2013-09-09

Greece's Maritime Tradition Park - Phaleron Delta (pt. 2)

This is the second post about Greece’s Maritime Tradition Park (Mouseio Naftikis Paradosisin the coast of Faliro, southwest of Athens. The first part was about the "Georgios Averof" Battleship and can be found here, together with instructions on how to get there. Today, I present you the rest of the museum-ships that have found a peaceful harbor in this part of the Athenian Riviera, next to the Flisvos Marina: A Greek type sailing-ship with a unique history,  the family yacht of the Runciman family, the world’s oldest cable laying ship still in existence, a Greek navy destroyer ship that has become a symbol of democratic resistance and an Ancient Athenian trireme. Besides my on-site visit I have come across various online sources, some of which I note at the bottom of this post.  


A small, Perama type, sailing-ship named "Evangelistria". Now docked at the Maritime Tradition Park of Greece, at the coast of the Phaleron Delta, SW of Athens.
First in line and docked right next to Averof is a small, “perama” type sailing-ship named “Evangelistria” (Mary of the Annunciation), used in the Aegean Sea and Marmara Bay during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Through the very interesting site of Mr. Nikos E. Riginos about vernacular Greek ship-building, I found out this amazing little story: The ship was built in 1939, just before WWII for a Captain Bonis from the island of Mykonos. When the war broke out and it was evident that the island would also fall under German command, its owner loaded it with rocks so as to send it to the bottom of the sea instead of having it captured by the occupying forces. At the end of the war, divers took the stones out and the ship simply resurfaced, ready for use! 
Currently you may only watch the boat from the coast. Check out some old photos of Evangelistria here and some models of Perama type ships here.

"Evgenios Evgenidis" sailing-ship at the Maritime Tradition Park of Greece; coast of the Phaleron Delta, SW of Athens.
Next in line is the sailing ship “Evgenios Evgenidis”, presently used as a training ship for Greek sailors. It was built in Scotland in 1929 and served as the family yacht of the Runciman family (1,2,3) till 1939. It passed to Swedish hands from 1945 till 1965. During that time it had a short… acting career, appearing in the films “Flying Clipper” and “Lord Jim”. It was then bought by the Greek Navy with the financial assistance of Greek benefactor Evgenios Evgenidis - to whom it owns its current name – and served as a training ship till 1990. It is not currently open for visits.


"Evgenios Evgenidis" sailing-ship at the Maritime Tradition Park of Greece; coast of the Faliro Delta, SW of Athens.

After that you’ll get to see the world’s oldest cable laying ship remaining in its original condition, with both its steam engines in good condition. It was built by Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. in Virginia, USA in 1909 and given away to Greece and the Greek Telecommunications Organization in 1947 by the US Government. It was the first cable laying ship to be used in Greece. It still has its original steam-powered cable laying equipment. The ship's name is "Thalis o Milissios" (Thales of Miletus), from the ancient Greek philosopher.

"Thalis o Milissios" cable-laying ship at the Maritime Tradition Park of Greece; coast of the Faleron Delta, SW of Athens.


"Thalis o Milissios" cable-ship at the Maritime Tradition Park of Greece; coast of the Phaleron Delta, SW of Athens. In the background lays the city-port of Piraeus


"Thalis o Milissios" cable-ship; detail.


At the dock of "Thalis o Milissios" cable-ship; Maritime Tradition Park of Greece; coast of the Faleron Delta, SW of Athens.
The ship at the end of the small harbor is once again a decommissioned navy ship. A “torpedo-destroyer” named “Velos” (Arrow) which was offered to Greece by the US Navy in 1959 (its former name being USS Charette DD581). Unusual for a ship, it’s been turned to a museum not because of some major naval victory but due to an act of protest. In May 1973, during the Greek junta of 1967-74, the ship’s officers together with a large part of the Greek Navy were about to stage a counter-coup and demand the restoration of democracy. Their movement was betrayed on the last day, with “Velos” taking part in a NATO exercise in the waters of Italy. When the betrayal went public, under the command of Cdr N. Pappas HN and with the crew’s agreement the ship took refuge in Italy's Fiumicino, dealing  a PR blow to the army colonels who were running the country at that time. The ship and most of its officers remained in exile till the restoration of democracy, on 24 July 1974. Since 1991 it has been turned into a “Museum of Anti-Dictatorial Struggle”, hosting a small exhibition of pictures, books and newspaper clips about these events (mostly in Greek – some in English and Italian).

The decommissioned "Velos" destroyer ship; Maritime Tradition Park of Greece; Faleron Delta, SW of Athens.


The decommissioned "Velos" destroyer ship; Maritime Tradition Park of Greece; Faliro Delta, SW of Athens.


Detail from the "Velos" destroyer ship; Maritime Tradition Park of Greece; Phaleron Delta, SW of Athens.


Detail from the "Velos" destroyer ship; Maritime Tradition Park of Greece; Faliro Delta, SW of Athens.


"Velos" destroyer ship; Maritime Tradition Park of Greece; Faliro Delta, SW of Athens.


The "Velos" destroyer ship anchored in the Maritime Tradition Park of Greece; Faliro Delta, SW of Athens. The coast of Faliro and the city of Piraeus in the background


View of the city of Piraeus, the "Peace & Friendship" indoor stadium" and the "Georgios Karaiskakis" soccer stadium from aboard the "Velos" destroyer ship in the Maritime Tradition Park of Greece; Faliro Delta.


View of Averof Battleship from aboard the Velos destroyer; Maritime Tradition Park; Faliro Delta, SW of Athens.


The decommissioned "Velos" destroyer ship; Maritime Tradition Park of Greece; Faliro Delta, SW of Athens.


An unusual view of the Acropolis and Lykavittos Hill, from aboard the Velos destroyer ship; Maritime Tradition Park of Greece, Faliro Delta, SW of Athens.


A hall with exhibits from the "mutiny" of the "Velos" destroyer during the 1967-74 military dictatorship of Greece


Newspaper clips detailing the "mutiny" of the "Velos" destroyer against the 1967-74 military dictatorship of Greece.




Aboard the decommissioned "Velos" destroyer ship; Maritime Tradition Park of Greece; Faliro Delta, SW of Athens.
…And just when you think that your tour is over, you notice that inside the large concrete depot, next to the “Velos” destroyer, there’s a real feast for the eyes. An exact replica of an ancient Athenian trireme ship - the major weapon of Athenian democracy and the ship that handed Greeks the victory over the Persian fleet in the Sea-Battle of Salamis, in 480BC. This is regarded by many as one of the most decisive battles in human history, shaping the course of human civilization as we now know it. The Olympias Trireme, was commissioned by the Greek Navy and built by a Piraeus shipbuilder, with additional British financing, in 1987. It was part of the torch relay in the 2004 Olympics and it currently needs your help and support for some necessary repairs. Read the official Olympias Trireme page and follow the ship's facebook page.

An exact replica of an ancient Athenian trireme ship inside a depot. Maritime Tradition Park of Greece; Faliro Delta, SW of Athens.


Trireme Olympias; an exact replica of an ancient Athenian trireme ship at the Maritime Tradition Park of Greece; Faliro Delta, SW of Athens.


Relevant pages:
http://www.hnsa.org/ships/averof.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOxJ_6eI7yM
http://www.averof.mil.gr/ (in Greek)
http://www.triremeolympias.com/


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3 comments:

  1. Gorgeous photos. Looks like a lovely place.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks a lot Linda. I'm glad you liked them!

      Delete
  2. It is really a very nice posting. I am greatly impressed after reading it. Thanks
    Sailing In Greece

    ReplyDelete

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