Athens 1985 European Capital of Culture
Melina Mercouri conceived and launched the idea of European Capitals of Culture and Athens was the first European City of Culture (as they used to be called) in 1985. Α large number of citizens participated at the numerous events throughout the year. There were many exhibitions, such as a very important exhibition at the National Art Gallery, which was inaugurated by François Mitterrand, the former French President. Music, theatre, dance and audiovisual events were realised. The European Capital of Culture also highlighted the cultural heritage of Greece, mainly through exhibitions.
Thessaloniki 1997 European Capital of Culture
1997 was a unique year for the historical city of Thessaloniki, which from its foundation up to nowadays has been a cultural crossroads and a bridge between Europe and the East. The citizens of Thessaloniki were deeply involved and all the events were a huge success, such as the event in honour of Melina Mercouri, the exhibition about Nobel Prize Winning Greek poet Odysseus Elytis and the extraordinary exhibition of treasures from Mount Athos (Agion Oros).
Patras 2006, European Capital of Culture
The designation of Patras as European Capital of Culture in 2006 was a unique opportunity for the development and modernisation of the cultural and enterprising sector of the city. The city’s main cultural programme was officially launched with the opening ceremony of the exhibition “Leonardo Da Vinci: Inventor and Scientist”. This exhibition was also hosted by other Greek cities. The coherence and quality of the cultural programme reinforced the international profile of the city. The large numbers of volunteers were really admirable all over Europe.