. The presence of a small forest of pine trees, which are used in building ships, indicates the growing art of constructing means of marine transportation in Oianthi.
The cultural growth of Galaxidi became quite evident after the independence about 1830 and remained until today with writers, painters, scientists who became known in Greece and abroad. Among them was Constantin Sathas, historian and writer who was born in 1842 and died in 1914. He conducted his research for 50 years in the biggest centers of his time: Venice, Piza, Florence, Genova, Paris. He published more than 20 books( in french), 75 papers which helped him in research of Greek history. France presented him with the golden metallion of the Academy for his distributions.
Eva Vlami-Lekatsa is anoter famous writer from Galaxidi. She studied literature and music and became famous in the literary circles even in her first appearance as the writer Spyros Melas said. She was honored with the Ouranis award for the book "Skeletovrahos".
The most recent writer from Galaxidi, Costoula Metropoulou, studied law and has written 11 books. She was awarded the Ouranis award for her book "Faces and Figures".
In painting Spyros Vassiliou created his own school with his personal style. He studied in the Ecole des Beaux Arts and in 1930 was awarded from the Academy of Athens for his designs for the icons of the church of Saint Dennis in Athens. He published the book "Ships from Galaxidi", where beautiful pictures (mostly painted) of the ships are presented.
The churches of Galaxidi were constructed before 1821.The biggest one St.Nickolas was rebuilt in 1827-1902. Its temple is well known throughout Greece as a masterpiece of sculpture in wood. The church of St.Paraskevi presents a simpicity and a mysterious atmosphere. It was built before 1821 and graves with roman tombstones were found in the churche's grounds.
The church of St.John Prodromos was built before 1821 as well. It is very picturesque and it has an icon drawn by the Byzantine painter Michael Damaskinos in the 16th century showing the holy family.
Today the Greek orthodox celebrated Easter called Holy Pascha. At midnight, Easter Martins and the Divine Liturgy are chanted. Our Lord's Glorious Resurrection services include The Resurrection Service. The church is lit by the candles of the faithful who receive the resurrection light and form a procession outside the church. The congregation hears the good news of Christ's triumph over death from the Gospel. The joyous hymn of Christ's resurrection is triumphantly chanted -"Christos Anesti Ek Nekron" - The Lord has risen from the dead The Pascha Liturgy and the Sermon of St John invite us to take part in the feast of the resurrection and to receive the Holy Communion.On Easter Sunday late morning we gather to celebrate the "Agapee" a Paschal vesper when we embrace and forgive our fellow Christians, sharing with others Christ's gift of new life. Then follows "to glendi" - the feast- during which we cook ovelias (lamb or goat on the skew) and kokoretsi consisting mainly of seasoned lamb or goat offal. Traditional Greek dances are performed all over Greece and we eat and dance and drink to our heart's content.
Χριστός Ανέστη. Χρόνια Πολλά
Today and tomorrow are days of mourning for all the Greeks. Tonight , in our churches, we will commemorate the Crossing and tomorrow the burial of our Lord which leads to his glorious resurrection on Holy Saturday and the midnight Mass called "Anastasi" (=resurrection). I'll be away on this long festive weekend and I'll certainly miss you all a lot. See you again in a week. In the meantime , I would like to wish all my Greek friends Καλό Πάσχα και Καλή Ανάσταση.
I have often wondered how one can find real happiness in life. I have read many books on the pursuit of happiness and visited many sites on the same issue. I certainly got out of them a lot of constructive information. The first step I took towards happiness was to stop thinking negative or feeling self-pity. Here are the 10 steps I took and which led me to happiness:
1. Learn to love yourself as you are with your pluses and minuses.
2. Be confident but not over confident.
3. Be creative. Start a sport , a hobby....
4. Forget your own ego and concentrate on your spiritual self.
5. Dream - dreams often come true. It's up to you to realise them.
6. Greet your neighbours even if you don't like them. This is not hypocricy since wishing anyone a good day will make your day happier too.
7. Don't forget to smile! (at least 20 times a day)
8. Respect others as you would like them to respect you!
9. Have fun! Meet your friends, go out, enjoy yourself!
10. Count your blessings.
And as Alan Chalmers said : The Grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.
Michalis Hadjigiannis is one of my favourite pop singers. He was born in Cyprus on November 5 1978 and very soon he became one of the most popular pop stars in Greece. However much I like him or any singer, I hardly ever go to concerts as I am someone who hates crowded places. However, I made an exception 3 years ago and attended one of his fabulous concerts. I recorded the video below in July 2006 during one of Hadjiyiannis' concerts in Larnaca. Hope you enjoy it despite the non-professional recording! Please note that I wasn't amongst the delirious girls who craved to touch him since I was recording the whole scene from a distance.