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Home arrow Current Affairs arrow Announcements - Statements - Speeches arrow Deputy Foreign Minister, I. Amanatidis’, welcome speech at the photography exhibition entitled “World Cultural Heritage Sites”, organised by the Hellenic National Commission for UNESCO at the 82nd Thessaloniki International Fair (Thessaloniki, 11 Septembe

Deputy Foreign Minister, I. Amanatidis’, welcome speech at the photography exhibition entitled “World Cultural Heritage Sites”, organised by the Hellenic National Commission for UNESCO at the 82nd Thessaloniki International Fair (Thessaloniki, 11 Septembe

Monday, 11 September 2017

A Press Conference on the subject of “World Cultural Heritage Sites” was held today by the President and the members of the Hellenic National Commission for UNESCO in Thessaloniki. The Press Conference took place on the occasion of the photography exhibition “World Cultural Heritage Sites”, organised by the Hellenic National Commission for UNESCO and currently on display at “Emilios Riadis” Hall, at the Helexpo conference centre.

Both the President of the Thessaloniki International Fair, Mr. Tasos Tzikas, as well as Deputy Foreign Minister, Ioannis Amanatidis, spoke about the exhibition.

The full text of the Deputy Foreign Minister’s welcome speech follows:

“Honourable Gentlemen,

UNESCO, as an international Organisation of the United Nations, has, since its founding in 1945, consistently championed the promotion of culture and intercultural dialogue, of education, sciences and communication between different peoples, while respecting the values of every civilisation and culture. One of the priorities of UNESCO in the broad field of culture is the preservation and protection of Tangible and Intangible World Cultural Heritage, which play a key role in the promotion of intercultural dialogue, in the safeguarding of cultural identity, as well as in highlighting the diversity and uniqueness of every culture.

Promoting and protecting these sites should constitute not only a nation’s responsibility, but also a responsibility of the international community as a whole. UNESCO is always at the forefront of international efforts for the protection of World Cultural Heritage, substantially contributing, through its programmes, in raising awareness and in informing and mobilising the international community.

Greece ratified the Convention on the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage in 1981. To date, Greece has inscribed 18 Sites, with the Temple of Appollo Epicurius at Bassae being the first in 1986, and with the latest addition being the archaeological site of Philippi in 2016. It is worth mentioning that, in 1988, 15 Paleochristian and Byzantine Monuments in Thessaloniki were registered to the UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites as one single entry, an important success on the part of the City of Thessaloniki for the promotion, as well as the protection, of these Sites. The 15 Paleohristian Sites include:

1. The Rotunda
2. The Church of the Acheiropoietos
3. The Church of St. Demetrius
4. The Latomou Monastery
5. The Church of Hagia Sophia
6. The Church of Panagia Chalkeon
7. The Church of the Holy Apostles
8. The Church of St. Nicholas Orphanos
9. The Church of St. Panteleimon
10. The Church of the Prophet Elias
11. The Monastery of Vlatades
12. The Church of the Savior
13. The Church of St. Catherine
14. The Byzantine walls of Thessaloniki
15. The Byzantine baths

Inscription of a site to the UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites represents a great achievement with regard to its promotion, management, and preservation. For this reason, our efforts to include more sites on the List do not end here; we are working meticulously and tirelessly for the inscription of numerous other sites which, despite being of great natural and cultural significance, do not yet enjoy international acclaim and recognition.

Our country possesses sites of unique universal significance that not only constitute national treasures, but are part of the common heritage of mankind. The promotion and protection of these sites must today constitute a national priority, calling upon us all to remain constantly alert and prepared.
In closing, I would like to emphasise the role of student education and teacher training in preserving and protecting World Cultural Heritage, since it is only through knowledge and awareness that we will succeed in getting future generations to appreciate our Sites and, in turn, bequeath them intact to posterity. Promotion and preservation of these sites is of great importance, not only in cultivating and promoting national cultural identity, but also because these achievements are continually provide sustenance for the international dialogue on art and culture.”

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