Friday, 27 April 2007

Tuesday, 24 April 2007 Athens / Greece

Robert Swan lecture: «Leadership on the edge», in the framework of ECOWEEK
Explorer & Adventurer, Robert Swan, is the first person to walk to both the North and South poles.

What did Robert Swan pointed out?

- Everything concerning the environment has a negative meaning.
- Try and feed people positive news so as in order to inspire them.
- It’s never too early or too late to try and make the difference.
- Think what is possible to achieve and no what is not possible to achieve.
- Refresh / Recycle / Renew
- Last exploration: survive on earth. Possibly on 2041 no Arctic pole will exist!

The Antarctic Treaty was signed in Washington on 1 December 1959 by 12 states, and entered into force for those states on 23 June 1961. Greece as an ‘Acceding State’ joined the treaty on 8 Jan 1987, being the 34th member. On 2041 Greece and the rest 42 countries are going to decide the review of the Treaty. Antarctica is the only place in earth we all own! That is why Swan’s webpage is:

a) Parties to the Treaty now represent 70% of the world's population.
b) 70% of world’s fresh water is in Antarctica.

Let's don’t forget that 2007 is the International Polar Year & is focused on global warming and climate change.

Thursday, 26 April 2007

Sunday, 21 April 2007 Karystos / Greece

Castello Rosso (Red Castle)

Castello Rosso, the red castle, is situated in the mountain Ochi (at a height approx. 450m), overlooking the modern town of Karystos, the southernmost town of Evia island. Castello Rosso is one of the remarkable castles built in Greece at the 13th century. Some say that a fortress was built around 1030 for the first time in the place where the Castle is sited today [3].

History (mainly review of [1]):

Evia or Euboea, in the Middle Ages, was known to the Latins under the name "Ne(i)groponte". According to the Partitio terrarum imperii Romanie (treaty for the partition of the territories of the Byzantine Empire – fall of the Byzantine Empire during the 4th crusade in 1204), a part of Euboea was awarded to the Latin king of Thessalonika Boniface of Montferrat (1204-1207) who in 1205 ceded the island to three barons from Verona, Italy. The three barons were given the name triarchs (terzieri or terciers), since each one of them got one third of the island, namely one of the three baronies into which Euboea was divided. The southern section with Karystos as its capital (terzero di Caristo) was given to the baron named Ravano dalle Carceri. Towards the end of 1208, he became the lord of the entire island.

Ravano ranged himself with the Lombard lords of Thessalonika in his struggle against the Latin emperor of Constantinople (1207-1209). In March of 1209 Ravano contracted a treaty of alliance with Venice, by which he acknowledged the Venetian dominion in Euboea. On 20 May 1209, Ravano also acknowledged the dominance of the Latin emperor of Constantinople and became his liege. Ravano died in 1216 and the Venetian bailus Pietro Barbo intervened in the feud of the six relatives of Ravano, who claimed his inheritance dividing the island into six districts (sestieri). The Venetian bailus gradually became the real governor of the whole island. The following years the dependence of parts of the island came upon the prince of Achaia William II de Villehardouin (1246-1278), the Latin emperor of Constantinople and the Venetians.

The contribution of the Venetian baili to the defence of the island had been significant in periods of external enemy attacks, although Venice had not always been in the position to offer important military assistance to the triarchs. Some of the attacks were that of the prince of Achaia in 1258, the operations of the Latin knight of Karystos Licario (who fought in the service of Michael VIII Palaiologos), during which (1264-1280) he conquered Karystos with the support of the Byzantines from 1271 onwards, and the Turkish naval attacks of the 14th century. The Lombard sestieri and the Greek nobles took an oath of fidelity to the Venetian bailus, thus acknowledging Venice as the prevailing power on the island.

Towards the end of 1317 and beginning of 1318, Karystos was conquered by the Catalan Don Alfonso Fadrique, vicar-general of the duchy of Athens and illegitimate son of Frederic II, king of Sicily (1295-1337). In 1319, the Catalans entered into a treaty with the Venetians, which was renewed in 1321, according to which Don Alfonso maintained Karystos under his jurisdiction. Venice bought Karystos in 1365/6. The official dominion of Venice spread gradually throughout Euboea.

Many years later, during the Ottoman period (1470 – 1830) the Turks fortified the castle even more impressively [2]. During the period of 1821 War of Independence, Omer Bei of Karystos repaired the castle and constructed a new wall on the south part and a yard on the west side [2]. It was only after the liberation, in 1833, that the castle gates were opened to the Greeks [3].

[1] Foundation of the Hellenic World, ‘Latin occupation in Greek Islands’ (info, in English:
[2] Institute of Regional Development – Centre of Cultural Development, 2003 (info, in Greek:
[3] Vlami V.– OIKOS (info: – Nature Management Ltd, Evia Prefecture Local Authority, 2006. The Region of Ochi

What is happening nowadays?

Tourism is a serious threat to the castle. Today, no definition of the outer / broader archaeological area exists. In 2004 the subject was a major issue for the people of Karystos. Today, a villa is built just around the next corner on the road from the castle to Mili village!

Monday, 16 April 2007

Monday, 2 April 2007 Padova / Italy

Driving outside Padova I stopped in a station for diesel. There, there are two options: feel on your own (fai da te) or to be served (servizio). The difference in price reaches 0,031 euro/lt, nearly 1 euro just to fill up a small car each time! Does it really matters? For Italians YES!
Just to mention:
1. Cars are filled with diesel and not with unleaded or super as in Greece
2. Would it be possible gas stations in Greece work in a similar way? What happened with the people that lost their jobs because of the ‘fai da te’ machines?
3. In Italy you can also find stations where you can wash your car on your own.
4. Are we all in the same union, EU?

Wednesday, 28 March 2007 Bremen / Germany

Tetrapods (concrete armor units) used in breakwaters and marine defence works – common features of landscape in coastal waters of urbanised areas.
A very good alternative use of Tetrapods (in front of the Hauptbahnhof in Bremen)

Tuesday, 27 March 2007 Wilhelmshaven / Germany

Flatfish in the corner of Parkstarasse & Marktstrasse in Wilhelmshaven
During the recent decades, flatfishes are candidates for the commercial aquaculture in Europe.

Sunday, 25 March 2007 – Berlin / Germany

The European Union is turning 50 (since the signing of the Treaties of Rome in 1957). German Government hosted a huge open-air festival around the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin for the occasion (info: Europafest at Brandenburger Tor /

At stand No 71 the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (‘Bundesministerium für Ernährung, Landwirtschaft und Verbraucherschutz’ - gave plastic bags made from vegetable starch (!).