Welcome to Min-On’s Music Journey!
Today, the Min-On Concert Association and the Embassy of Greece in Japan guide you to Greece in Southeastern Europe on the Balkan Peninsula.
The Acropolis of Athens
Greece is often called the cradle of ancient civilization. The philosophy, language, arts and political ideas of ancient Greece, including those from Greek scholars like Socrates and Plato, have greatly impacted the world in many ways still evident today.
Ancient ruins and relics related to world-famous Greek myths, as well as oral tradition related to the gods of ancient Greece, can be found throughout the country. Also, the city of Olympia hosted the first Olympic Games about 2,800 years ago as a festival in honor of Zeus, the king of the gods.
Athens, a city of 3,000-year history
The capital of Athens was founded around the 8th century BC. It flourished among the other poleis (city-states) as a center of learning, fine arts and culture.
In the acropolis (city section on a hilltop), visitors can see ruins that tell of ancient Greece’s former glory, including the 2,000-year-old Parthenon, the symbol of Athens.
The Parthenon, symbol of Athens
Other highlights include Syntagma (Constitution) Square in the heart of Athens, Lycabettus Hill offering panoramic views of the whole city, and the Plaka District designated as a historic preservation area including many ancient structures.
View of Athens from Lycabettus Hill
Syntagma Square and the Parliament Building (left) and the Plaka District’s nightlife (right)
The Odeon of Herodes Atticus, an amphitheater at the southwestern foot of the Acropolis, has hosted the Athens and Epidaurus Festival every summer since 1955, as well as other events featuring traditional music, theater, opera and more.
Odeon of Herodes Atticus
The historic ruins of Greece, land of myth
Greek mythology has been passed down since ancient times, featuring characters like the king of the gods, Zeus, and the other Olympian gods in stories rife with human emotions and events including love, jealousy and war.
In Greece, visitors can physically step foot in places related to the gods, including the Temple of Zeus, dedicated to the king of the gods; the Temple of Poseidon, dedicated to the god of the sea, springs and horses; the ruins on the island of Delos, said to be the birthplace of the sun god Apollo and the moon goddess Artemis; and Meteora, a giant rock formation that, according to Greek myth, Zeus hurled from the heavens when he was angry.
Temple of Zeus in Athens
Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion
Meteora in Thessaly (northwestern Greece)
Natural beauty in Greek resorts and cuisine
The seas around Greece, including the Ionian Sea to the west and the Aegean Sea to the south, are home to over 3,000 islands, including the famous Crete. Many of these beautiful, captivating islands are popular as honeymoon destinations and for their beach resorts, with brilliant, sparkling sunshine and mountains covered in flowers and lush greenery.
The island of Santorini is one of the world’s most popular resorts, often featured in movies and commercials. The northern port town of Oia is a great place for incredible sunsets, and Agios Nikolaos Castle draws many visitors with its romantic views.
The beautiful city of Oia crowning the clifftops
The island of Santorini, ever popular with visitors
Mykonos, called the jewel of the Aegean Sea, is known for its pristine white houses and mazes of flagstone alleyways. Cafes and bars line the streets, where visitors soak up the beautiful scenery in this fairytale land.
The gorgeous streets of Mykonos Town in the center of Mykonos Island
It’s said that the Greeks consume more olive oil per capita than anyone else in the world. Traditional Greek cuisine is excellent and features local ingredients including olive oil, seafood from the Mediterranean Sea and cheese.
Greek cuisine and the skyline of Athens
Greek feta cheese, said to be the oldest type in the world (left) and pasticcio, famous throughout the Mediterranean (right)
Greek music culture, the foundation of Western music
Greece has an extensive musical history, including ancient Greek ceremonies, festivals and plays that involved song and instruments like the lyre (a stringed instrument) and flute.
Modern everyday musical terms like “music” and “orchestra” originated from ancient Greek. This indicates that music was central to people’s daily lives and education in ancient Greece, laying the foundation for Western music culture.
In 1991 and 2009, Min-On invited the Nelly Dimoglou Folk Dance Troupe to represent Greece in the A Musical Voyage along the Silk Road concert series. In 2004, as part of the cultural exchange held in celebration of the Athens Olympic Games, Min-On also hosted a concert featuring the Lyceum Club of Greek Women for audiences to enjoy the rich cultural music and dances passed down across Greece.
Today, we hope you’ll enjoy these two pieces from the seventh installment of A Musical Voyage along the Silk Road concert series held in 1991, titled “A Long Way of Music to the Mediterranean Sea.”
- Thracian Dance
- Dance of Thessaly
Musicians recommended by the Greek Ambassador
In closing, we would like to introduce music recommended by Ambassador Constantin Cakioussis of the Embassy of Greece in Japan. Please enjoy this selection of eclectic Greek music across different genres, including songs using traditional instruments, modern pop, electronic music and more.
1. Trigona by Kadinelia (guitar duet)
2. Karanti by Giorgos Dalaras
3. My number one (winner of Eurovision contest 2005) by Helena Paparizou
4. To kariofili mana mou by Lizetta Nikolaou, Haralambos Garganourakis
5. Chariots of fire by Vangelis
6. Jivaeri mou by Areti Ketime
7. Solo performance ” Psychi mou” by Vasilis Saleas
8. Solo performance, various by Petros Loukas Chalkias
9. Pentozali – Sousta (Cretan folk dance music) by Ross Daly Quartet
10. Ti kako by Villagers of Ioannina City
What did you think of your music journey to Greece?
There are still many more places to go, so please look out for our next destination!
(Produced in collaboration with Embassy of Greece in Japan. Photos provided by the Greek National Tourism Organization.)
Min-On Concert Association
－Music Binds Our Hearts－