Elegant vases, colourful frescos, gold seal-rings, princes wearing necklaces and clay figurines of gods travelled from Crete to New York, to introduce visitors to the wonderful world of Minoan Crete.
The Alexander S. Onassis Foundation of New York presented “From the Land of the Labyrinth: Minoan Crete, 3000-1100 BC”, consisting of about 270 exhibits from Cretan museums in the largest exhibition on Minoan civilization ever organised. The aim of the exhibition was to present the creation, development and glory of the first, ultra-refined civilisation on European soil. Items were contributed by all the museums of Crete (Heraklion, Chania, Rethymno, Kissamos and Sitia), as well as the archaeological collections of Neapoli and Ierapetra.
The Onassis Foundation is located in the heart of Manhattan, in the stately Olympic Tower skyscraper on Fifth Avenue. The Secretary General of the Region of Crete, Mr Tsokas, stated that this exhibition on the Minoan civilisation allowed the American public to get to know ancient Cretan history and culture, and modern Crete, better. It is a unique opportunity to promote Cretan culture, as Onassis Foundation exhibitions are visited by many schools, universities and US officials and are reported extensively in the major US media.
Mr Tsokas congratulated the Onassis Foundation, the Greek Ministry of Culture and all those who contributed to the exhibition. He also thanked the honorary leader of the New Democracy party and former Prime Minister Kostas Mitsotakis, stressing that he is always present in Cretan affairs.
Mr Mitsotakis referred to Crete, his homeland, noting that, “Recently, and I say this because I know that the problem is one which concerns you, there has been a great effort to face the basic problems of Crete, beginning with the protection of the natural environment. We are on a crusade to save the mountains of Crete and make them green again. In the time of King Minos, to return to the exhibition, it is said that there were a million people living on Crete. The mountains were green and the rivers were navigable by Minoan craft. We want to make Crete green again. To protect its waters which are diminishing dangerously, especially in the eastern provinces. To build the major road arteries, especially the North Road Axis which also concerns you. To implement all the environmental protection projects, because Crete today is developing, and not only as a tourist destination which it already is. The whole of Europe today is seeking a refuge, a summer resort, is seeking its Florida, and the Florida of Europe is Crete. This is why our great land use planning effort is necessary.”