President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou visited Karpathos on Sunday at the invitation of local mayor Yiannis Nisyrios to commemorate the 76th anniversary of the island’s Revolutionary Liberation Movement.
Sakellaropoulou laid a wreath at the monument of Captain Konstantinos Iliakis, a pilot who died in 2006 after colliding with a Turkish fighter plane during its reconnaissance flight; paid a visit to the island’s archaeological and historical museum and visited the town hall, where she was declared an honorary citizen of Karpathos.
The president visited the villages of Olympos and Mesochori, where she was greeted by locals in traditional dress and met with teachers and pupils.
Addressing the islanders, Sakellaropoulou said they had fiercely guarded their national and cultural identity in order to realize the vision of freedom and that the island was a unique example of preserving traditional culture without conservatism, stagnation or reaction against progress but with a dynamic spirit of renewal and creativity.
“On the one hand, the ancient ruins, early Christian basilicas, unique architecture of the traditional settlements and the buildings from the time of Italian rule compose the imprints of the island’s long history,” Sakellaropoulou said. “On the other hand, the music, songs, extemporaneous poetry, dancing, handicrafts and customs with their rich rituals are vibrant, present and therefore able to take on new shapes and forms in modern daily life.”
Karpathos is the second largest island in Greece’s Dodecanese region and has officially been part of sovereign Greek territory since March 7, 1948.
During the Greek War of Independence from 1821 to 1822, Karpathos rebelled but fell again under Ottoman rule, which ended on May 12, 1912 after the Italians occupied the island and the rest of the Dodecanese following the Italo-Turkish War of 1911-12.
After the Paris Peace Treaties of 1947, Italy ceded control of Karpathos and all Dodecanese islands to Greece.
Because Sakellaropoulou’s visit also coincided with the October 4 celebration of World Animal Day, the president met with the local nonprofit organization Animal Welfare Karpathos. The organization’s representatives Sophia Hiras and Dr. Anna Katogiritis, a Greek American veterinarian and one of the organization’s founders, awarded Sakellaropoulou with an honorary certificate of membership.
“Throughout her career, Ms. Sakellaropoulou has demonstrated an exemplary devotion to the protection of the environment and animals,” Animal Welfare Karpathos wrote in a statement. “It was with great honor that the representatives were welcomed in a private meeting, during which they had the opportunity to discuss the animal welfare status on Karpathos island and Greece overall.”
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