First Delphic Festival
On 9 May 1927, Angelos Sikelianos and Eva Palmer-Sikelianos organised the First Delphic Festival at Delphi.
Ancient Greek drama was revived in the ancient Theatre of Delphi with Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound. A re-enactment of the ancient Pyrrhic war dance was performed in the ancient Stadium. Other events included athletic and dance displays, Byzantine music concerts and an exhibition of folk art. The performance of Prometheus Bound was repeated at the Second Delphic Festival in 1930 together with Aeschylus’ Suppliants. Eva Palmer-Sikelianos’ contribution was significant, with important directorial suggestions and innovations in the choruses of the Aeschylean tragedies, the music and the costumes.
International Centre of Intellectual Cooperation among the Peoples
In the aftermath of the Delphic Festivals (1927 & 1930), the Hellenic Chamber of Deputies and the Senate passed Law 6323, providing for the establishment and organisation at Delphi of an International Centre of Intellectual Cooperation among the Peoples, modelled on the treasuries of the ancient Greek cities at Delphi. The law was never enacted
Proposal of the Greek Government to the Council of Europe
In March 1957, the Greek government submitted a proposal to the Council of Europe for the establishment of a European Cultural Centre at Delphi. In September 1962, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe accepted the proposal in principle.
Foundation-laying ceremony of the Delphi building facilities
On 28 March 1966, the foundation-laying ceremony of the building facilities of the international “European Centre of Delphi” took place. The construction of the buildings, designed by architect and NTUA professor Kostas Kitsikis and architect Antonis Lambakis, was completed in 1970.
Acceptance of the proposal of the Greek Government by the Council of Europe
The Greek Government resubmitted its earlier proposal for the establishment of a European Centre at Delphi to the Council of Europe. On 1 October 1975, at the 27th ordinary session (Recommendation 763) of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. The proposal was accepted.
Establishment of the European Cultural Centre of Delphi
On 22 July1977, the Hellenic Parliament passed Law 645 “On the establishment of the European Cultural Centre of Delphi”. Academician Panagiotis Zepos, former Minister of Interior and Education and Professor Emeritus of the University of Athens, was appointed first President of the Governing Board of the Centre. Pavlos Tzermias, historian, Hellenist, a corresponding member of the Academy of Athens and a Professor at the Universities of Fribourg and Zurich was appointed as the first Director. In addition to the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, Georg Kahn-Ackermann, other members of the first Governing Board were Michael Freiherr Marshall von Bieberstein, Director of the Goethe Institute in Paris; Pierre Pflimlin, former Prime Minister of France, and Mayor of Strasbourg; and Olivier Reverdin, Professor of Ancient Greek at the University of Geneva.
Visit by Indira Gandhi
On 23 September, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, accompanied by Sonia Gandhi, visited the European Cultural Centre of Delphi and gave a lecture as part of her official state visit to Greece on 22-24 September 1983
Modernisation of infrastructure at Delphi
A team of architects, under the supervision of the new President of the Governing Board, the architect and urban planner Professor Georges Candilis, drew up a study for the upgrading of the infrastructure of the Centre of Delphi. Maintenance work was carried out on the Conference Centre, the house of Angelos and Eva Sikelianos at Delphi was restored to its original form, and the construction of a modern theatre was planned. A two-storey Neoclassical building was purchased in the Plaka district of Athens for the relocation of the Central Offices.
I International Meeting on Ancient Drama
The I International Meeting on Ancient Drama was held on 4-25 June 1985, on the initiative of the Director of the Centre of Delphi Pericles Nearchou, under the artistic direction of stage director Theodoros Terzopoulos, who designed and implemented a highly original and groundbreaking artistic concept. The International Meetings on Ancient Drama (1985-2009) were the most iconic main event of the Centre of Delphi. The aim of the programme was to record the different theatrical views, methods and schools with reference to the perception of ancient drama in the modern era, and to present ground-breaking new performances by international directors and exponents of world theatre.
Three-part Music Meeting of Delphi
A three-part music and musicology meeting was held on 15-19 September, on “Musical Relationships and Interactions in the Mediterranean”. The symposium was attended by eminent musicologists and researchers. The concerts included North African religious music by Sufis from Tunisia, medieval and Renaissance music by the Loindana group, a Renaissance lute recital by Dimitris Ioannou, Andalusi music by musicians from Morocco, saz playing by Talip Özkan, music of Upper Egypt by the Musicians of the Nile, and major concerts of Byzantine and traditional Greek music. Two more meetings followed in 1986 and 1988. The artistic director and organiser was the traditional music researcher and ethnomusicologist Nikos Dionysopoulos
Fine Arts Programme
The Fine Arts Programme of Delphi was inaugurated with the International Meeting on “Painting and Sculpture at the End of the 20th Century”, curated by art historian and art critic Dora Iliopoulou-Rogan, art historian and museologist Katerina Koskina, and art theorist and art historian Sania Pappa. Symposia, exhibitions, seminars and artist-in-residence programmes at Delphi were organised over the following years.
European Year of Film and Television
The Meeting for the European Year of Film and Television was held on 25-27 September in collaboration with the European Community, the Hellenic Ministry of Culture, the Federation of European Screen Directors (FERA), the Greek National Committee of FERA and the Greek Film Centre. The participants discussed, drafted and approved the European Charter for Film and Television. The Declaration of Delphi was announced in the Ancient Stadium of Delphi by Simone Veil, the President of the European Year of Film and Television. The event was attended by EC Cultural Affairs Commissioner Carlo Ripa di Meana and Ettore Scola, the President of FERA. The programme was presented by Marcello Mastroianni.
Hélène Ahrweiler appointed President of the Governing Board
By decision of the Minister of Culture Dora Bakoyannis, dated 22 July 1993, Rector Hélène Ahrweiler was appointed President of the Governing Board of the European Cultural Centre of Delphi.
The Sculpture Park of the European Cultural Centre of Delphi was inaugurated on 21 August 1994 and the first 11 works were presented to the public. They were created in situ at Delphi during an international Meeting on Sculpture curated by art theorist and art historian Sania Pappa.
Relocation of Central Offices to the Plaka
On 29 March 1995, the Minister of Culture Thanos Mikroutsikos inaugurated the new Central Offices of the ECCD in a privately owned neoclassical building at 9 Frynihou Street, in the Plaka district of Athens. The building is dated to the late 19th century (c. 1890). It was restored to its original form with the fewest possible interior modifications to serve as an office building.
In July 1995 the ECCD educational programmes were inaugurated with the Seminars on Ancient Greek Language and Culture. In 2001 the National Student Debate Contests were added.
The ECCD, in collaboration with the International Committee of the Theatre Olympics, participated as a key partner in the organisation of the First Theatre Olympics in Greece, on the general theme of “Crossing Millennia”. The founding members of the Committee (Nuria Espert, Heiner Müller, Tony Harrison, Yuri Lyubimov, Tadashi Suzuki, Robert Wilson and Committee President Theodoros Terzopoulos) presented new theatre productions, workshops and displays of working methods in staging ancient drama at Delphi, as part of the VIII International Meeting on Ancient Drama.
Ancient Hydraulis Reconstruction Project
The research project for the restoration of the ancient Hydraulis, the oldest keyboard instrument in the world, was launched on the initiative of ECCD Director Professor Vassilis Karasmanis in collaboration with Dimitrios Pandermalis, Professor of Archaeology. The project was completed in May 1999. The first presentation of the instrument took place in Japan in the autumn of 1999, during the celebration of the centenary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Greece and Japan. Many other presentations followed, both in Greece and abroad.
International Music Meeting
An International Music Meeting was held on 5-15 August, with composer and maestro Theodoros Antoniou as artistic adviser. The world première of John Tavener’s Seeing was performed in the Ancient Stadium. There were concerts by the Russian National Orchestra conducted by Mikhael Pletnev, the Virtuosi di Praga, the Greek Music Archive of Giorgos Kostantzos, and Stefanos Korkolis, while the London Festival Orchestra presented Henry Purcell’s opera Dido and Aeneas,conducted by Ross Pople with Judy Slater and Simon Spencer. Three years later (6-11 July 1999), the meeting “Myth, Music and Drama”, under the artistic direction of George Kouroupos, combined the arts of theatre and music.
70th Anniversary of the Delphic Festivals (1927-1997)
The 70th Anniversary of the First Delphic Festival was celebrated with exhibitions, concerts and theatrical performances on 16-20 June. Publication of the letters of Eva Palmer-Sikelianos to Joan Vanderpool on Ancient Drama, edited by Professor John Anton and with Kiki Akritidis as publication consultant. Two new bronze sculptures by Christos Kapralos, the relief full-length portrait of Angelos Sikelianos, and the Study for a Monument to the Performances of the Delphic Festivals were presented to the public, while Periklis Byzantios’s painting Oceanids was donated to the ECCD. The coordinator and organiser of the artistic events was Nikos Synodinos.
Signing of Cooperation Agreement between the European Cultural Centre of Delphi and the Shizuoka Performing Arts Center 10 June 1998
On 10 June 1998, the Greek Minister of Culture Evangelos Venizelos and the Governor of Shizuoka Yoshinobu Ishikawa signed a Cooperation Agreement in Athens between the European Cultural Centre of Delphi and the Shizuoka Performing Arts Centre, with the aim of establishing artistic collaboration and cultural exchanges between the two cultural organisations. The day after the signing, on 11 June 1998, a Japanese delegation from Shizuoka Prefecture visited Delphi.
In the framework of this cooperation, the Centre of Delphi participated in the celebration of the centenary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Greece and Japan in 1999, with the presentation of the Hydraulis in Japan (Shizuoka and Tokyo) and an exhibition of photographs by Nelly’s in Shizuoka. The Shizuoka Performing Arts Centre participated with the performance Oedipus Rex, directed by Tadashi Suzuki, and workshops at the 2000 and 2004 Meetings on Ancient Drama.
First Tripartite Summit between Bulgaria, Romania and Greece
The first Tripartite Summit between Bulgaria, Romania and Greece was held at Delphi on 3-4 October, attended by the Prime Ministers and Foreign Ministers of the three countries.
“Major Artists of the 20th Century: Chryssa – Takis” Exhibition
Between 17 June and 18 July 2000, eighteen monumental works by Takis were exhibited at the Centre of Delphi, together with his stage sets for Sophocles’ Electra directed by Michael Cacoyannis. The exhibited works by Chryssa included her famous series of bronze Cycladic Books, works of honeycomb and aluminium, and her Marilyn and Times Square. The exhibition was accompanied by the seminar “Art and Technology in the 20th Century” on 17 June. The works Hommage à Apollon (Tribute to Apollo) by Takis and Newspaper by Chryssa remained at the Centre of Delphi. The exhibition was curated and organised by art theorist and critic Takis Mavrotas.
Nobel Prize Winners at Delphi
Two Nobel Prize winners, Wole Soyinka and Dario Fo, participated in the symposium of the Χ International Meeting on Ancient Drama (30 June-8 July). Wole Soyinka talked about the relationship between the Yoruba culture of West Africa and ancient Greek drama, while Dario Fo presented, with Franka Rame, a two-day programme of theatrical improvisations.
Four years later, at the ΧΙΙ International Meeting on Ancient Drama (25 June-2 July 2004), another Nobel Prize winner, Seamus Heaney, read excerpts from his play The Burial at Thebes (his translation of Sophocles’ Antigone).
Year of Socrates
A unique programme of artistic and scholarly events marking 2,400 years since the death of Socrates (399 BC-2001 AD), took place from 13 to 21 July in Athens and Delphi.
Events included a philosophical symposium, a philosophical essay competition, exhibitions and educational programmes. In the Roman Agora of Athens, Nikos Kourkoulos read excerpts from Plato’s works and Giorgos Koumendakis presented his new work Socrates in Athens, commissioned by the ECCD, and Yuri Lyubimov directed The Initiation of Socrates.
At Delphi, Anatoli Vasiliev directed Plato’s Symposium. Maria Hatzimichali-Papaliou directed 11 fifteen-minute films with discussions by professors of ancient philosophy under the scientific supervision of Professor Vassilis Karasmanis, the Director of the ECCD, as well as the documentary film Socrates, Life and Works with texts by Professor Fanis Kakridis. The Year of Socrates events were sponsored by Hellenic Cultural Heritage S.A.
International Meeting “Apollo”
With the famous chryselephantine head of Apollo in the Museum of Delphi as its emblem, the international symposium Apolline Politics and Poetics, held on 4-11 July, drew eminent Hellenists, classical philologists and other academics from the world’s most important research centres and universities to Delphi.
The artistic programme was dominated by Euripides’ Ion directed by Lydia Koniordou and produced by the National Theatre of Greece, Scherben: Euripides Excerpts by Hansgünther Heyme, produced by the Théâtre National de Luxembourg and the Ruhrfestpiele Recklinghausen Europäisches Festival, Theodoros Terzopoulos’s Epigonoi, and Christa Wolf’s Cassandra with Roula Pateraki. Igor Zelensky danced the ballet Apollon Mousagète with music by Igor Stravinsky, while Makvala Kasrashvili, Leonid Bomstein and Marina Andreeva sang Mozart’s early libretto Apollo and Hyacinth.
The exhibition Apollo’s Heritage was held from 4 to 30 July, with 50 works by 16 major artists including Giorgio De Chirico, Salvador Dalí, Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika, Nikos Engonopoulos, Yannis Tsarouchis, George Sikeliotis, Takis, Arman, Fernando Botero, Chryssa, Dimitris Mytaras and Alekos Fassianos. The exhibition was curated and organised by art theorist and critic Takis Mavrotas.
The Phrynihos Theatre was inaugurated on 2 July 2005, in the presence of the President of the Hellenic Republic Dr Karolos Papoulias. The opening performance was Euripides’ Hecuba, produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company with Vanessa Redgrave in the title role. The translation from the ancient Greek text was done by Tony Harrison, who adapted the original staging.
30th Anniversary of the European Cultural Centre of Delphi
The 30th anniversary of the establishment of the European Cultural Centre of Delphi was celebrated on 22-23 July, with an exhibition of documents and a concert by Stamatis Spanoudakis
A conference on “The European Political Ideal: Cultural Origins and Future Prospects” was organised as a tribute in honour of Constantine Karamanlis, the founder of the Centre of Delphi. The events were attended by the President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso and Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis.
Year of Cavafy 150th Anniversary of the Birth of C.P. Cavafy
The 150th anniversary of the birth of C.P. Cavafy was celebrated in Athens and Delphi with two major programmes.
From 19 June to 15 December, events were organised in Athens under the general title of “With Exquisite Music, Voices”. They included concerts, arts events, theatre performances, film screenings, poetry evenings and seminars at the Acropolis Museum, the National Garden, the B&M Theocharakis Foundation for the Fine Arts and Music, the National Hellenic Research Foundation, the Attis Theatre, the Athens Concert Hall and the Michael Cacoyannis Foundation. The programme was funded by the Regional Operational Programme of Attica – NSRF 2007-2013.
From 4 to 31 July, Delphi hosted the symposium “C.P. Cavafy. Hellenic and Universal,” poetry and music evenings, and a screening of the film The Byzantine Cavafy, produced by the ECCD under the scientific supervision of Rector Hélène Ahrweiler.
Establishment of the Association of Friends of the European Cultural Centre of Delphi
The Association of Friends of the European Cultural Centre of Delphi was established on 25 January 2013, with the aim of supporting the activities of the ECCD. Dimitra K. Filippou was appointed President of the Association. The first event organised by the Association was an evening in honour of Rector Hélène Ahrweiler, President of the Governing Board of the ECCD since 1993, at the Athens Concert Hall on 1 October 2014.
Renovation of the Sculpture Park Acquisition of 21 works by Mayo
The Sculpture Park of the European Cultural Centre of Delphi is renovated, and the works of art are illuminated. The cost of restoring the 16 works was met by the Ministry of Culture and a donation by the Association of Friends of the European Cultural Centre of Delphi.
The art collection of the European Cultural Centre of Delphi is enriched with 21 paintings and numerous drawings by the surrealist Antoine Mayo (Antonis Malliarakis), donated by Lucilla Mussini-Bombieri.
The Mayo Collection was presented to the public from 10 July to the end of 2015. The exhibition was curated by art critic Efi Andreadi, who was also in overall charge of the renovation of the Sculpture Park.
Delphi Academy of European Studies
On the initiative of Professor Panagiotis Roilos of Harvard University, a member (and President since 2022) of the Governing Board of the ECCD and with the financial support of the Region of Central Greece, a new annual educational programme by the general title of the Delphi Academy of European Studies was inaugurated on 19 June. The aim of the Delphi Academy is the diachronic and synchronic study and teaching of European culture and history, and the ways in which Europe is called upon to meet the political, economic, and cultural challenges of globalisation
THE RETURN OF DIONYSOS – Tribute to Theodoros Terzopoulos
“The Return of Dionysos,” a tribute to the internationally acclaimed Greek stage director Theodoros Terzopoulos, was held on 5-8 July with the support of ONASSIS CULTURE. Terzopoulos, a long-standing collaborator of the ECCD, was the initiator and Artistic Director of the International Meetings on Ancient Drama.
Events included an international symposium, the photographic/artistic installation The Dismemberment of Dionysos by photographer Johanna Weber and visual artist and architect Alexandros Kokkinos, a presentation of the work method of Theodoros Terzopoulos, and a sound installation by composer and music teacher Panayiotis Velianitis.
Thirty-two years after the epic performance of Euripides’ Bacchae in the Ancient Stadium, the Trojan Women by Euripides was staged in the Ancient Theatre of Delphi, directed by Theodoros Terzopoulos and starring Despina Bebedeli and actors from divided cities (Nicosia, Mostar and Jerusalem). The performance at the Ancient Theatre was made possible thanks to the Ephorate of Antiquities of Phocis.
The world-famous baritone Dimitris Tiliakos closed the tribute with the music performance The Wanderer and His Shadow.
Hélène Ahrweiler leaves the presidency of the European Cultural Centre of Delphi
On 4 July 2022, Hélène Ahrweiler retired from the European Cultural Centre of Delphi, after serving as President of the Governing Board for approximately 30 years.
Publication of Ancient Drama at Delphi
In early August the Greek edition of Ancient Drama at Delphi was published in a print run of 1,300 copies with the support of the Cultural Development Organisation of the Region of Central Greece. The publication is a systematic record, documenting and presenting all the activities of the fourteen Meetings on Ancient Drama between 1985 and 2009. It includes original articles and essays by theatre critics, researchers and academics who took part in them, and notes by directors and artists in a more personal style. The texts are supplemented by photographs within and outside the text, as well as extracts from publications in the contemporary press. A separate section at the end of the book provides a record of all the events by year. The volume was edited and published by Agra Publications.