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  • December 10, 2008

    FIA World Rally In Cyprus

    Filed under: Daily life in our town — pikrides @ 11:50

    CYPRUS RETURNS TO FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP

    FIA WRC Cyprus Rally 13-15 March 2009; Organisers confirm: “We’re back!”

    Good news for rally fans as the FIA World Motorsport Council confirmed in Paris this morning that the ever-popular Cyprus Rally will return to the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) next year.

    The 2009 FIA Cyprus Rally will be round 3 of next year’s WRC calendar and will take place between the 13th and 15th March. Antonis Michaelides, Chairman of the Cyprus Automobile Association (CAA) - the organisers of the event, responded positively to the news: “This is great news. I speak for everyone on the organising committee when I say how pleased and proud I am that our rally is again part of the WRC. We’re already working towards next year’s event and fans can rest assured that the 2009 Cyprus Rally will be an event to remember. We’re back!”

    An FIA observer was on the island for this year’s Cyprus Rally to assess the event’s readiness for inclusion in the 2009 WRC calendar. In the subsequent report, the 2008 Cyprus Rally scored highly for its overall organisation, which led directly to the inclusion of the event in the next year’s Championship.

    It has also been confirmed that the Cyprus Rally will be one of 4 events rewarding points for the Junior and Production WRC championships for 2009. So spectators at the Cyprus event will get the chance to see the top WRC, J-WRC and P-WRC drivers in action. A Cyprus Rally featuring WRC, J-WRC and P-WRC drivers is a mouth-watering prospect for rally fans everywhere.

    The FIA World Motorsport Council also voted to approve a major change regarding the future shape of the WRC. This is the adoption of a new ‘rotation’ system, where each event will take place every two years, thus increasing the total number of WRC rallies to 24. With this new system, 12 rallies will take place in a year, rather than the current 15, which will reduce costs and attract new manufacturers’ teams

    December 9, 2008

    Daily Life in Klaipeda

    Filed under: Daily life in our town — pikrides @ 11:29

    HISTORY
    Klaipėda was founded more than 750 years ago. After the signing of the treaty between the Curonian bishop and the local governor of the Livonian Order entered into on the 29th of July, 1252. It was decided to build the fortress of Klaipėda. Germans called this city Memel, which is the German name for the Nemunas River. Because of the marshland around the mouth of the river, nowadays the name of the city is Klaipėda, which means “klaipė pėdas“ – feet going down in the marsh.
    The structure of the KlaipÄ—da old town has remained virtually unchanged for almost five hundred years. Even the great fire of 1854 did not change the historical chess-type pattern of the streets in the Old Town.

    THE ARCHITECTURE OF KLAIPÄ–DA OLD TOWN
    Fachwerk-style buildings, narrow streets and enclosed old craftsmen‘s courtyards are among the most distinct features of Klaipėda Old Town. The main architectural style in Klaipėda is Fachwerk. It is a type of construction whereby the whole building, its ceiling and roof are supported by a wooden frame filled with stone. Most Fachwerk houses were built in the 18th and 19th centuries.

     1. Start your sightseeing tour in Theatre square. This is the heart of the city. There is a sculpture of Ann from Tharau in the fountain in the middle of the square. The monument is dedicated to Simon Dach, a German poet who was born in Klaipėda and studied at Konigsberg University. Ann was the girl that the poet fell in love with at first sight. However, she was engaged to another man. Simon Dach dedicated a poem to her and called it “Ann from Tharau” which is still very popular in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The fountain with the sculpture of the girl and the bas-relief of the poet were created in 1912 by the sculptor from Berlin, Alfred Kune. During World War II the sculpture disappeared. It was reconstructed in 1990 on the initiative of the city inhabitants and emigrants.
    The building behind the sculpture is the Drama Theatre. Since the 18th century the theatre has played an important role in the cultural life of Klaipėda. This building was reconstructed in the 19th century in a neo-classic style. The Klaipėda coat of arms is on the façade of the building.

    2. After visiting the Theatre square, turn to Aukštoji Street. There you will see the oldest buildings of the city, dating from the middle of the 18th century. They are warehouses built in the fachwerk style. This construction, influenced by Germanic culture, has been used since the foundation of the City. This method of construction was especially suitable for the marshy soil as frame constructions are lighter than the stone. Unfortunately, many of these buildings were destroyed by fire.
    The tiny downtown houses and fachwerk-styled warehouses are being used by various art organizations – writers, artists and photographers. There you can find small art galleries, museums, souvenir shops and cosy cafes.

    3. Now find Didžioji Vandens Street (Great Water). The name of the street comes from the times when there used to be another arm of the Danes river. When the bastion defence wall was planned and built in the city in the second half of the 17th century, the old river bed was filled in and the present, one was formed. The remaining bastion defense wall fragments have been restored, and this place is called John‘s Hill.

    4. Go along the river Danė and near the bridge you will see the sailing vessel “Meridianas”. “Meridianas“ was built in 1948 in Finland and is now one of the most beautiful sights of Klaipėda. The Klaipėda Navigation School used the sailing vessel for training purposes. When the vessel was laid up, it was turned into a restaurant and moored near the Dane River bank. Some ten years ago the owners who bought the vessel allowed it to fall into disrepair.
    So a few years later the symbol of the city became nothing but a shadow of its former glory. The lawyer A. Žičkus then bought the Meridianas for a token sum of one Litas and the “Meridianas“ once again became the symbol of Klaipėda. He organised a support fund and gave new life to the vessel. Today the restaurant “Meridianas“ is again open to visitors.

     5. Nearby “Meridianas” there is yellow house built at the beginning of the 20th century. There is the Klaipėda City Coat of Arms on this house (Tiltų Str. 1). This building was the first bank in Klaipėda. This little boy on the wall is Cupid and is an expression of all the citizens‘ affection for their town.

     6. Then cross the street and go further along the river embankment. On the way there is the first multi-storey building constructed in 1923 and the first lift in Klaipėda was installed there. The house is constructed on wooden poles, because of the watery ground. As the floor of the basement is one metre lower than the Danė, good hydro-insulation was indispensable. The bollards close to the river commemorate the historic cruise across the Atlantic Ocean. In 1989 for the first time in the Lithuanian sailing history three yachts Lietuva, Dailė and Audra sailed across the Atlantic Ocean.

    7. On the left you will find Jono Street. There you can see the sculpture “Sights of the city” created by the sculptor A. Bosas. One can regard it as a symbol of the old town. One can imagine that this tiny brass house today shelters the people who used to live in the town. Fairy tale dragons seem to be protecting them. They are all in one and the same place – those that built, created and lived in the medieval town.

      8. Cross the river and go to Danės Street. There you will see the Fisherman’s sculpture. In front of it there is a building with the Klaipėda city coat-of-arms. When Napoleon occupied the capital of Prussia Berlin, the king Wilhelm Friedrich III and the queen Luize found shelter in this building. Klaipėda County Administration is now located there.

     9. Then go to the Liepų Street. This street developed on the right bank of the river Danė in the 17th century. The new street later became popular with the aristocrats and rich merchants of the City. There are many buildings of different styles (jugend, neo-gothic).
    One of the most elegant buildings is the old Post Office. The Post Office was one of the most important institutions because Klaipėda was the hub of an important postal, as well as passenger traffic from Russia to Europe. The red-brick neogothic Palace, built in 1893, today has been renovated. The Post Office moved into this building in the 19th century and settled in merchant Argelander’s house. A carillion of 48 chromatically tuned bells was installed in the reconstructed tower in 1987 The first concert of bells was held on 13 November 1987. You can hear them play for 30 minutes every Sunday at midday.

    10. The Sculpture park is a place for a pleasant walk. It is called Martynas Mažvydas Sculpture park after the author of the first Lithuanian book. Today there are about 100 modern sculptures on view. The park was created on the site of the former old cemetery which was opened in 1820. After WW2, the cemetery became neglected and the government decided to establish a sculpture park on the site. The graves were removed and some of the original and unique crosses from the cemetery are now on display in the Blacksmith‘s Museum. Today only a few gravestones remain in the northeast corner of the park.

     11. And the last point of our tour is Lietuvininkų square. There is a statue commemorating Martynas Mažvydas, the author of Catechisms, the first book published in Lithuania. The sculptor Regimantas Midvikis spend four years working on the 3,5 tall granite statue, which stands on a 2,5 m pedestal in the square, where it replaced the monument to the Red Aemy. The statue was commissioned to mark the 450yh anniversary of the book’s publication in 1547 in which the Lithuania religious scholar urges Lithuanians to convert to Protestantism.

    Other interesting objects and places:

    Klaipeda University

    If you go north in the direction of Palanga along Manto Sreet, on the right you will see a collection of red-brick buildings. These are the restored 19th century Prussian military barracks, in Soviet times occupied by the 3 rd Coastal Division and which now belong to Klaipeda University. The six Neo-Gothic buildings house several University departments, the administration, and the University theatre. A modern university campus with study and sports facilities as well as student dormitories and entertainment facilities are planned to be constructed here in the future. Today the University departments are in different parts of the city. Klaipeda University was founded in 1991. Today the University comprises seven departments and two institutes.

    December 1, 2008

    International Six Days Enduro in Serres

    Filed under: Daily life in our town — yannkld @ 6:04

    Enduro

    An outstanding athletic event took place in our town Serres, from 1st to 6th September this year. It was considered to be quite a big getting up of motor sports especially for the fans of Motorcycle Cross Country Race.
    Last year the same race was organized in Chile. Participants from every corner of our planet came here. USA, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Sweden, Czech Republic, Italy, South Africa, Belgium, Japan, Great Britain, France and more.
    Certainly this major sports event gives a boost to the alternative tourism of our town. It is remarkable that the whole attempt was organized by individuals mainly, as well as by the local authorities, the Greek Motorcycle Federation, the International Motorcycle Federation and the local Club of Cars and Motorcycles.
    Totally 500 athletes participated in the race and 15000 spectators watched it.
    Due to events like this we hope to escape from our daily routine.

    Greetings from Serres.